When you think about places for fall color in the U.S., New England probably comes to mind, and though it deserves the notoriety, it’s just one of many regions to witness the resplendent change of seasons. No matter where you live, there’s likely an excellent destination to photograph the rich, warm colors of autumn within a day’s drive.
We asked 10 photographers to share the details behind some of their top locations for fall color from coast to coast to inspire you to plan your own trip, whether it’s to an iconic place or a favorite spot near home.
Tumwater Canyon, WashingtonSony a850, Sony Zeiss Vario-Sonnar DT 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 ZA at 60mm, circular polarizer, tripod. Exposure: 1/13 sec., ƒ/20, ISO 200.
By Steve West
Traveling U.S. Route 2 across the Cascade Mountains from north of Seattle toward Spokane is always a picturesque joy. Come fall, it’s spectacular. Snow-capped peaks and mountain rivers, hillsides mixed with evergreens and now-turned-red brush accompany the journey as you approach Tumwater Canyon. The canyon is a 14-mile piece of U.S. 2 that bends and sweeps along the Wenatchee River ending at the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth. The highway is loaded with roadside pull-outs along the Wenatchee, making it easy to photograph. In addition to the river and cliffs, you’ll find ponds, a small dam, an old railroad bridge and other features to combine with the color.
I’ve photographed from the canyon for many years and regard it as Washington state’s prime spot for guaranteed fall photos you’ll show others. Each year seems different due to normal climate changes; will the yellows, oranges and reds be ripe together, or is it simply a one-color year? The reds normally come first, and the yellows linger the longest. I pick the middle of October as the best chance for both. As summer winds down, the images of past photos begin to resurface. Fall is in the air, and so is the Tumwater.