With its rare yellow larch trees and abundance of apple orchards, autumn is arguably the best month to explore your backyard in Seattle. Whether you want a secluded overnight adventure or a nostalgic day trip, here are 10 ways to embrace sweater season near the Emerald City.
Stay at a Cozy Cabin in the Woods
Nothing quite says "fall" like a cozy cabin in a forest of red and gold leaves. Seattle has a large selection of nearby cabins to choose from, including the rustic and luxury cabins at Doe Bay Resort and Retreat, located on Orcas Island. Another favorite is the Cave B Inn, which offers technology-free yurt accommodation.
Pick Your Own Jack-O-Lanterns at the Pumpkin Patch
Even after Halloween, pumpkin picking is the ideal fall activity, and the farms near Seattle don’t disappoint. At Craven Farm in Snohomish Valley, you can wander through corn mazes after wandering through the field of pumpkins. Another favorite is Bob’s Corn and Pumpkin Farm, which has U-Pick pumpkins as well as a country store stocked with local and seasonal items.
See the Salmon Spawn
Every year, Pacific salmon make the quest thousands of miles upstream to spawn. There are numerous areas to see the show around Seattle, including at Cedar River in Renton and Maple Valley. You can also download information from the Seattle Aquarium on the salmon’s feat, which explains just how incredible it is.
Go Backpacking at Packwood Lake
If you want a weekend getaway filled with fall colors, alpine water features and starry nights, look no further than Packwood Lake. This area makes a perfect backpacking destination because it isn’t too long (about 12 miles or 19 kilometres roundtrip) and winds past stunning patches of red and gold foliage. There are plenty of lakeside camping sites available, but you can also make it a day if you’re feeling ambitious.
Drive a Scenic Byway for Fresh Air and Fall Foliage
Sometimes, you just want an easy way to get out without the extra effort. That’s where a scenic drive comes in. In autumn, you can take the Mountain to Sound Greenway with an optional hike at Gold Creek Pond Trail. The Steven’s Pass Greenway and Whidbey Island Scenic Isle Byway also make perfect day trips from Seattle.
Pick World-Class Apples for Homemade Treats
Washington is known for its wide array of crisp, juicy apples—perfect for a tart crisp or pie. Apple picking is an activity that’s perfect for all ages, whether you plan on baking something sweet or you’re just in it for the adventure. Popular orchards near Seattle include The Farm at Swan’s Trail Farms, Apple Creek Orchard and Bellewood Farms.
Get Chilly at Snoqualmie Falls
Seattle’s favorite Snoqualmie Falls is epic in fall. In addition to being highlighted by the transforming leaves that surround it, this waterfall takes on an ultra-misty, magical vibe as the rainy season descends. Grab a few packs of Snoqualmie pancake mix at the gift shop before heading home—a fresh, hot stack is the perfect way to warm back up.
Watch the Larch Trees Turn Gold
Larch trees are a rare type of conifer and deciduous tree that turns yellow in fall, and Seattle is in one of the few regions in the entire United States you can catch a glimpse. The Bloedel Reserve is a gorgeous place to see yellow of the Larch tree—plus the orange and red of the Japanese Maple in the oriental garden. The best part? It’s only a quick ferry ride away.
Step Into Seattle’s Haunted History
Autumn is the most creepy time of year. If you want a first-hand sighting of the souls that still linger, make your own haunted history tour by visiting places like the Lighthouse Oceanfront Resort, where you can browse a log of past ghost encounters recorded by guests.
Take Fall Photos at Washington Arboretum
Photo by Rachel Samanyi (Flickr cc by 2.0)
Whether you’ve got tiny tots in tow or you’re taking a girl’s trip, Washington Arboretum is the perfect place for a fall backdrop. Nestled on the shores of Lake Washington, this park is filled with a variety of trees, which create a rainbow of colors in fall. There’s also plenty of trails, benches, and picnic tables—perfect for a quick lunch break.