Explore the Volcanoes of Washington in Fall

Fall in the Volcanoes Region

Take advantage of crisp weather, fewer crowds, and autumn colors.

For family fun, scenic drives, comfortable hikes, and fantastic wildlife viewing, head to the Volcanoes Region in the fall.

Take a Hike

Fall is a great time to hit the trail at one of the region’s mountains. Reflection Lakes at Mount Rainier is popular for its stunning fall color, while the lesser-traveled Loowit Trail at Mount St. Helens rewards visitors with swaying autumn grasses in a range of golden hues. Although this season brings fewer crowds than the bustling summer months, it still pays to arrive early or on a weekday.

Drive the scenic West Side Loop

For gorgeous fall color in the Volcanoes Region, head to the West Side Loop of White Pass Scenic Byway. Meandering through quaint mountain communities, the entire route is usually open from May through October. Be sure to leave plenty of time for stops. In Morton, the Loggers’ Memorial and Historic Train Depot showcase the region’s history.

Travel north along State Route 7 for spectacular views of Mount Rainier towering over the 277-acre Mineral Lake. Many come great distances to fish, swim and boat these beautiful waters. The Nisqually area, Mount Rainier National Park and Big Bottom Valley offer plenty of chances to soak in the fall colors. Don’t forget your camera.

Watch for wildlife

Hit the trails in the Volcanoes Region to see the area’s wildlife. The Cispus River in Gifford Pinchot National Forest is home to an incredible number of species. You can easily view them from many trails. To the northwest, you’ll find what’s considered the “last unspoiled major estuary in Puget Sound” — the Nisqually River Delta. Birders will love the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, which is famous for hosting 275 migratory birds that use the refuge for feeding, wintering and breeding.

To discover neighborhood ponds and waterways full of wildlife adapting to the cooler weather, take to two wheels on a Biking Beyond excursion. Be sure to pack a sweater and a pair of binoculars while you are out exploring.

Embrace Family Fun

The Huntting's Pumpkin Patch and Haunted Forest in Cinebar prepares all season to present the best in fall fun. Test your navigation skills in the corn maze, which boasts a creative new design each year. If you’re feeling brave, attempt the maze after dusk before heading over to the Haunted Forest. Kids will enjoy hunting for pumpkins.