There certainly IS autumn color in the Pacific Northwest!
The western side of the Cascades range, because of its optimal fall tree conditions, offers the best foliage display in the Pacific Northwest. The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, an eastern neighbor of metropolitan Portland, Oregon, is one of the most beautiful of areas for fall viewing and easy to get to. Interestingly, Congress acknowledged the unique beauty of Columbia River Gorge in 1986, by making it the nation's first National Scenic Area.
The states of Washington and Oregon share these autumn gorge views and are found in the Hood and Gifford Pinchot National Forests. The best hardwood tree species in these forests for presenting the colorful show are big-leaf maple, cottonwood and Oregon ash. They live in beautiful contrast to the dark green conifers and the Gorge's dark basalt cliffs - the brilliant yellow leaves of maple trees stand out with the red, yellow and orange hues of smaller shrubs like vine maple.
About's Northwest US Guide, Angela Brown says "The fall color in the Northwest can be as spectacular as any in the country. The display varies from year to year, the color and duration dependent upon the weather conditions." Read her Fall Foliage Trip Planner - Northwestern United States report.
Maples in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest - USFS Photo