According to an article in USNews.com, the Northwest ranks right up there with New England when it comes to lush fall color and beautiful road trips.
The article gave kudos to the Historic Columbia River Highway for its gorgeous scenery, including the Columbia River and Cascade mountains. Their suggested route, from Portland, OR, along the Columbia River, through Mount Hood National Forest, and back, takes you through a 160 mile route. Just about a full day of driving and sightseeing.
According to the US Forestry Service, the Mount Hood National Forest will take you through 60 miles of “forested mountains, lakes and streams to Olallie Scenic Area.” The Olallie Scenic area, according to the USFS, is at about 4,800′ of elevation, and is located just north of Mt. Jefferson. The forest in the area there is largely Lodgepole Pine and Mountain Hemlock, lovely evergreens that compliment the autumn glow of the cottonwoods and maples.
Be prepared for snow if you are headed out during October and November, you are likely to find it. Be sure to bring warm clothing, food and water with you. Once you get back to Portland, the City of Roses, there will be plenty of restaurants and nightlife to cap off a gorgeous day of leaf peeping.
— Tama Fulton, CBS Local Seattle