The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
I have lived in Oregon my entire life, and each year I get to enjoy the beautiful autumn season with a few of my favorite fall activities. If you ever find yourself in Oregon during the fall, here are the best activities that the Beaver State has to offer.
- Oregon Film Trail – If you enjoy watching films, seeing the Oregon Film Trail is a must. From Twilight to Halloweentown, and even Coraline, following the Oregon Film Trail will allow you to visit the filming locations of some of the most popular movies watched during the spooky season.
- Halloweentown – Growing up, watching Halloweentown was one of my favorite fall festivities. Just 40 minutes outside of Portland, you can experience the magic of Halloweentown throughout the entire month of October. The town plaza is decorated to look exactly like it did when the movie was filmed. Be sure to stop and take a picture with the giant pumpkin in the town square!
- Apple Festival – If you love apples, then this is the event for you! As Oregon is known for its orchards, the Apple Festival is a big event held each year in Portland. At the festival, you can taste and purchase over 60 varieties of apples. You can also enjoy freshly pressed apple cider, and watch the process of how it’s made.
- Hood River Valley Harvest Fest – Celebrate the harvest season by attending the Hood River Valley Harvest Fest. This old-fashioned fall festival is located one hour outside of Portland and offers many fun activities. Each year, over 125 vendors gather here to celebrate the harvest. Some of the main attractions are a pie eating contest, tasting local produce, and seeing the annual giant pumpkin carving — the pumpkin always weighs over 1,000 pounds!
- Hood River Fruit Loop – If you drive out to Hood River for the Harvest Fest, paying a visit to the famous Fruit Loop is another way to celebrate autumn. On this 35 mile loop, you can stop and visit 27 different orchards and enjoy the beautiful fall colors that Hood River has to offer. When exploring the Fruit Loop, you will also get to observe a beautiful view of Mt. Hood, and truly experience the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
- Explore Haunted Places – Oregon is known for its many historical and haunted landmarks. I’ve decided to highlight three of my favorites.
- McMenamins Edgefield – McMenamins is one of Oregon’s most popular attractions. McMenamins is a chain of historical venues all throughout the Pacific Northwest. Although there are 46 locations in the state of Oregon, the McMenamins Edgefield Hotel is said to be one of the most haunted. It first opened as Multnomah County Poor Farm in 1911. Just 24 years later, the farm closed and the grounds became known as Edgefield Manor, a nursing home and a hospital for tuberculosis patients. The last name change before the McMenamins purchased the land occurred in the 1950s when it became Edgefield Lodge for emotionally disturbed children. The lodge ran until the 1970s. Upon its closing in the 80s, it was declared a historical landmark, and the hotel restoration began. Today the Edgefield employees have stories about haunted encounters. Some have reported hearing children laughing or screaming and witnessing a woman dressed in white that roams the 300+ acre property. Edgefield is also known for its concerts, hosting big artists like Halsey, Lizzo, and Florence + the Machine. If you decide to explore the eerie hotel or go on a ghost tour, be sure to look and see which concerts are happening during your stay.
- Lithia Park – Located in Ashland, Lithia Park is known for its paranormal activity. There have been countless reported sightings of a young girl in an 1800s style dress who sits near the duck pond. There have also been sightings of a logger who was killed by a falling log many years ago. Many people have also reported strangely distorted photographs, or their phones being instantly drained of battery upon entering the park. I personally have not had any haunted experiences at Lithia Park, but nonetheless, it is a beautiful place that is definitely worth visiting. While in Ashland, be sure to see the Coraline stop on the Oregon Film Trail.
- Heceta Head Lighthouse – Located on the Oregon Coast in Florence, Heceta Head Lighthouse is home to a ghost named Rue. While Rue’s true story isn’t known, it’s speculated that she was the lighthouse keeper’s wife and that she had two daughters, one of which drowned. People say that Rue returned after her death in an attempt to find her daughter. Many people who visit the lighthouse have reported encounters with her. Everyone who sees her says that she does not have a violent presence. I have never encountered Rue or any ghosts for that matter, but I still think that checking out some of the rather haunted places in Oregon would be a fun fall activity.
- Silver Falls State Park – If you’re like me and enjoy hiking, especially in the fall, Silver Falls State Park is one of the best places to hike during the season. The park is known for its amazing waterfalls, and for its incredibly vibrant foliage. Silver Falls State Park has 10 waterfalls, so be sure to bring your camera and prepare for lots of great photo opportunities!
- Shaniko – Although there are many ghost towns in the state of Oregon, the largest, and most popular, is Shaniko. Located in Central Oregon, Shaniko was once known as the “Wool Capital of the World.” Incorporated in 1901, Shaniko produced over 4 million pounds of wool in that same year. Shankio’s fame was short-lived when a fire destroyed a majority of the town in 1911. Just 10 years after Shaniko was incorporated, it was already on its way to becoming a ghost town. Today, Shaniko looks like you’re stepping onto the set of an old western film. The population as of 2020 was 37 people, and the Shaniko Wool Company still operates on a very small scale. I’ve been to Shaniko multiple times, and I find its rapid rise and fall to be quite interesting. From Googling pictures, and visiting the town in person, I can confidently say that if you are looking for creepy fall vibes, Shaniko should definitely be on your list.
Fall is a wonderful season, and I hope that if you ever find yourself in Oregon during this time, you will be able to use this list and find ways to enjoy some fall fun.
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