Five Fall Experiences that are Must-Haves on Seattle’s Eastside

Come late September as summer winds down, and kids are back in school, the cool Fall mornings start to roll in along with all the Fall feels. While this year may look a little different amid the Corona craziness, Fall still arrives on September 22nd 2020 with plenty of opportunity for outdoor adventures and fun. While there are countless things to keep you busy leading up to winter, here are five of our favorite fall activities to enjoy on Seattle’s Eastside.

Fall foliage in Sammamish

1. View the Fall Colors

While Fall might not be the warmest season in the Pacific Northwest, it is for sure the most picturesque. Come September, the trees that define the Eastside’s rolling hills and valleys of farmland go through a magical transition displaying a rainbow of colors before losing their leaves for the year, signaling the new season and leaving the evergreens to shed more slowly throughout winter. This transition is a must-view whether you enjoy photographing the experience or simply “taking it all in.” We’re listing this one first, as there is a short window that is ideal for viewing the changing of colors before the leaves have fallen for the year. While peak viewing season varies from year to year, typically the last week of September into the first couple weeks of October are prime viewing.  

Some of our favorite ways to view fall colors include: a wander through the Bellevue Botanical Garden, a walk, run or ride down the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, or a stroll through Kirkland’s Saint Edward State Park.

A spooky little pumpkin patch at Two Brothers in Carnation

2. Pick a Pumpkin

Some of the last opportunity for a u-pick farm experience before winter hits, is hunting for just the right pumpkin for décor or carving leading up to October’s Halloween holiday. There are tons of spots for pumpkin picking, and a few that offer additional fall harvest entertainment and activities. Some of our favorites that offer both u-pick and pre-picked pumpkins as well as a variety of other outdoor Fall entertainment include Remlinger Farms, Oxbow Farms, and Jubilee Farm in Carnation. Two Brothers Pumpkins, also in Carnation, offers a classic, no frills pumpkin picking experience.

Granite Mountain Lookout Tower Trail

3. Take a Hike

For the true outdoor adventurer, Fall brings some prime hiking opportunities. With the summer heat fading in the rear-view and winter cold yet to come, the weather is perfect for an outdoor adventure.

Some of our favorites that are less traveled in the Fall include:

Gold Creek Pond

At just 1.4 miles roundtrip and virtually no elevation gain, Gold Creek Pond offers a toddler friendly loop trail with stunning views of the surrounding mountainsides, reflected in a tranquil pond.

Franklin Falls

At 2 miles roundtrip and 400 ft elevation gain, the hike along the South Fork Snoqualmie River to Franklin Falls makes the perfect hike for a beginner, young kids, or those looking for a less strenuous outing with a great waterfall view point at the end.

Coal Creek Trail

Located a short drive from Bellevue right in the hillside of Cougar Mountain, the 6 mile roundtrip Coal Creek Trail offers a very moderate 550 ft. of elevation gain perfect for those looking for a longer hike without much elevation gain. This out and back trail leads you to a small waterfall called North Fork Falls.

Granite Mountain Lookout Tower

8.6 Miles Roundtrip and an elevation gain of 3,800 ft. make hiking Granite Mountain a good challenge, while being slightly less traveled than local neighbor Mt. Si. It leads you to one of the highest peaks west of Snoqualmie Pass offering views of much of the central Washington Cascades.

Mount Si

This highly trafficked trail should be a bucket list hike for any in-shape greater Seattle resident or visitor. Not to be confused with nearby “Little Si,” at 8 miles roundtrip and 3,100 ft of elevation gain, it is no small task and should be attempted with preparation. The phenomenal views of the Snoqualmie Valley, Seattle and the Olympic Mountain Range.

4. Sample Some Fall Fare

With Fall comes a fabulous selection of seasonal foods that celebrate the entry into harvest time. When you’re having a hankering for all things pumpkin, squash, salmon or apple, here are some fun spots to head:

Locust Cider (Woodinville): A variety of hard cider offerings including a Dark Maple Hard Apple Cider.

Ginza Japanese Restaurant (Bellevue): Pumpkin Fried Rice, Pumpkin Croquettes, and Pumpkin Spring Rolls are some of the delicious pumpkin finds at Ginza Bellevue.

Top Pot Doughnuts (Redmond, Issaquah, Kirkland, Bellevue): Check out their seasonal specials such as an Apple Cider Cake Doughnut and Pumpkin Cheesecake Bismark Doughnut.

Thai Duvall (Duvall): Their Pumpkin Curry is a must try. They specialize in spicy, so be sure to emphasize if you want an extra tame entree.

The Dining Room at Salish Lodge & Spa (Snoqualmie): We’ve mentioned them before and it’s worth mentioning again – the local, sustainable dishes at The Dining Room feature fabulous seasonal specials including a Pan-Roasted Salmon, served alongside stunning views of the Snoqualmie Falls.

Cactus Southwest Kitchen & Bar (Kirkland, Bellevue): The Butternut Squash Enchiladas feature crisp white corn tortillas, jack cheese, goat cheese, sautéed spinach, roasted butternut squash, and caramelized onions, topped with a delicious mole rojo and guacamole.

Dru Bru Tap Room and Brewery, Snoqualmie Pass
Outdoor seating at Dru Bru Tap Room and Brewery, located at Snoqualmie Pass

5. Celebrate Oktoberfest

We’ll leave the debate about whether pumpkin belongs in beer for the biergarten, and just say that whether you fall on team pumpkin or not, there is seasonal beer aplenty for any taste and preference at one of the Eastside’s 20+ breweries. For a good place to start, check out this article listing the Eastside breweries by City, most of whom offer outdoor seating, and growler fills to-go.