11 day PNW coast-Olympic-Portland-Glacier


May 22nd, 2017, 11:05 PM
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Join Date: May 2017
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11 day PNW coast-Olympic-Portland-Glacier

Hi, we (2 adults mid-thirties, 1 first time in US) have 11 days to get from San Francisco to near Glacier Natl Park for a wedding (4 days in Glacier after). We want to take the coast all the way up to Olympic (June 25-28, stopping in the redwoods, staying in campsites), spend 2 days in Olympic, and then head down 4th of July Portland and 1 day in Columbia Gorge/Hood River area before a long drive up to Columbia Falls, MT on July 6. We have 2 flexible days....had considered spending a day in Seattle after Olympic, then down through Mt. Rainier before Portland, but not sure where to stay in/near Seattle (expensive) and if Rainier will still be too snowy July 3rd. Is it worth doing either? Realize the itinerary is pretty ambitious already. Possible route/stops:

6/25: coast to Mendocino
6/26-27: redwoods
6/28-29: coast up to Olympic, camp halfway, reach west side of Olympic
7/2: Seattle? Arrive on Bainbridge ferry a.m., head south for cheaper lodging evening?
7/3: Mt. Rainier?
7/4: Portland
7/5: Columbia Gorge
7/6: Drive to Glacier
7/7: Wedding

Plan to camp most nights (have a friend to stay with in Portland). Thoughts on getting into Seattle for a day trip from Olympic? Stopping in Rainier? Or just stay in Olympic? Could also cut the redwood day to 1.

Looking mostly for scenic day hikes, but thought a taste of Seattle might be fun. I didn't want a set itinerary, but looks like campsites are filling up quickly, so want to start booking.

Grateful for any input!
kororpcv is offline  
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May 23rd, 2017, 12:14 AM
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Are you aware that going up the coast to Olympic NP takes 22 hours, with an average speed of 45 mph?

I would not backtrack to Portland. Head straight east from the Seattle area.

The drive from Hurricane Ridge to Seattle is not just a skip and a jump.

There is a free campground outside the park on the Lyre river.

If you get to Glacier NP too soon, camp in the park itself for until the wedding day.
Michael is offline  
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May 23rd, 2017, 01:48 AM
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Thank you for the feedback. I haven't been up that way before, so just going by Google maps...we were figuring on driving about 5 hours a day, stopping to hike along the way.

I've been to Glacier before, and we'll have four full days after the wedding to play around, and a place to stay in Columbia Falls. So trying to get a feel for OR and WA in the 11 days we have to road trip up.

We did consider heading over from Seattle, but have friends getting together on the 4th in Portland that we haven't seen in 10 years, and we really wanted to see the Hood River area.

We can skip Seattle if getting into the city for a day is too much of a hassle. Again, just going by google maps...which say leaving from Port Angeles would take about 3 hours to get over.

I think top three would be hiking in the redwoods, hiking in Olympic, and exploring Columbia gorge...but they're pretty spread out.

Thought of stopping in Rainier for a day hike, but it looks like there'd still be a lot of snow?
kororpcv is offline  
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May 23rd, 2017, 06:05 AM
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You'll need to appreciate that this is much more about the driving than the visiting places; you're going to be doing drive-bys for the most part.

Here's a possible alternative plan; overnight locations are shown.

25-Jun Ferndale/Arcata/Trinidad
26-Jun Ferndale/Arcata/Trinidad
27-Jun Brookings/Gold Beach
28-Jun Astoria
29-Jun Forks
30-Jun Port Angeles
1-Jul Seattle area
2-Jul Portland via Mt. St. Helens
3-Jul Columbia Gorge
4-Jul Columbia Gorge
5-Jul Coeur d'Alane
6-Jul Drive to Glacier

This involves skipping the Mendocino coast - you'll see plenty of beautiful coastal scenery later and CA 1 adds a lot of hours to an already full itinerary.

Spend two nights (one full day) in the Ferndale/Eureka/Arcata/Trinidad area, one getting to the southern Oregon coast and one on the north coast (Astoria or Ilwaco WA for the overnight, including Cape Disappointment.)

Drive from Astoria up to Ruby Beach and the Hoh rain forest with an overnight in Forks; spend the next day visiting one of the La Push beaches and Hurricane Ridge near Port Angeles.

Drive from the Seattle area to Portland with a side trip to Johnston Ridge on Mt. St. Helens. Then spend two full days in the Columbia Gorge area, including a visit to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, which will have to stand in for Mt. Rainier.

Then cross eastern Washington with an overnight at Coeur d'Alene before the last push to Glacier. Here's a map - https://goo.gl/maps/AQGo4eUCbUE2

I think camping is going to be impractical pretty much the whole way - any campgrounds that can be booked in advance, especially in the national parks and on the Oregon coast, will be fully booked by now. This goes for regular accommodations too, particularly around Olympic NP.
Gardyloo is offline  
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May 23rd, 2017, 06:56 AM
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One thing with campgrounds in ONP, almost all are first come first serve, so you cannot make reservations. That could go in your favor or not, depending on day of week you arrive etc.
mms is offline  
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May 23rd, 2017, 12:09 PM
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I spent a week doing Seattle /Olympic Peninsula /Portland last May. Here are some things to consider.

1. The Peninsula is BEAUTIFUL but I would want more time there. I did Seattle to Hurricane Ridge and camped near Lake Crescent first night. Ruby Beach and Hoh rainforest (camped there) second day. And drove to Portland third day. It was an amazing trip but rushed.
2. Hiking near Portland was fantastic. Definitely hike up Multnomah and lower oneonta gorge falls (a pinterest-perfect moss-covered slot canyon- the trail is the creek bed. So if you decide to skip the OP this time around, the Columbia gorge won't disappoint.
3. If you end up driving between portland and Seattle - stop at Mt. rainier national park. Great hikes, so many micro climates and ecosystem. Fantastic wildlife and hikes

Have fun! Sounds like a great trip
marissakayv is offline  
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May 23rd, 2017, 01:14 PM
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marissakayv--Oneonta Falls is closed as of earlier this month due to flash flood conditions. Not sure how long the closure will last, but something upcoming visitors should be aware of.
mms is offline  
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May 23rd, 2017, 03:32 PM
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>>so just going by Google maps…<<

They are notorious for being overly optimistic w/ drive times . . .
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