- Best Time: Mid-October to November
- Best Fall Color Display: In the park between Sunrise and Chinook Pass, the Paradise area, Reflection Lakes, Bench and Snow Lakes, Grove of the Patriarchs
- Fall Color Information: for Gifford Pinchot National Forest call the Fall Color Hotline: 1 (800) 354-4595
Vine Maple, high elevation huckleberry bushes and Larch (Tamarack) are the main sources of fall color and begin turning in late September. Larch is golden and is visible after much of the other color is gone. It is only found in the Chinook Pass and White Pass areas among the other evergreen trees. It is worth searching out, because the Larch is very localized and unique in Washington State. Spectacular displays are seen until the snow begins to fall in November.
On the White Pass Scenic Byway, US Hwy 12, fall colors are climaxed by the Larch on the east side of White Pass in November.
Whether you are traveling Chinook Pass, State Route 410, or White Pass, U.S. Highway 12, you will be astounded by the brilliance of fall colors. Cottonwoods, willows, elderberry, aspen, tamarack (western larch), and every deciduous tree and shrub is in transition and the colors will amaze you.
For those who travel off road or have a high clearance vehicle, you can drive from White Pass Highway to Chinook Pass via Bethel Ridge road 1500 and take it all in. Once on top Bethel Ridge you will be absolutely astounded by the transition in colors across the landscape. While you slowly descend from the ridge towards the Rattlesnake Drainage, take a short side trip to Cash Prairie, FS road 1500-199, for a view of the Rattlesnake towards Bismark Peak and the surrounding areas. Drive a short distance further to the 190 spur to Timberwolf Mountain and no matter what direction you look it will seem as if you are standing above a colorful carpet of crimson, amber, and gold. Don’t forget the camera. Another side trip is traveling the backside of Rimrock Lake on Tieton Road, FS road 1200. Colors along the lake and hills dotted with tamarack are well worth the trip. Near the Tieton airstrip a grove of Aspen will open your eyes.