Washington State may be known as the “Evergreen State”, but don’t count it out as a destination for fall foliage viewing. Seattle fall colors are actually quite impressive and definitely worth seeking out.
When visiting, please remember that trees at higher elevations will turn first, around early to mid-October, while the trees at lower elevations are best to be seen in the middle of October. Fall in Seattle can often ext3end into mid-November.
A natural phenomenon in the Pacific Northwest you don’t want to miss is the the larch. Unlike other conifers, this pine tree will turn yellow or gold during the fall. Locals often go hunting through Seattle’s many parks to find the first larches of the season. Going on a “Larch March” can be a fun way to spend a fall day while discovering unique places to visit in Seattle in fall.
Explore more of the state! Here are more places to enjoy fall colors at Washington State.
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Fall in Seattle- Where to Enjoy Seattle Fall Colors
If you are wondering where to find the best spot to photograph the famous Space Needle with some fall foliage, visit Kerry Park. Kerry Park offers the best panoramic view of the city skyline.
Start photographing around 5:30-6PM to achieve that perfect light to capture stunning photos with the autumn sunset.
Location: 211 W Highland Dr, Seattle
Hours: Open Daily, 6AM – 10PM
Initiated in 1927 and completed in 1967 by Mr. Kubota, the Kubota Garden is one of the crown jewels in Seattle. Delighting visitors for decades, the Kubota Garden is one of the best places to view the vibrant colors of fall through nature.
At this Japanese-style garden, visitors can walk over two stunning vermilion-painted high-arched bridges, gaze at the juxtaposition between the evergreens and the burning bushes, and take some time to reflect on the meaning of autumn in nature next to a lantern in the garden.
You can have your very own Momijigari, the Japanese word for “admiring the autumn leaves” when you stroll across the maple woods and see the Japanese maple trees in vibrant reds and oranges.
Location: 9817 55th Ave S, Seattle
Hours: Every day of the year from sunrise to sundown.
Washington Park Arboretum
Located on the shores of Lake Washington is the Washington Park Arboretum. With over 200 acres to explore, visitors will be amazed at the variety of plants in this Pacific Northwest garden.
Take the time to walk on the Washington Park Arboretum Loop Trail as you gaze at the fall flowers and leaves. This easy trail will guide you around the park and takes about 2-3 hours to complete.
Make sure that you take your time photographing the Japanese Maple Trees in this botanical garden. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are more than welcome to visit the Washington Park Arboretum with their owners.
Location: 2300 Arboretum Dr. East
Hours: Open every day from dawn to 8PM. No fee
Seattle Japanese Garden
During the fall, visitors will flock to the south end of the Washington Park Arboretum to the Japanese Garden from October 5th to October 15th for the Maple Festival. This particular garden offers 3.5 acres of beauty to admire.
Do take your time as you view where everything is growing. Notice the organic shapes, the asymmetry, and the balance between the living materials and the stonework. These are all important aspects of Japanese garden design.
What makes this garden a unique experience is the opportunity to feed the koi fish, as well as participate in a tea ceremony. At the Gared Gatehouse, you can purchase special koi fish food and meditate as you feed these special creatures.
The Shoseian Tea House offers guests to experience a 40-minute traditional Japanese tea presentation in a garden setting. This experience is offered every Saturday and some days on Fridays and Sundays. Reservations are required.
Before booking the reservation, visitors are asked to wear socks or tights as bare feet are not allowed on the tatami mats and avoid wearing jeans, rings, and personal fragrances. Visitors are encouraged to sit on the tatami mat floor, however bench seating is available for those unable to do so.
Due to the rich history of the Japanese tea ceremonies, certain etiquette practices are recommended. The first Japanese etiquette is the wearing of socks on the tatami mats. The tatami mats easily trap dirt and are difficult to clean. With the etiquette of removing your shoes before you enter a Japanese house, visitors are expected to change into clean socks before entering as a sign of respect and help protect the mats in the tea house.
A tea ceremony in Japan is viewed as a special event where people will wear modest clothing. Denim could scratch the tatami mats in the tea room.
Rings may damage the valuable porcelain or ceramic chawan (bowls), and some jewelry may be distracting as they make noise which would pull focus away from the ceremony. Wearing too much perfume can distract from the smells and tastes of the tea. The tea is very delicate and should not compete with other smells.
Location: 1075 Lake Washington Boulevard East, Seattle
Hours: September (Closed on Mondays, Open Tuesday through Sunday: 10AM to 6PM), October (Closed on Mondays, Open Tuesday through Sunday: 10AM to 5PM), November (Closed on Mondays, Open Tuesday through Sunday: 10AM to 4PM).
Pricing: Please view the pricing list on the Seattle Japanese Garden website for up-to-date information.
Discovery Park is the largest city park in Seattle right on the Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound. The park has stellar views of the Olympic and the Cascade Mountain ranges that are loved by landscape photographers. Discovery Park is also home to West Point Lighthouse, one the the 18 active lighthouses in Washington State. This lighthouse can be viewed from the South Beach Trail in the park.
Local families love to bring their hiking boots or their bikes and explore the vast trails in this city park. The 2.8-mile loop trail has visitors explore through forests, meadows, and views of Puget Sound. While looking at the fall leaves, see if you can spot bald eagles and Arctic snowy owls. Bird watching is an easy activity at Discovery Park.
The highlight for most kids is visiting the Discovery Park playground. Located near the east parking lot, this nature-inspired playground is surrounded by beautiful evergreens and shaded trees. A great way to end your day leaf peeping at Discovery Park.
Location: 3801 Discovery Park Blvd., Seattle
Park hours: 4:30AM – 11PM
Lincoln Park is a short drive down to the southwest side of Seattle. The park is located right on Puget Sound with fantastic beachfront views. Take a hike on the Beach Trail as you walk through gorgeous aspen trees with their bright yellow foliage. Your hike will be rewarded with unobstructed Puget Sound views.
Lincoln Park has also recently made headlines for being a site for the Danish environmental artist, Thomas Dambo. Located among the trees, and playing an enormous flute to call home the native Orcas, is a large troll. Bruun Idun is the newest Northwest Trolls. Bruun Idun is one of six giant hand-built troll sculptures in the Pacific Northwest region.
Address: 8011 Fauntleroy Wy SW, Seattle
Hours: 6AM – 10PM
Green Lake Park
Located right in the middle of Seattle, and neighboring the Woodland Park Zoo, Green Lake Park is a great destination for those who want a quick walk outside. The 2.8-mile path around the lake provides the perfect environment to gaze at the fall foliage and witness the animals that call this place home.
Since the paths are either gravel or paved, local families will let their kids bike or scooter around the trail. To make this an afternoon-long event, make sure to pack a picnic and a hammock to relax. For those who want to see the fall foliage from the middle of the lake, visitors can rent a paddle board or pedal boat for the entire family.
Location: 7201 E Green Lake Dr. N, Seattle
Hours: Open every day
Located on the southeastern side of Seattle, Seward Park is another great place to view fall colors with their 2.4-mile biking and hiking trails.
Visitors start at the Audubon Center and can walk towards the children’s playground before starting the hike. The hike offers great views of the shoreline, and forests to look around. This trail is paved the entire way around, making it stroller friendly, and can be enjoyed by people of all fitness levels and abilities.
Location: 5900 Lake Washington Blvd. S
Hours: 6AM – 10PM
Fremont Canal Park
The Fremont Canal Park is a fantastic trail for all visitors. Located five miles north of Downtown Seattle, this paved trail connects Phinney Ave North to 3rd Ave NW.
The four-block trail features a pedestrian trail and benches for people to sit and look at the fall leaves from the reflection of the water. The Fremont Canal Park is also adjacent to the Burke Gilman Trail, which is super popular with bike riders.
Location: 199 N Canal St., Seattle
Hours: 4AM – 11:30PM
Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle Center
Chihuly Garden and Glass is easily one of my favorite places to visit in Seattle but during the fall, the outdoor grounds are especially magical. I just love the way the glass sculptures contrast with the vibrant autumn foliage.
While in Seattle you can head up to the top of the Space Needle and see the fall colors of Seattle from above. You will also want to stroll the grounds of Seattle Center in between visits to the museums on property. There are mature deciduous trees throughout the campus.
Location: 305 Harrison St, Seattle
Hours: 10AM – 7PM
Rockwood Farm is one of the most breathtaking places for viewing fall leaves. Take the day to hike the grounds of the farm and watch the leaves float by on the riverfront. Photographers love to take photos of Mt St. with the fall leaves framing this mountain.
Instagrammers are fans of the wrought iron fencing that has a gorgeous autumn-red tree-lined path. To get past the gate, you would need to book at Airbnb to spend an overnight at their guest suite. The guest suite can hold up to 4 people.
Address: 8100 428th Ave SE, Snoqualmie
Thirty minutes from Seattle sits one of the Pacific Northwest’s most amazing natural beauties, Snoqualmie Falls. The 268-foot waterfall is great for fall photos and the surrounding hiking trails are perfect for exploring during a cool autumn afternoon.
There is free parking and a free viewing area which is open from dawn until dusk. You can take your dog too, just ensure it is on a leash. There is a short, 1.5-mile out-and-back trail near the falls that takes around 50 minutes to complete.
At night, lights illuminate the falls which is always a site to see. If you are looking for an extended stay, you can reserve a night at the Salish Lodge and Spa right near the falls.
Address: 6501 Railroad Ave, Snoqualmie
Chuckanut Drive was the first scenic drive in the State of Washington. The route begins at I-5 exit 231 in Burlington and continues 20 miles north to Bellingham. This is a favorite and historic entry into Whatcom County.
At milepost 14, Chuckanut Drive passes Larrabee State Park, the first designated State Park in Washington. With access to the beach, tide pools, and trails, and encompassing 2,000+ acres, Larrabee is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
The best views on this entire drive are at The Oyster Bar. This restaurant sits cliffside at the north end of the highway where you will get amazing views of Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands in the fall.
Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
Instead of viewing the fall foliage from the ground, why not see them up in the air? In the fall, you could book a ride above the fall foliage of the Pacific Northwest with Seattle Ballooning. Visitors meet their balloon pilot at Muckleshoot Casino and are whisked away to their own adventure. Kids love watching the amount of fabric it takes to unload and see the balloons transform into iconic shapes.
Once you are up in the air, you will get breathtaking views of Mount Rainier and Mount Saint Helens in the distance, enjoy the views of the Green and White Rivers, Lake Tapps, and Lake Washington, beautiful farmland, and spectacular views of the Puget Sound from 3,000ft – 5000ft. Flights occur either at sunrise or sunset, making this an incredible opportunity for photographers to capture that perfect fall shot.