Beautiful Drives for Fall Leaves in Central Oregon

Photo by Don Miller

Header photo by DMU Photography.

Fall in Central Oregon is a glorious time of less crowds and clear, crisp days. When your adventure bucket list includes experiencing the fall colors of a foliage drive, Tetherow is the ideal starting point (it’s also got some gorgeous fall colors to show!).

As you embark on a scenic fall foliage drive, you’ll be greeted by nature’s vibrant masterpiece, a breathtaking tapestry of colors that only autumn can provide. The landscape transforms into a mesmerizing blend of fiery reds, warm oranges, and rich golden yellows, creating an enchanting visual spectacle. The dense forest canopy that once cloaked the trees in emerald green now becomes a canvas of unparalleled beauty, capturing the essence of the season’s change.

Photo by Peter Horan

This drive is even more striking when the vibrant colors are set against a backdrop of rich black lava rock, as it is along the McKenzie Highway (OR 242) west of Bend. This scenic byway is an iconic Oregon destination in the fall, and it also includes secret hot springs, outstanding views and a winding look at Oregon’s forests and dynamic volcanic history. This route closes in the winter so be sure to enjoy it while fall’s colors abound!

Just 2 miles from Tetherow is the drive through the Skyliner Forest area. With a mingling of towering pine trees and delicate Quaking Aspens, the contrasting color of dusty green and bright gold create a beautiful drive that ends at Bend’s Tumalo Falls. Pack a picnic to enjoy all that this destination has to offer.

Whether you’re on a solitary drive or sharing this experience with loved ones, a fall foliage drive in Bend, OR offers a fleeting yet unforgettable glimpse into the natural world’s most captivating transformation, a testament to the beauty of change and the magic of the season. We recommend checking road conditions on ODOT TripCheck and please let us know how we can assist in any of your fall activities in Bend!