Every Fall a Giant Smiley Face of Trees Appears on this Hillside in Oregon

Brent Thomas |
smiley trees
Have you ever seen an emoji like this? Credit: The Oregonian

If you are driving along highway 18 in northwest Oregon during the Autumn season, prepare to smile. Or rather be smiled at. This is where a giant smiley face of trees has been planted into the foothills of the coast range mountains.

How did it get there?

The timberland is owned by lumber producer Hampton Lumber. In 2011 after harvesting the trees, the company decided to have some fun with the reforestation process. In this area, they typically plant a variety of native species depending on the elevation and soil conditions. This can include Douglas fir, western hemlock, noble fir, and western red cedar.

drone trees
The smiley face is located south of Oregon 18 at roughly milepost 25, between Willamina and Grand Ronde. Credit: Reddit/The Oregonian

What made this reforestation plan different was the plan to make the smiley face. Although the eyes and mouth of the smiley face were planted with the common Douglas fir, the trees around it were planted with larch trees. Douglas fir is evergreen while larch is a conifer with needles that turn yellow and eventually drop off in the fall. This makes the smiley face come alive during the fall season. What makes it even better is the hillside is highly visible from the highway.


The crews that did the replanting used a rope to plot the circle of the face. Then the eyes and mouth were triangulated from that. It took an entire week to plan. The size of the face is about 300 feet in diameter.

If you want to see this unique sight, you have about 30-40 years until the trees will be harvested again. The face might lose some distinction during other parts of the year, but the yellow pops when the weather starts getting colder.

The fall colors are beautiful and are a great reminder of the changing season. A season that will eventually lead to winter – our favorite season.

Stowe, Vermont with fall colors and snow.
The changing colors remind us that winter is coming. Credit: stowe.com

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5 thoughts on “Every Fall a Giant Smiley Face of Trees Appears on this Hillside in Oregon

  1. Seems unnatural. I’m surprised the Sierra Watch tree huggers aren’t out there peacefully protesting and burning the town down.

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