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3 Day Itinerary Portland Area - Coast, Gorge, Redwoods?

3 Day Itinerary Portland Area - Coast, Gorge, Redwoods?

Aug 13th, 2015, 08:52 PM
  #1  
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3 Day Itinerary Portland Area - Coast, Gorge, Redwoods?

My first trip to the area has come up rather suddenly. I'll be traveling solo, flying into Portland on Tuesday morning and out of Portland on Friday morning, so Friday is just a travel day. I will have a rental car for the duration of my trip. I've pored over the this forum for itinerary ideas and places of interest. Everything sounds so appealing and it's hard to narrow down points of interest. I love easy to moderate forest hikes, waterfalls, local restaurants, architecture.

Would it be too much to drive to Northern CA via Gold Beach (with a side trip up the Rogue River) to see the redwoods, then make my way back via Columbia River Gorge (with time to hike and see some waterfalls) somehow? Or would I be better off nixing Gold Beach and the redwoods and doing an itinerary that would include Columbia River Gorge, Portland, and the north coastline (or vice versa)?

Of course, I'd like to see as much as possible, without a lot of backtracking. Any suggestions are very much appreciated!!
rhc143 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2015, 10:04 PM
  #2  
 
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So you have 3 nights, am I right?? That's honestly not enough time for even the second option, but it would be doable. Redwoods definitely are not.

A possible itinerary: land on Tuesday. Get your rental car. Drive directly to Cannon Beach and stay the night- make the most of your afternoon and evening. Wednesday morning: grab an early breakfast and head to Ecola State Park if you want to do some hiking. Then drive up the coast until Astoria. Head east in from Astoria along the river. Spend the night in Hood River or the Dalles (hood river if you prefer charm and cuisine, Dalles if you like burgers and cheaper accommodations.)

Thursday Morning: get up early. Grab bite to eat. Head west towards Portland. You can stop at numerous places along the gorge, but my favorite place (where I would want to start fresh before the heat) is Multnomah Falls. You can hike to the top or just to the midway bridge- the higher up you go, the fewer people. The earlier start (this is the biggie) the fewer people.

Eat lunch either at the restaurant there or in Cascade Locks. (I remember that the restaurant at the falls has a killer breakfast/brunch if you are there that early).

Drive to Portland. Stay somewhere central!! That is a place to splurge on a hotel. Portland is best on foot or bike and you can probably see quite a bit in a day. I'd probably go to the rose garden and Japanese garden if you get there early enough- then check into your hotel, pick a neighborhood and go exploring. Hit a food truck pod or brewery for dinner. Then if you have any interest in books at all, walk to Powells books and hang out til closing (probably 10 or 11). Go back to hotel and sleep (or party on if that's your thing). Fly out Friday.

Astoria: Peter iredale wreck in fort Stevens state park and the maritime museum are both worthy of a stop if you don't feel like hiking at Ecola.

The falls: I can't emphasize enough that you want to get there early, early, early!

Portland: is a weird town. A great place to hang out- but not somewhere that I think has a list of must sees/dos. Voodoo donuts is 24/7 and most tourists consider that a must do, but I prefer Blue Star Donuts. If you like to shop- I love Paxton Gate. My favorite shopping "neighborhood" is probably northwest /alphabet.

Keep in mind that everything depends on hotel reservations. Do you mean next week?? Because I can tell you it's going to be pricy and it may be impossible to get rooms in the Gorge or CB depending on what is happening. You don't mention budget- but if you have a limited budget and this is this coming week, I'd almost recommend staying somewhere budget friendly in Portland and doing a day trip to either the coast OR the falls and Gorge- but not both. Good luck!
marvelousmouse is offline  
Aug 14th, 2015, 06:16 AM
  #3  
 
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Everything sounds so appealing and it's hard to narrow down points of interest.

Oregon's main attractions are the Columbia River Gorge (with waterfalls), the coast, and Crater Lake. There is much else of interest in Oregon including some redwoods, but the iconic redwood groves are in California.

Considering your limited time, you would be wise to narrow your focus to the Columbia River Gorge and the coast from Cannon Beach to Florence. That is plenty--more than enough. Really.

HTtY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Aug 14th, 2015, 11:32 AM
  #4  
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First of all, thank you so much for the advice. Yes, marvelousmouse, it is next week! I am checking into some airbnbs, etc, for lodging since my budget is somewhat limited. Your first itinerary sounds like a great option, so now I can focus on getting places to stay. I can't wait!
rhc143 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2015, 11:51 AM
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Glad I could help, good luck!
If you make it as far as the dalles and you like burgers, big jim's is a longtime favorite that is budget friendly.

No idea when low tide is, but find out and try to hit Haystack Rock in CB around then. Best part of the north coast!
marvelousmouse is offline  
Aug 14th, 2015, 01:52 PM
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Astoria is a interesting enough town, but the drive from Canon Beach to Astoria and then from Astoria to Portland on Highway 30 is not very interesting. On a map it may seem that you would have great views of the Columbia River, but you won't.

Hood River is a fun and happening place, but The Dalles isn't. Full Sail Brewing Company is there, Solstice Wood Fire Cafe turns out delicious food at good prices, and there are many other options in Hood River's compact downtown.

I doubt you will be able to resist the temptation to stop at Multnomah Falls, which you will pass as you drive from Portland to Hood River.

Considering your concern about the cost of housing, Edgefield Inn in Troutdale might appeal to you: http://www.mcmenamins.com/Edgefield

HTtY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Aug 14th, 2015, 02:18 PM
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Check out the Travel Portland website for lodging options. You can call and talk to a real person as well.
sunbum1944 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2015, 07:17 PM
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Such great feedback!!

I found lodging through airbnb in Astoria (Tues), Hood River (Wed), and Portland (Thurs). All are simple rooms, and had good reviews. That leaves more money for food!!! I can't wait to try some local places.

Also, I would love your impressions of this route that would make a big loop - my thought is that I would do very little backtracking and see more. Should I go to Mt St Helens or would that be too much to take on as I will be driving from Astoria to Hood River that day?

Here's the route on google maps:

https://goo.gl/maps/sVK5I

This is going to be so much fun!!
rhc143 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2015, 08:40 PM
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First- how did you do the route like that? I know it's possible but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to map out a multi leg journey like that!!

Second: itinerary depends completely on what you choose to make a priority. I'd really rather go hiking at Ecola and explore Astoria than go to Mt. St. Helens. I'd rather hike more than drive. But you also may want to play it by ear- weather forecast for Wednesday in Astoria is rain. That could mean just about anything this time of year. ST. Helens forecast is 89 on Tuesday (too hot) and 81 on Wednesday (probably tolerable). This is one of the gray areas for me when it comes to the forums, honestly- people tend to like set in stone plans but I've vacationed on the Oregon coast for decades and we've always just played it by ear. "Always layer, always have a backup plan just in case" is really the best advice for this area. But I realize that's not what you want to hear if this is a short trip to a new place you may not have a chance to visit again. If it helps- this has been an unfortunately sunny and dry year for the whole area. Most likely you won't need a backup plan.

(Also I5 is not scenic- and there is literally nothing in Longview other than a squirrel bridge crafted out of firehose. Seriously, that's their claim to fame lol. I seem to remember a somewhat terrifying giant squirrel carving in the park- worth checking out if you are passing through)
marvelousmouse is offline  
Aug 14th, 2015, 09:01 PM
  #10  
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marvelousmouse -

First: hahahaha!! It was quite by fluke that I discovered how to do the route! Matter of fact, I had to go back and see what I did so I could tell you...
Once you open Google Maps, there is a blue arrow icon on the upper right of the tool bar. Click it and it will allow you to add locations and map directions for you.

Second: Are you kidding me that the weather might not cooperate with my plans???? Seriously, though, you are right and I'm trying to leave as much as possible open-ended, so I will just go with the flow.

I appreciate your candor about Ecola/Astoria vs Mt St Helens. I think I will see how the time goes and what appeals to me at the moment. Also, not too worried about part of the drive not being scenic, if it pays out on the drive to and from Mt St Helens (even if I don't stop).

I'll look out for the giant squirrel!
rhc143 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2015, 09:19 PM
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Hm. Are you on a desk top or mobile? Do I need to sign in?? I can figure out how to input a destination but not how to put in another leg of the trip. Now I'm curious...my smartphone shall not beat me!


I know, right, how dare I shatter your preconceived notion that Mother Nature bows to us puny mortals! seriously, though, going with the flow is the best way to experience Oregon! no wrong choices...unless of course you choose to stay in your hotel room and complain about the weather! You need to come out among we restless natives and kvetch with us lol!
marvelousmouse is offline  
Aug 15th, 2015, 04:48 PM
  #12  
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I'm on a laptop, not mobile, but didn't need to sign in. It just opened up a new address block automatically.

LOL!! There will be very little time spent inside this trip!
rhc143 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2015, 06:31 PM
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Please give us a report on your trip. Have fun.

HTtY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 02:07 PM
  #14  
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I'm back from my amazing 3 day trip to Oregon (and southern Washington)!

Thank you HTtY, marvelousmouse, and sunbum1944 for all the fantastic advice!

Landed in Portland about 1 pm on Tuesday, after a pit stop at ByWays Cafe (downtown, delicious), I headed west on 26 to Cannon Beach with it's amazing haystack rocks, which are so much bigger in person, and Ecola State Park. The drive from the entrance of Ecola to Indian Beach is idyllic - lush forest opening up to the Pacific Ocean and a crescent beach with rocks ranging in size from pebble to house. The trails at Ecola lead to more beautiful views overlooking the Pacific. I headed up the coast to stay in Astoria for the night and was not disappointed - it's a charming little town. I had breakfast with the sea lions at Pier 39 - at the coffee girl - it used to a Bumble Bee Cannery and now houses a couple of pubs and shops. Cross the rickety bridge to get to it!

Day Two took me up to Mt St Helens via 30 east, since I wanted to backtrack as little as possible. If you decide to go to MSH Park be sure you plenty of water, as the closest place to pit stop from this direction is Cougar - an intersection with 3 convenience stores, quite a ways from the park entrance and hiking. Also, make sure you have a paper map or map downloaded on your phone as there is no service in the area. An angel ranger came to my rescue with directions that kept me going on my loop course without having to backtrack to Cougar and the map they have posted. Lava Canyon is so worth the drive. I did the easy/moderate hiking loop with a small bit of the difficult trail, which is a downstream route. I met people coming upstream on the difficult portion and they told me their route was pretty challenging. After leaving MSH Park, I headed out following the ranger's directions and stopped whenever I saw a trail that looked interesting. I made my way to Hood River across the Hood River bridge and stayed there for the night. If you go, have breakfast at Bette's! Yummy!

Day Three was spent hiking various trails in the magnificent Columbia River Gorge area on Historical Hwy 30. My big accomplishment was completing a loop that took me from Horsetail Falls, up to Upper Horsetail Falls, even further up to Triple Falls, then back down to climb the logs and explore Oneonta Gorge!! Walking back to my car at Horsetail Falls, I continued west to stop at Multnomah Falls (beyond words amazing) and a few more waterfalls before getting on 84 to have a lovely dinner and spend the night in Portland.

I am so glad I had this adventure. I met so many kind and wonderful Oregonians, and experienced just about the best scenery nature has to offer.

Can't wait to come back!
rhc143 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 08:09 PM
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It sounds like a fantastic trip! So glad you enjoyed Oregon
marvelousmouse is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2015, 08:09 PM
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Thanks for the report.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
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