The fall season in the Pacific Northwest is one of the best times of the year. It starts off as an extension of summer but when the leaves finally change their color, it’s an absolutely beautiful sight to behold. Washingtonians take full advantage of this time of year to get those nature hikes in before the holiday season begins. Autumn is also a great time to enjoy walking tours of scary places, pick pumpkins, and sample locally-grown seasonal foods.
Read our list of more fun fall activities in Vancouver, WA, and let us know if we forgot one of your favorites!
1. Haunted Walking Tours
Every Friday and Saturday night in October the Clark County Historical Museum conducts haunted walking tours to examine the haunted history of Vancouver. Take a guided tour into the peculiar side of local history and explore haunted buildings, tales of intrigue and fright based on stories, memories, research, and personal experiences. You are encouraged to bring a flashlight so you won’t miss anything spooky! The Spirit Tales of the Vancouver Barracks tour walks guests through the grounds of the mysterious Vancouver Barracks, founded in 1849. The tour brings to life the stories of the inhabitants over the last 150 years – stories of tragedy and fear that reveal a dark and spooky history. Tours run Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at Noon.
2. Chelatchie Prairie Railroad
Rich in history and perseverance, the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad is a beautiful opportunity to see the leaves and trees of Fall. Chelatchie Railroad offers experiences for all ages, especially during the Fall season. On October 2 and 3, ride the Chelatchie for Autumn Harvest Run that will take you through the lush forests where you will be surrounded by towering firs, the East Fork Lewis River, waterfalls, and finally travel through a 330-foot natural rock tunnel. October 16 and 17 will prove to be a breathtaking adventure when you climb aboard the Chelatchie for the Fall Leaves Special expedition. You will not be able to look away from the color and awe surrounding the train as you travel through pure art. The train also makes a stop at the Moulton Station to see visit the beautiful Yacolt Falls.
Lastly, you must get tickets for the Headless Horseman Halloween Train on October 30 and 31! Ride the Chelatchie Railroad and see a headless horseman, enjoy cocoa, candy, and even show up in your Halloween custom. The train itself is a wonder to watch as it steams through the trees and mountainsides. This ride is the best way to celebrate Halloween!
3. Experience the Cinema of Horrors Drive-In & Haunted House
If you are in the mood to scream and be frightened beyond comparison, then you must check out the Cinema of Horrors Drive-In Experience. Watching your favorite horror movie is scary enough, but what if the creatures from the movie were outside your car window? This live-action horror movie experience is a great way to celebrate Halloween and the Fall. You will be amazed at the quality of the characters’ makeup, you will be on the edge of your seat with fear, and you will not want to look outside your window! You better lock your car doors! After the drive-in scare of a lifetime, stop by Nightmares on Elk Street Haunted House for more screams.
4. Pick a Pumpkin
Kids love the Fall because they can indulge in cider, apples, caramel, and pumpkin patches. You and your family can also step back in time while enjoying a pumpkin patch at Pomeroy Living History Farm. Every weekend in October, Pomeroy celebrates Pumpkin Lane. See the pumpkin people vignettes, visit farm animals, enjoy delicious treats, and pick out the best pumpkin you can carry.
Pomeroy promises to intrigue the kids with its pre-electrical 1920s lifestyle portrayed in the barn, blacksmith shop, and various outbuildings. The Vancouver Pumpkin Patch is also a lovely destination with hayrides, a corn maze, a petting zoo, U-pick vegetables, and an amazing selection of pumpkins to bring home! Vancouver Pumpkin Patch opens September 25, 2021, Tuesday – Sunday 9 AM-6 PM.
5. Take a Hike
If experiencing the Fall colors up-close and personal is your preference, then you must head out to the many hiking trails around Vancouver. The abundance of trees and surrounding mountains are brought to life as Fall transforms the landscape. Moulton Falls follows the curve of the Lewis River, crosses a beautiful footbridge, and is canvassed with colorful trees and striking reflections. Cape Horn is the closest Columbia River Gorge hike to Vancouver with waterfalls and overlooks that provide unbelievable views of picturesque trees.
If you are more adventurous, explore the classic Gorge hike in Beacon Rock State Park where you can view majestic scenes of trees, mountains, and waterfalls from Hamilton Mountain. For mountain bikers and horse riders, check out the Bells Mountain Trail. Part of the 30-mile Chinook Trail and a quarter-mile from the Moulton Falls picnic area, Bells Mountain Trail will bring you atop Bells Mountain to overlook fall colors blanketing Alder and Doug-fir trees.
Closer to home is Officer’s Row where 22 restored nineteenth homes are outlined by a tree-lined promenade. You can learn about the Vancouver Barracks, take a self-guided tour and learn about the trees and other botanical features, and have an opportunity to view the best time of the year for Officer’s Row – Autumn.
6. See the Cedar Creek Grist Mill
Looking for a hands-on experience for the entire family while enjoying the Fall season? The Cedar Creek Grist Mill is an excellent opportunity for the kids to learn how apple cider is made using a mill. The Cedar Creek Grist Mill is the only grain grinding mill in Washington that has maintained its original structural integrity and stone pressing. Kids and parents alike will enjoy seeing the water-powered belt and pulley system as it presses apples to produce fresh apple juice. The Mill presses 10,000 pounds of apples into cider, and you can take your product home! The Mill is surrounded by water, trees, and rich history.
7. Dine the Couve
Pumpkin patches and hiking may not be for everyone, but good food usually makes everyone happy. During the month of October, Vancouver declares dining month that offers amazing discounts and some of the best local restaurants. So, if you need a date night or an adults-only dinner, then Dine the Couve is an excellent Fall escape. Restaurants offer 3 for $20 or 3 for $30 menus that showcase their best items where you can enjoy a three-course meal or more unique offerings of drinks and small plates. Bon Appetit!