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Ranarama Jun 13th, 2019 12:43 PM

A few days free in Oregon
I have another work trip coming up that means I have a few days to explore Oregon before starting work. I arrive in Portland on a Monday in a few weeks time about 4pm, I need to be back in Portland by Thursday evening so thought Iíd head to Crater Lake.

My thought are that Iíll arrive too late to drive to Crater Lake and wonít really fancy it anyway after 12 hours on a plane. So, I was thinking stay Monday night maybe an hour out of Portland (Mt Hood area?) explore there Tuesday then drive to Chemult (I have a provisional booking at a hotel for Tue/Wed) explore Crater Lake on Wednesday. Drive back to Portland on Thursday morning via Eugene (is it worth stopping there?) and explore Portland on Thursday afternoon.

Does this sound like a sensible plan? Itís a shame to miss the coast but I think it would be too far out of my way to go there?

mms Jun 13th, 2019 01:50 PM

That looks like a good plan. I would not stop in Eugene though. Instead I would stop along the way at various scenic areas. The old McKenzie highway (242) is really pretty and the Dee Wright Observatory is very interesting. You could also head up 126 to Sahalie Falls for a bit and that isn't too far out of your way or you could continue up and take 20 the rest of the way over to I-5.

tomfuller Jun 13th, 2019 05:20 PM

The north entrance of Crater Lake NP off 138 is only 90 miles from the south end of Bend. Staying anywhere south of Bend (LaPine, Crescent, Chemult) only gives you a few more minutes inside the National Park.
If you don't want to spend the night in Portland after you land, head east on I-84 and spend the night in Hood River. Leave Hood River on Rt. 35 on the east side of Mt. Hood to get to US 26 to Madras and US 97 south to Bend and points south.
The Dee Wright Observatory is very interesting but I favor a stop at the High Desert Museum south of Bend. They have a great theme this summer - Water in the High Desert.
Save the beautiful Oregon coast for another trip when you can spend more time. If you do want to go over Rt. 242 take US 20 west out of Bend to Sisters. Rt. 242 turns off US 20 at the west end of Sisters. The Observatory was constructed by the CCC's in the 1930's.

sunbum1944 Jun 13th, 2019 06:45 PM

Or 138 between Crater Lake and Roseburg is very scenic. There are many waterfalls- some just a few yards from the parking lot, some a couple of miles. Watson Falls and Susan Falls are a couple of favorites but there are many of them. We have stayed at the Dogwood Motel in that area- rustic but clean and it has a kitchen in the unit. A nice stop along the way is Steamboat Springs Inn- beautiful grounds and nice restaurant. Nice spot along the river.
I would visit Bend rather than Eugene. Much more to see and do. Look for the Old Mill area with many restaurants along the river and also a nice river walk.

The Old McKenzie Highway is beautiful but lots of twists and turns and slow driving. You could stop at Clear Lake along the McKenzie Highway- even rent a kayak on a beautiful lake with no motorboats and snow capped mountain in the distance.


Gardyloo Jun 14th, 2019 06:41 AM

"...after 12 hours on a plane..."

Can I ask where you're coming from? Sounds like Europe or Asia. I'd probably limit my driving after that long a time in metal tubes, just for safety's sake.

How long will you be in Portland after you return from your road trip? Will you have any free days or evenings? A car? The reason for asking is that PDX airport is very close to the western edge of the waterfall zone along the Historic Columbia River Highway, but visiting one or more of the waterfalls on your arrival day might mean you'd have to hurry a bit to avoid fatigue. It's also a rather slow and twisty road. You could, however, aim for overnight at Hood River, and maybe just stop briefly at Multnomah Falls, the best-known and most easily accessed (from the I-84 freeway) of the many waterfalls.

Hood River is a very nice town, full of nice cafes, craft beer, wineries etc. Then the next day head south through the Hood River Valley (stop briefly at Panorama Point, just south of Hood River) and past Mt. Hood along the route Tom Fuller describes above. If you have the full day available, you could stop briefly at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood, but definitely plan a (longer) stop at spectacular Smith Rock State Park, just north of Redmond. Map -

(Not my pictures) Multnomah Falls -

Panorama Point

Smith Rock State Park

Ranarama Jun 14th, 2019 12:52 PM

Gardyloo, yes I’m flying in from Japan via LA, land about 3pm.

I’ve decided to go with tomfuller’s suggestion about Bend. Looks a really interesting town and a good base so I’m staying there for 3 nights then heading back to Portland. I’ll have 4 nights in Portland and enough time around work to explore so I think I’m sorted.

Thanks for the help, I’m going to look into the observatory and various drives everyone’s suggested.

Ranarama Jul 10th, 2019 10:20 PM

Just an update on this. I ended up having a delayed flight so drove straight from PDX to Bend. Yesterday I walked the Green Lakes Trail which was stunning, then spent a couple of hours at the High Desert Museum and could probably have done with another hour there before they closed.

Today I got up early and went to Crater Lake and drove back on a slightly circuitous but very worthwhile route along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway.

Tomorrow I’m planning to go to the Smith Rock state park on the way back to Portland. I’m staying in Vancouver so if I get there in time I thought I might go to the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (I could do this on Monday before my flight though) as I can walk there in 15 minutes from the hotel. Otherwise it’s a detour via Panoramic Point or drive to downtown Portland. Thanks for all the suggestions.

I was hoping to go to downtown Portland but it looks like it’s not easy on public transport?

tomfuller Jul 11th, 2019 03:42 PM

Did you get the chance to see the new exhibit at the High Desert Museum about the moon? Most people know about the rocks that were brought back from the moon to the earth. Astronaut James Irwin left a basalt rock from Deschutes County Oregon on the moon. Astronauts in 1966 and 1968 trained to walk on the moon in lava fields in central Oregon.
The public transport between PDX and downtown Portland is the TriMet red line (light rail). For $5/ day per person for the whole TriMet system, it is a bargain. The east end of the red line is right outside baggage claim at PDX.

5alive Jul 13th, 2019 10:17 AM

Originally Posted by Ranarama (Post 16951317)
I was hoping to go to downtown Portland but it looks like itís not easy on public transport?

If you are staying in Vancouver, then yes, it's more challenging. Take a look at the C-Tran site for the buses that go downtown or to the airport.
You can also open the Google Maps app and switch to the bus icon (from the car icon) and see what Google advises.

Mass transit from the airport to downtown or all over the rest of the Portland Metro area is quite good.

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