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Oregon Coast, Columbia River and Mt. Hood for fall

Oregon Coast, Columbia River and Mt. Hood for fall

Aug 31st, 2012, 12:55 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 3
Oregon Coast, Columbia River and Mt. Hood for fall

Hi everyone,
I'm starting to plan my vacation for next fall, and I'm hoping to do 8 days (Sat - Sat) flying into/out of Portland.
I've already got an itinerary in the works (below), but I'm very flexible at this moment. I'm hoping to get some input as to places along my route that I can/should visit. My husband and I are both amatuer photographers and he is an avid model train buff.
These are a few questions I have:
1. Is it better to go north or south on the coast (I may have to switch everything around and go the other way as right now I'm going south)
2. I'm on a definite budget, so I can't splurge too much. Are there nice hotel/B&Bs out there along my route that are around $100/night or less? I've already listed a couple that I definitely want to stay at.
3. My hubby isn't into seafood, but we like finding unique places to eat GOOD food.
I'm thinking about getting there the last weekend in Sept to take advantage of the lower rates in October.
Also, questions for any photographers in the area...
I've seen pictures of Mt Hood seen with the Milky Way in the sky or an aurora borealis, are these normal things to see on clear, moonless nights? Another reason for going when I am is because that's when the moon will be nearing it's new moon phase.
I'm sure I'll have lots of other questions as I start receiving posts... so fire away!!!
... and thanks ahead of time!

Day 1
Tampa to Portland
Drive north via I-5 to Kelso
In Kelso, take Ocean Beach Hwy West to Cathlamet
In Cathlamet, take 409 down to Ferry to cross to Westport, OR
Take E Columbia River Hwy (I-30) to Astoria
Stay in Astoria at hotel

Day 2
Visit Astoria
Around midday head south on 101 (Oregon Coast Hwy)
Stop in Seaside for lunch
Visit Ecola State Park
Visit Cannon Beach / Haystack Rock / Tide pools
Head south to Tillamook
Maybe check out the aircraft museum

Day 3
Take the Three Capes Scenic Loop
Visit Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda
Lunch in Lincoln City
Head to Depoe Bay (World’s smallest harbor and waterspout on rocky beach)
Stay at Depoe Bay at the Inn at Arch Rock

Day 4
Head south to Cape Perpetua Visitor Center
Head to Reedsport to the Oregon Dunes National Rec Area to ride the Dunes!
Head east along the Umpqua Hwy (38) to Hwy 5 Pacific Hwy
Head north to Springfield
Corvallis Society of Model Engineers (7155 Ne Vandenburg Ave., Adair Village, Oregon)
Stay in Springfield at hotel

Day 5
Keep heading east on 126 towards Sisters. View the Sisters Moutain Range
(If not closed) Around MacKenzie Bridge State Airport, take 242 east to Sisters
Stay night in Sisters area.

Day 6
Head east to Redmond.
Take the Dalles California Hwy (97) North to Mt. Hood area
Head north to Hood river
Stay around Hood River area at hotel

Day 7 - Waterfalls
Head west to Portland
Stay night at Multnomah Falls Lodge Exit 31 on I-84

Day 8
Head into Portland
Head back to Tampa
maureenpr is offline  
Aug 31st, 2012, 02:48 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
First off, You titled/flagged this as a Trip Report. A trip report is after a trip/you give a description of places you went/saw. Editors might fix this for you-but for future reference, now you know.

Multnomah Falls Lodge-This is a gift shop/restaurant only. There is no overnight there. I guess there is only one Multnomah Falls Lodge?

Day 2-Check for Low Tides(best time to go tidepooling)

You might want to check out Mt. St. Helens too. Have a great trip!
spirobulldog is offline  
Aug 31st, 2012, 04:07 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,219
Starting from PDX - I was not even aware that there was a ferry near Kelso. I've driven US 30 a few times from Portland to Astoria. It's not a bad drive at all.
You probably will find a cheaper hotel in Astoria than at Cannon Beach. There are also a few good places in Seaside near the Prommenade. The spot where members of the "Corps of Discovery" boiled seawater to get salt to preserve their meat for the trip back east is in Seaside.
Just south of the bridge in Newport is the Oregon Coast Aquarium. You might enjoy that more than Cape Perpetua.
On Rt.38 about 5 miles east of Reedsport is the Dean's Creek Elk viewing area. Last time I went by there I saw over 40 Roosevelt Elk in 2 groups.
At the top of the McKenzie Pass (Rt. 242) make a stop at the Dee Wright Observatory. This would be the best place for seeing the northern lights if you dared to drive down to Sisters afterward. The best place in Sisters is at the east end of town the 5 Pines - http://www.fivepinelodge.com/
Even though it is a bit out of your way, I would hope you would visit Bend which is more scenic than Redmond.
Heading north on US 97 you will want to take US 26 out of Madras and at the top of the mountain, take Rt. 35 down the east side of Mt. Hood to the town of Hood River.
Take the "old" US 30 past the waterfalls instead of I-84.
Let's hope that 242 over the McKenzie pass is not closed by snow by the time you get there. You can call 511 to get road information in Oregon.
tomfuller is offline  
Aug 31st, 2012, 05:29 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,673
Welcome to the nut house, maureenpr!! We are almost neighbors - we're over more toward Orlando.

Last year we took a similar (but longer) trip. Here are a few of my thoughts:

- Astoria. A good first stop. We were only there for 1 night and since it is a long trip cross country, didn't have enough time to spend there. In retrospect, wish we had spend 2 nights. Anyway, check out Clementines B&B - it was affordable, not fancy but utterly delightful and the best breakfast of the trip. http://www.clementines-bb.com/

In addition, some of the best food we had was at the Silver Salmon Grille - you can easily split an entree or just dine off appetizers/soups/salads. By all means visit the Astoria Column. Take the circular stairs inside to the top and you might get some beautiful photos. http://www.astoriacolumn.org/

- Depoe Bay. We stayed the week at Depoe Bay at our Worldmark timeshare and loved every minute of it. Good choice for a stop.

- Bend. We carved out a night here at the urging of tomfuller and others, and it was a highlight of the trip. Our journey took us up from Crater Lake to Bend, and we explored the Obsidian Flows, Newberry Cave (lava tubes), and other volcanic features there. Mind blowing! We stayed the night at McMenamins Old St. Francis School (used to be a Catholic girl's school). http://www.mcmenamins.com/OldStFrancis Our only regret, again, is that we didn't stay 2 nights.

- Hood River. Here is where we found our historic hotel stay, the Hood River Hotel. This was a 2-night stay, but really, wished we only had spent 1 day at Hood River. After everything else, this was just too close to Portland and too... well, too. Great views, but IMO you can get those in a day..

- Multnomah Falls is on the drive from Hood River and Portland, which is a pretty short trip, actually. If you are really into hiking there are some excellent (and steep) ones near some of the falls on this drive. Otherwise, a stop to view the falls from the base will give you some wonderful views.
sludick is online now  
Aug 31st, 2012, 07:19 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 3
Thank you everyone for you input. I've got a lot of homework to do now.
Sorry about flagging this as a trip report. Hope the moderators can take it off.
maureenpr is offline  
Sep 1st, 2012, 07:31 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,374
tomfuller, you should try the ferry between Cathlamet, WA and the Oregon side some time. It costs only $3 for the car and all passengers, and it is a lovely alternative to the Longview bridge.
Bobmrg is offline  
Sep 1st, 2012, 01:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2
You will definitely want to spend as much time as possible in the Columbia Gorge--it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Hood River is spectacular with lots of great places to stay. Try the Best Western for great views, great values, and a fantastic breakfast. Drive the old Columbia Highway to see all the waterfalls, and don't miss the Fruit Loop 35-mile scenic drive in the Hood River Upper Valley. It is truly amazing.
kcobbhoodriver is offline  
Sep 1st, 2012, 05:35 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 13,177
multnomah falls is beautiful and there is a cute restaurant above the gift shop. We enjoyed our day there. I did not see a hotel attached as said above, but it is a short ride to Portland if that is your next stop.
girlonthego is online now  
Sep 1st, 2012, 08:44 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 3
I'm getting some great input, I love it, and I thank you. Are there things I shouldn't miss doing while I'm there?
Like taking the ferry and riding the dunes.
Is there something on the Columbia River around Mt. Hood?
Are there any views along the coast that are spectacular? I'm sure the whole coast is so much different than here in Florida.
Just talking about it, I start getting excited about the trip, and it's still a whole year away!!
maureenpr is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2012, 06:56 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,219
Hood River seems to be the kiteboarding capital of the US.
I have seen more than a dozen out on the Columbia River at one time. It might be a little too cold by the time you get there.
tomfuller is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 08:03 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1
I strongly suggest you visit the Warm Springs Museum (http://www.museumatwarmsprings.org/) en route from Bend to Mt. Hood, and that you not miss WPA-wonder, Timberline Lodge (www.timberlinelodge.com). Both will give you a taste of Oregon's rich history. Enjoy!
JaeH is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 11:45 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,374
I am partial to the south coast....from Port Orford to the border. Dozens of sea stacks, which you don't have in Florida.
Bobmrg is offline  
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