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A flashy fall finale
all colors show nature in all its resplendent glory
November 12, 2012
Fall is my favorite season, and it never seems to last long. Aspen is my favorite tree and it too seems short-lived, at least its colorful leaves.
So with only a limited amount of time and places available to see these quaking fall colors at their peak, I make my annual visit (or two or three) to the
Deschutes River Trail just southwest of Bend. One of the better places to see the yellows, oranges, and reds of aspens is just upriver of Dillon Falls where most of the quakies are located on the east side of the river in front of the lava flow.
I missed the peak this year and most of the trees had lost their leaves by my last visit but there was still a lot of color on the willows, alders and the few remaining trees.
It’s only a short hike from the Dillon Falls trailhead down to the falls. Columns of sunlight streaked down through the rising mist of the wild, raging Class VI rapids.
There are several access points along the 8.5-mile Deschutes River Trail so it’s possible to drop hikers off at one site and pick them up at the next. For example, it’s only about a mile and a half from Dillon Falls to the next downriver access called Aspen, another great spot to see fall colors.
At Aspen, the morning’s dew left droplets of water on freshly fallen leaves that covered the trail. Recent beaver activity could be seen in the small patches of aspens. From Aspen it’s another mile down the trail to Big Eddy where more colors can be seen along the way.
To reach the Deschutes River Trail, travel six miles out of Bend on the Cascades Lakes Highway. The lower trailhead (Meadow Picnic Area) is located just before the Widgi Creek Resort on FS Road 100. To reach the upper trailheads, continue on the highway about a mile and take a left on Route 41. A sign indicates the Deschutes River Recreation Sites. Look for signs along this road to Dillon Falls and Aspen. Go to the end of the pavement to reach Benham Falls, the upper end of the trail.