It’s officially fall and that means it is time to harvest some fall fun here on the Harbor. As the trees turn from their lush greens to the eye-catching rainbow of colors over the next couple of months, there are some great stops to make and drives to take for some beautiful views and refreshing scenery. So grab some family and friends and visit these prime destinations for some local autumnal goodness.
Twin Bridges Park
Who doesn’t love gigantic leaves to toss around and crunch underfoot? Twin Bridges Park located in Montesano is surrounded by large trees that will have children (and adults) giggling with glee as the masses of leaves make their way down, completely covering the ground by the end of the season. There is also a short walk that leads to the riverfront that is lovely as the changes in colors reflect on the water, and it’s a nice spot to go fishing too.
Sherwood Forest Trail
This lesser known Aberdeen trail is a breath of fresh air with tall trees and lots to see. Located off of Bel Aire in Aberdeen on Sherwood Lane, the trail leads hikers into the depths of the forest through rugged terrain and moderate elevation changes. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the quiet of nature and admire the changes in foliage, too. Make sure to wear weather appropriate footwear as it can become quite muddy in some parts if it has rained recently.
A wonderful aspect of Grays Harbor is that it offers so many options for coastal access. The ocean is beautiful year-round, but a sunset or misty morning sunrise at the beach during fall is an especially breathtaking sight. Damon Point located at the tip of Ocean Shores has miles of beach to wander and is ideal to sit down and take in the rolling waves and the peninsula’s wildlife. For those bringing canine companions, be sure to note that there are some places they are not permitted in order protect the avian wildlife, but there are still plenty of places where they are welcome on the beach and dunes.
Schafer State Park
Tucked away in a woody area miles away from the hustle and bustle, Schafer State Park in Elma is a tranquil place to visit and it feels like a mini getaway. The drive alone out to the park is a thing of beauty with an assortment of scenery. At the park itself, there are several hiking options, places to picnic, and a river to meander by or fish in and enjoy the fresh fall air. The park does require a Discover Pass or $10 per day to park.
Located on Highway 107, Preacher’s Slough has miles of trails to walk. A lot of the area goes through dense woods offering an awe-inspiring natural canopy and a chance to see all kinds of trees shedding their leaves and nearby fields turning from green to golden. Visitors can also stop at any of several outlook posts that overlook the sloughs and read the fun and informative signs posted along the way. A Discover Pass is required to visit here or $10 per day to park.
Vance Creek Park
Just off Highway 12 by Elma are the manmade ponds at Vance Creek Park. The still waters of the ponds and the surrounding trees make for a peaceful walk with leaves varying from yellow to purple strewn about during fall months. The pathways are also paved, which makes it a great option if the weather has been recently rainy. There is a playground located here as well.
Lake Quinault and Surrounding Areas
Highway 101 out to the Quinault Rain Forest is a stunning drive during the fall, with snow tipped mountains often times visible alongside the towering trees on this route. Along with great hiking options, visitors can also choose to continue the scenic drive around the lake. The drive is 31 miles long from the South Shore Road to the North Shore Road and not only passes by several waterfalls, but also has endless sights to see from the tall trees to the wildlife.
The drive to Wynoochee will have people feeling warm and cozy as they drive through the winding roads that lead deeper and deeper into nature. There are picnicking options by the lake to relax and take in the view. The lakeshore trail located at the north end of the lake offers a 12-mile hike, and there are creeks to cross and the terrain varies, so come prepared for a variety of conditions if you plan to go hiking.
Have another fall gem in Grays Harbor people won’t want to miss out on this season? Share a comment and let people know of a favorite spot.