6 days in seattle area

Dec 31st, 2004, 02:44 PM
  #1  
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6 days in seattle area

My husband and I are planning about a week in the seattle area. We are from chicago and look foward to the scenery, hiking (maybe even some golf). I have been reading a lot of your posts and have decided that we want to see some of ONP - (cresent lake and hurricane ridge) and the columbia river gorge. My question is, if we fly into Seattle, and spend 2 nights in ONP, do we have enough time to spend another couple of nights at the Columbia River Gorge area and Mt. Ranier also? or is it fitting in too much. We don't love to drive long distances. How much driving does it involve--and what is the best itinerary? Mt. Ranier and the gorge before OMP or the opposite? If we decide to cut out one of the places, which would you suggest? Are any two similar enough?
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Jan 1st, 2005, 08:02 AM
  #2  
lovingheart
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If you don't like to drive long distances, I suggest you spend your time in Seattle, The Olympic Penninsula, and Victora, BC--which you can access by ferry from Port Angeles.
 
Jan 1st, 2005, 10:49 AM
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What you describe is possible but will involve quite a bit of driving. Sorry, don't know off the top of my head exactly how much, or what your limit is when you say you don't <love to drive long distances>. 2 hours, 6 hours? Are you planning to spend time in Seattle, or take off in a rental car immediately from the airport?

Susan in Seattle
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Jan 1st, 2005, 12:40 PM
  #4  
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re: driving- how long is the trip from seattle to Cresent Lake? seattle to Mt. Ranier? from Mt. Ranier to the Columbia River gorge? I know we'll have to do some driving, but we're probably not up for more than 4 hours in any one day. It's hard to tell on a map--what might look like 60 miles (45 min. in chicagoon expressways) can take much longer, i'm sure in different terrains.
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Jan 1st, 2005, 04:11 PM
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Skip the gorge. The closest part is at least a 3 and a half hour drive one way from Seattle, and while it's pretty, it's not as spectacular as ONP or Mt. Rainier. Maybe that should be another Portland based trip.

Do ONP if you want a variety of beautiful terrain-rainforest, ocean beaches, mountains, and ferry rides on the way. It will take about 3-4 hours to get to Hurricane Ridge, but since part of that is a ferry ride (and waiting for the ferry), it isn't all driving. It will be 5 hours to the coast, but the easy hike from Lake Ozette to the beach is amazing. There are some very pretty saltwater beaches/parks somewhat along the way to ONP (such as Fort Warden or Fort Flagler State Parks), if you don't want to drive all the way to the ocean. You didn't say what time of year you will be visiting. ONP would be my recommendation if you are coming before mid-July, since parts of the park will NOT still be under snow, as most of Rainier will be. Also, ONP is a decent bet even in cloudy weather, since you will still be able to see the ocean/rainforest if it's cloudy (unlike Rainier, which disappears completely in cloudy weather). You could take the ferry from Pt. Townsend to Whidbey Island and return to Seattle that way on the way back, if you wanted additional saltwater beach visits (ie Ebey's Landing or South Whidbey State Park).

That said, Rainier is spectacular and you must go if you can. Before mid July the trails are under snow, and only one visitor's center (Paradise) is open. If you are coming earlier and have a day with good weather, you could still do a day trip to Paradise from Seattle (2.5 hours each way). There won't be much to do but take in the view once you get there (too much snow for hiking, too slushy for snowshoeing), but it is worth the trip. Hopefully you are coming after mid-July-By late july/early August the wildflowers are incredible. Do the whole highway loop around the park. If you want some hiking tips-how to avoid crowds, etc-post again and I'll let you know.
I think it's very feasible to spend a couple nights in Seattle, a couple near ONP and then drive down Hwy 101 to Olympia and over to Rainier if you want to avoid waiting for the ferries back to Seattle.

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Jan 1st, 2005, 04:12 PM
  #6  
lovingheart
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To find driving information, go to maps.yahoo.com and click "Driving Directions."

We have many scenic drives out here, but the drive to Mt. Rainier isn't one of them. The drive to the Columbia River Gorge is scenic via Snoqualmie Pass, Yakima, the Simcoe Mountains, and Goldendale, but the fast way straight down I-5 is not very scenic, and so on.
 
Jan 2nd, 2005, 10:40 AM
  #7  
 
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Not because it is similar to other places, but because it is the most out of your way, I'd cut the Gorge.

Also I would suggest using ferries,as others have already mentioned, for some parts of the trip, to cut your driving time (you drive your car onto the ferry then can get out and walk around the boat - big fun!).
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Jan 2nd, 2005, 11:34 AM
  #8  
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thanks for the good information. what can really ruin a great trip is trying to fit so much in, you don't really enjoy what you have. If we go there, I think I will make it two separate trips.
catherinee is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2005, 01:13 PM
  #9  
 
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Seattle to Lake Crescent is about 3-4 hours, including ferry waiting and ferry time. Once you get to the ONP, it's all pretty, and you can stop for a meal in Port Townsend or Port Angeles. Lake Crescent is just lovely - enjoy!
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Jan 2nd, 2005, 01:55 PM
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One more question I forgot to ask--is there anything wrong with making the trip in mid june? more rain than usual?
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Jan 2nd, 2005, 03:22 PM
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Let me make a modest suggestion. See if you can turn your trip into an open-jaw. Fly into Portland, out of Seattle, or v.v.

If you do, you can easily start at the Gorge (PDX is, for all intents and purposes, at the west edge of the Gorge.) One or two nights at McMenamin's Edgefield (www.mcmenamins.com) is plenty of time to visit the gorge, even to visit Mt. Hood (not a bad substitution for Rainier really). Then head east through the Gorge to US 97, north through the Yakama Reservation (beautiful "old west" country, best in June) then west on US 12 to Mt. Rainier. Then continue west on US 12 to the coast, around the Olympic Peninsula over a couple of days, to Seattle and fly home. One or two nights at the gorge, one around Rainier, then the rest out at the coast. IMO it's doable, but not very convenient starting in either Seattle or Portland, but more convenient making it a one-way drive.

June will still be pretty early at high altitudes on Rainier, Hood or Hurricane Ridge; possibly foggy/cloudy weather.
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Jan 2nd, 2005, 06:12 PM
  #12  
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thanks for the advice. I've never booked an open jaw itinerary, but it does make a lot of sense.
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Jan 3rd, 2005, 03:54 PM
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If you're going to Mt. Hood, you Have to spend a night at Timberline Lodge. It's absolutely unique and fabulous, and blows Paradise Lodge on Rainier out the door (Paradise lodge is a big dissappointment).
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