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Oregon Coast, Portland & Hood River, Crater Lake, Redwood Nat'l Park,

Oregon Coast, Portland & Hood River, Crater Lake, Redwood Nat'l Park,

Old Jan 29th, 2007, 10:16 AM
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Oregon Coast, Portland & Hood River, Crater Lake, Redwood Nat'l Park,

Hi everyone!

I think i've read jsut about every existing post of amazing info from the PNW resident experts and those who posted trip reports. We're super excited to explore this area but am uncertain in which order to do it ~ can you please help?

We will be coming in from the east on I 84 and wondered in which direction you would recommend going from there ~

Option 1 ~ Hood River south on Rt. 97 thru Bend, Crater Lake, Redwood Nat'l Park, then up the Coast to Portland and back east

Option 2 ~ Hood River / Timberline Lodge thru Portland, down the coast to Redwood NP, to Crater Lake thru Bend thru Biggs (bridge to WA/view etc) then east on I 84

We've never seen the oregon coast or portland but have explored Crater Lake and Redwood NP on previous trips so plan only one or two nights there. We've also explored Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier and Olympic NP so want to focus prmiarily on the coast.

Thank you so much in advance for any and all feedback ~ its greatly appreciated.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 10:27 AM
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If you go down Rt. 101 north to south it's easier to turn off and get back on the highway at the many scenic parks, etc that you'll want to stop at along the way. So that would mean Option 2.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 10:34 AM
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Hi Ellen,

I'd suggest option 2, simply because driving north to south along the coast, it's easier to pull off at the countless roadside parks and viewpoints.

Is there a reason you've not programmed the Columbia River gorge between Hood River and Portland into the itinerary? That's the best part of it. Since you'll have already seen Mt. Hood, consider taking hwy 20 from Bend through Sisters to Salem and Portland. There's some great scenery along this route, and a few places you'd enjoy spending time. THEN, head east on I-84.

Nice itinerary, though!
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 10:37 AM
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I would modify option 2 to cross to the Washington side at Hood River, and follow the road all the way to Ilwaco (WA side drive on the lower Columbia is very scenic) then cross the bridge to Astoria and down the coast from there. Coming back, swing inland (US199) to Grants Pass and over to Crater Lake, then up 97 to I-84, then into Portland. Only a slight double-back at the end.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 10:58 AM
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I agree with NWWanderer and beachbum.

Head south on 101 and stop where you please along the way. It is a beautiful drive!

The Gorge on the Oregon side is truly spectacular. Take the scenic highway and stop at several of the waterfalls along the way. If you like to hike there are numerous places for you to do so. The view from Crown Point is incredible.

Enjoy!
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 11:28 AM
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I like Gardyloo's idea, the scenery around the Astoria area is gorgeous. We have a home in Astoria and enjoy spending time in this area, very pretty.

Enjoy your trip! ***kim***
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 11:31 AM
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 01:22 PM
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We did your Option 1, and it worked for us. Keep in mind that the drive to Crater Lake, from Crater Lake to the coast, and along 101 is slow going.

Since you've already been to Crater Lake, you may want to give it a pass unless you have loads of time.

I like to drive along the Columbia River on the Washington side from Maryhill to Vancouver.

The problem with driving the Oregon coast going south is that you'll have the sun in your eyes the whole way (if you're lucky enough to get sun).
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 02:29 PM
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Hmmm... happytrails, the sun sets rises in the east and sets in the west so the sun won't really be in their eyes the entire way. ;-)
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 03:47 PM
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I agree with beachbum and NWwanderer, because that is what we did..although Gardyloo always has good advice too Except I would skip Astoria.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 03:50 PM
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Good idea. Travel at sunrise and sunset. Thanks for the tip.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 04:17 PM
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I'm no huge fan of Astoria, unless one wants to make pilgrimage to filming locations for Goonies or Short Circuit uh... er... no...

However I think the lower Columbia is way cool and the bridge over the river mouth is one of the wonders of the west (that is one big water.)

Coming back into PDX from US 97 is only an hour or so, and the Oregon side of the Gorge can then be explored at more leisure, possibly fortified afterward by a pint or twa of Hammerhead from the Edgefield.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 07:42 PM
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You guys are great! Thank you ALL so very much for the feedback!

Beachbum - I actually do plan to explore Columbia River gorge. Its somewhere within the 4 pages of copied/pasted notes I'm thinking it will be one of our first stops (after craters of the moon np)

Also, you suggested taking hwy 20 from Bend through Sisters to Salem and Portland and a few places we'd enjoy; can you be more specific?

Gardyloo - approx how much time should we allow (without photo stops, which i would imagine would be many?) from where we'll cross into Washington at Hood River, to Ilwaco and the bridge to Astoria? Is that considered one of those destinations in and of itself? (like hwy 12 in utah?)

And yes, in my 4 pages of notes, i've noted the Edgefield (as well as the other McMenamin locations) Is hammerhead a local brew, yum! Do you think thats the best place to stay for exploring the gorge and falls area?

Again, THANK YOU ALL so much for your help!
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 07:47 AM
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Aahhh... so you're doing the gorge during your stay in Portland. If you like funky, Edgefield is a good place to stay. but downtown Portland is less than 30 minutes away, and you'd have obviously have a lot more options there.

Hwy 20 from Bend... First, you'll love the views of the Three Sisters. And the town of Sisters itself is worth a stop, sort of a Cannon Beach cutesy western town. If you've got time, take a detour from Sisters on hwy 242 up to Dee Wright Observatory at the summit of McKenzie Pass; pretty cool.

15 miles or so outside of Sisters on hwy 20 is the turn-off to Camp Sherman and the Metolius River. I just love this area. Visit the head of the river, where it literally bubbles up from underground, then to the fish hatchery, downriver 5 miles or so. Wizard Falls, at the bridge crossing into the hatchery is just beautiful. On your way back out to the highway, stop at the Camp Sherman General Store to poke around a bit; everything from gourmet french cheeses to $5,000 fly fishing rods.

Heading up over Santiam Pass you'll again be afforded some great views: Mts. Jefferson, Washington, Three Fingered Jack. Then take another detour about 20 miles east of Salem to Silver Falls State Park. Ho hum... just 10 more spectacular waterfalls. ;-)

How much time do you need for this? You'd enjoy the views just driving straight through, which would take about 3.5 hours. But, a week would be better. ;-)

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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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...approx how much time should we allow (without photo stops, which i would imagine would be many?) from where we'll cross into Washington at Hood River, to Ilwaco and the bridge to Astoria? Is that considered one of those destinations in and of itself? (like hwy 12 in utah?)

There are really two sections that are interesting IMO - the first is on WA SR14 between Maryhill (where US 97 intersects) and around Camas. In that stretch is the Maryhill Museum (a must-stop IMO) - http://www.maryhillmuseum.org/ and (just the other side of US 97) the replica of Stonehenge that's pretty interesting. The view of the Columbia Gorge from the WA side of the river is very interesting, and is not damaged by a freeway in your face. Plus you can usually get good views of Mt. Hood from that side, which you can't get from the Oregon side as the bluffs intervene.

Then SR 14 hits I-5 at Vancouver, and you can hop on the freeway up to the Longview/SR 4 exit. Then the stretch of SR 4 out to the river mouth is the second scenic stretch - interesting little towns like Cathlamet, go out onto Puget Island in the river, or watch the fisherpersons from the shore going after salmon or sturgeon - quite enjoyable (or I think so.)

Ilwaco is a little fishing port that is quite different from the touristy stuff around Cannon Beach or farther south in Oregon. I happen to like it, and the nearby Cape Disappointment State Park is a real gem - big sea rocks, cute lighthouse, beachcoming... Plus, to the north is the Long Beach Peninsula, with Long Beach (a bit like Seaside in Oregon but funkier) and farther up the peninsula, the very interesting historic village of Oysterville, and also the best restaurant on the Pacific NW coast, the Ark in Nahcotta - http://www.arkrestaurant.com/ - which is under new ownership but still getting Zagat's attention evidently.

Anyway, that's a long way of saying, around 5 hours. Or more, depending on how many times you stop etc. It's an easy day's drive, and if you want you can just enjoy the ride, turn left at 101, cross the bridge into Astoria, and be in Cannon Beach for dinnertime. The carved seagull and pottery sellers will welcome you.
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 09:05 AM
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If you want to spend some time in Astoria, there is much to keep you busy for awhile. The drive up Coxcomb Hill to the Astor Column, the Maritime Museum, the Flavel House and Fort Clatsop are all very interesting Astoria attractions. There is also a cool little Riverfront Trolley that runs along the Columbia River that is narrated and lots of fun. You can stop at the Wet Dog Cafe, the Cannery Cafe or the Ship Inn for a meal, they are all on the trolley stop.

If you like to wine taste, Astoria has a few places we enjoy. The Cellar on 10th, the Shallon Winery (complimentary) and the Vintner's Room at the Hotel Elliott. We like to take our tasting up to the rooftop garden and take in the stunning views of the surrounding area here. There are also some nice little shops in Astoria and a full service spa, the Columbia River Day Spa where we like to go for spa treatments. oldoregondotcom for more info on Astoria! ***kim***
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 10:57 AM
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Just to add to Gardyloo's most excellent advice, if you go to Cape Disappointment State Park, don't miss the interpretive center. In itself, interesting enough, and it's situated on a cliff with a commanding view of the mouth of the Columbia.

If for no other reason, stop in Astoria to visit Josephson's Smokehouse, the bestest ;-) place along your itinerary for smoked seafood. You'll be carry a cooler, right?
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 12:55 PM
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Yes, Gardyloo does have excellent advice!
beachbum, I have a photo here by my desk of the most beautiful shot of Cape Disappointment Lighthouse from the water...sooo beautiful!
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 01:13 PM
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Ellen, I believe you will find that the drive on WA 14 from Maryhill to Vancouver and then to Cannon Beach via Longview, Ilwaco, and Astoria requires six hours of driving.

The drive on WA 14 from Maryhill to Vancouver and then to Cannon Beach via OR-26 takes about four hours.

Happy Trails to You
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 02:41 PM
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Hey guys, thanks for your lastest posts. Life, and a recent death in the extended family, has kept me away but now i'm even more excited than ever to plan this trip.

Hope you can help with the next question
I've assembled and contacted many great oceanfront places on the oregon coast, but all of them require 2-3 nights. While we can do 2 nights, we'd rather spend 1-2 nights in 4-5 places, such as cannon beach, newport, around oregon dunes, then bandon ...or wherever you might recommend. This is an exploring / site-seeing type trip and not lounging around a resort (which we do love also) so while a balcony overlooking the ocean is ideal, its not really necessary.

So can anyone recommend places that might be considered 'hidden treasures' because they have location and amenities, altho not fully oceanfront? Like across the street, or adjacent, within an easy walk to the oceanfront and / or other things?

Thanks for any feedback.
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