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September 28, 2019
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48 Hours in Walla Walla: Fall in Love

userBy Gwen Dildine user0 Comment

The best time of the year has arrived. I feel strongly about that despite the fact that I age on the spookiest day of the year. I love fall–the changing colors, the justification of my love of all things pumpkin, and most of all bundling up for a leisurely stroll on a trail. The snowshoes are optimistically dusted off and just waiting for their time to shine. Until then, let’s spend a weekend taking in some cool, crisp mountain air in between a latte or two.

Fall in Love with the Blues

Is it possible to have a relatively lazy weekend while embarking on an adventure or two? Absolutely. Here’s how. Start at the Walla Walla Roastery for an absolutely necessary brainstorming session. Grow your coffee IQ and enjoy the sunrise over the Blue Mountains, your destination for the day’s journey. The Walla Walla Roastery opens at 9 am on Saturdays, so sleep in or watch Game Day at your leisure.

Once you finish your coffee and the paper, it is time to trade the view of the mountains for a trip into the mountains. Since the morning started near the Walla Walla Regional Airport, the journey is conveniently located up Mill Creek Road. Head up Tiger Canyon to the North Fork Walla Walla Trail. The Forest Service closes the gate not far up from the West Tiger Creek Trail as of November 1, so make sure to take advantage of any clear, dry days before winter starts turning the Blues white.

North Fork Walla Walla Trail

Perhaps not quite as well known as its directional opposite, the South Fork Walla Walla Trail, the North Fork Walla Walla Trail offers outdoor enthusiasts an incredibly scenic drive up Tiger Canyon. A majority of the road borders the watershed boundary, so take advantage of the wild and pristine viewscape. Of course, this time of year be prepared for changing weather conditions. There are too many other awesome things to do in the valley, so don’t force a trip to the mountains if the weather isn’t cooperating with the itinerary.

The North Fork Walla Walla Trail is currently Steve’s favorite trail. That is saying quite a bit as he knows his trails. When I asked him to elaborate he said, “I really love trails in the forest–maybe it’s because I grew up on the west side. This trail is awesome to hike as well as ride a dirt bike on. When the kids get a bit older, I’d like to make a backpacking loop out of a few trails in this area.” I’m guessing since he likes the trail it is a bit challenging, so I asked. “The first section is steep, but manageable. If not sure on your feet, consider a stroll down NF-6512 where the North Fork Walla Walla Trail crosses the road.” Actually, that is a pretty great suggestion as this is often where we take the kids to enjoy views while on a creature adventure.

Tour Walla Walla With Your Tastebuds

Locals currently have a great dilemma–there are lots of yummy restaurants. Downtown offers many options, and one particular block will surely suit any trail conquering enthusiast. On West Alder Street between Third Avenue and Forth Avenue, Hattaway’s on Alder, Soi 71, and the Red Monkey offer everything from a taste of the south to Thai to classic American fair. After the late lunch or early dinner, enjoy a stroll through downtown Walla Walla. It is such a lively, magical downtown that many folks have worked so hard over many years to bring to life.

Dessert is also a must. I often profess my love of the Colville Street Patisserie, and today is no different. I’ve always wondered why the world was so obsessed with macarons, so finally I caved and tried one. Actually, I tried a cardamom chocolate macaron concoction, which I’m not sure the world is ready for because it was next level. The Patisserie is a great place to wrap up the day and enjoy a few lazy moments before tomorrow’s adventure.

In-Town Walking Paths

We are constantly working on development, and one of the new sections we are excited to launch is walking paths, coming soon. As a sneak peek, venture to the Whitman Mission National Historic Site for a stroll through time. This destination is managed by the National Park Service. There are two trails that lead users to monuments, interpretive signs, and the Oregon Trail. It is a super family-friendly destination that can easily accommodate sleeping in or a late brunch.

Many drive-through coffee stands are on the way, such as Giddy Up and Go Espresso. When I said enjoy the outdoors in between having a latte or two, err on the side of two. You’ll want one while you sit and soak in the views.

In-town walking paths are a great way to continue outdoor activity through the fall and winter months. Protected from road traffic, many of these paths double as uninterrupted biking paths and safe zones for kids to wander and run free. We’ll keep working on bringing you even more in-town adventures.

Changing Seasons, Gearing Up

Even though I love fall, it comes at a cost. Shorter days, scraping ice off the windshield, and valley fog make me question my judgement. These cyclical facts of life are gentle reminders to recreate safely. Gear becomes incredibly important in order to travel to your destination safely and keep your fingers and toes cozy.

Remember, there is plenty to do and see in the valley. Let the snow accumulate, and keep the snowshoes ready. We are about to fall into snow sport season!

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