The fall season in the Pacific Northwest is nothing short of wonderful every year. It starts off as an extension of summer and slowly morphs into a beautiful display of vibrant colors as leaves finally change their color – 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 haunted houses, pick pumpkins, and sample locally-grown seasonal foods.
Here is our list of more fun fall activities in Vancouver, WA, that you don’t want to miss.
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 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 costume. The train itself is a wonder to watch as it streams through the trees and mountainsides. This ride is the best way to celebrate Halloween!
3. Explore the Corn Mazes of Waltons Farms
If you are looking for a peaceful location where your family and friends can meander, picnic, and listen to the breeze in the corn stalks, head over to Waltons Farms in Camas. They also sell pumpkins during fall, so if you are looking for a farm with years of experience in growing pumpkins, this can be a great place to start.
Besides strolling through lush countryside, there are many family-friendly activities that you can dive into with your kids. There is a toy train that takes you around their pumpkin patches and other points of interest. If you fancy exploring dense corn mazes, their corn fields will give you the perfect setup to scratch that itch. All in all, this is a fascinating place to explore, create memories and click photos with your family.
4. Pearson Air Museum
If you are looking forward to something unconventional this fall then you may want to check out the Pearson Air Museum. This free-for-all museum does an incredible job of shining light on some of the landmark events that took place in the history of aviation.
Although there are only four historic aircraft on display, the museum itself offers a lot to explore and enjoy so everyone can stay engaged. The main hall displays include fascinating aircraft, like the Curtiss Pusher which was primarily used for mail deliveries in the past. There are other exhibits that tell the tale of aircraft and equipment used in the First World War with details of pilots, their strategies, actual flight dynamics, and more.
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. Vancouver Farmers Market
Pumpkin patches and hiking may not be for everyone, but good food usually makes everyone happy. Located on Esther Street, Vancouver’s farmers market offers a delightful experience to anyone looking for events in the city where artists showcase their work through quality prepared foods.
This is a two-for-one kind of deal where you get to appreciate the changing seasons through the leaves and trees in the adjacent park while traversing the bustling market to find wonderful snacks, vegetables, fruits, and other food options. If you are a health fanatic who loves to explore the city during fall, the farmers market in downtown Vancouver is a place you don’t want to miss.