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philsbert1 Mar 3rd, 2008 10:45 AM

Oregon in 7-8 days
Have read some of the great posts re Oregon trips in this forum and need a little advice for our upcoming trip this July. We have from midday Wed. to the following midday Wed. to see some of the sights. I know this is very limited but we are making use of an airfare deal so we are locked in to this time-frame. We are 2 couples, late 40s to 50s primarily interested in sights, day-hikes (no camping) and wildlife. We don't want to attempt too much, but had hoped to see some of the Columbia River Gorge and Crater Lake NP as well as a little of the coast. Can this be done? We were thinking starting in Portland, working our way down through Bend to the NP and then back up the coast, with maybe even a visit to the Rogue River. Any help with locations, lodging (we don't need a 5 star resort), itinerary, or restaurants would be very much appreciated. Speaking of lodging, can one fly in at that time of the year and get nightly lodging in those areas without reservations? We thought about doing this so that we could be more flexible according to weather, but don't want to end up sleeping in the car.

NWWanderer Mar 3rd, 2008 12:24 PM

To answer your last question first, there's NO WAY I would try to vacation in Oregon in July without advance reservations, especially since there are 2 couples. Accommodations in the places you want to see are limited and get booked up in advance and I can't think of much worse than spending hours of your limited vacation time driving around looking for a place to stay rather than enjoying yourselves and seeing the things you came to OR to see. You might luck out but there's too big a chance that you won't IMO.

With your limited time and given what you want to see, I'd probably divide up your trip with 2-3 nights in Portland (doing the Gorge as a day trip from there), 2 nights in Bend, then 2-3 nights on the coast (seeing Crater Lake in the morning of a looong day going from the Bend area to the mid-coast (maybe Yachats or Newport) and then drive to PDX directly from there on the day you leave. Or you could spend one night mid-coast and 2 nights in the Cannon Beach area.

I think trying to include the Rogue would be too much--although you'd go through the Grant's Pass area on your way out to the coast but that's already going to be a long day. Where you thinking of a jet boat trip or...? Gold Beach would be too far IMO unless you want to change locations almost every night.

You could lessen the amount of driving by making Ashland or somewhere close to there your base for Crater Lake--or even somewhere closer to Grant's Pass if you do want to do something on the Rogue.

bbqboy Mar 3rd, 2008 12:45 PM

See? On this board, everybody hates the Rogue Valley. Bah! Northern Oregoners!

NWWanderer Mar 3rd, 2008 01:11 PM

I really don't hate the Rogue Valley ;-). I just don't think the OP has time for it on this trip.

And I'm a Seattle-ite so that's probably even worse on your "bah" meter, LOL.

bbqboy Mar 3rd, 2008 01:22 PM

Nah. I love Seattle. It's just that Portlanders are so earnest and self centered that they can't percieve that folks want to see the sights of the WHOLE state, not the Willamette Valley.
I'm not a Bend fan, I must admit. Makes me feel like I'm back in Phoenix. :)

philsbert1 Mar 3rd, 2008 01:35 PM

Thanks for the input. So an option would be 3 nights in Portland, 2 in Bend, one in Grant's Pass-or-Ashland as a way to see Crater Lake, and then back up the coast stopping/staying where? I suppose we could cut out Bend and just do the Gorge and the coast only with a day trip to Crater Lake? There is just so much to see. I am totally unfamiliar with Oregon so I have no idea where good spots (or spot) to stop along the coast would be. As far as the Rogue River, again I will plead ignorance as to what would be the best use of time...are the jet boat trips pretty neat? I am more of a sailor than a power-boater but my impression was they could take you to some of the best scenery.

bbqboy Mar 3rd, 2008 01:47 PM

You've got plenty of time to make a loop.
1st day: Gorge and stay in Hood River.
2nd Day: Hood River to Crater Lake, if you can get in, or stay at Prospect Hotel.
3rd day: Rogue Valley and Ashland.
4th Day:
Over to the Redwoods, then up to Gold Beach or Bandon
5th Day: Yachats and Newport
6th day: Garabaldi or Astoria
7th Day: Portland
Rough Draft, but you can scope it out.

NWWanderer Mar 3rd, 2008 01:52 PM

No, actually I was thinking Ashland /Grant's Pass area *instead* of Bend rather than in addition to. I think only spending one night on the coast would be a shame.

You can't day trip to Crater Lake from Portland if that's what you were thinking--it could be a day trip from Ashland/Grant's Pass though. Or you could see it on the way from Bend to the coast.

I haven't done the jet boat trips from Grant's Pass so can't comment on them, but the one from Gold Beach is pretty spectacular and I'm not really into power boats either. But that's a long ways down the coast and in order to do the full day trip, you'd need to spend 2 nights in the area. So in order to do that, your itinerary would have to look something like this: 2 nights in Portland (with a day trip to the Gorge), 1-2 nights near Crater Lake, then 2 nights Gold Beach and finally 1-2 nights further up the coast (to put you close enough to get to PDX on the day you fly out).

NWWanderer Mar 3rd, 2008 01:54 PM

And yes, if you're ok with moving every night you can obviously see/do more. I personally don't enjoy doing that so that's why I didn't suggest it but if you're comfortable with it then the loop bbqboy suggested is very do-able.

bbqboy Mar 3rd, 2008 01:57 PM

You can do these from Grants Pass:

sunbum1944 Mar 3rd, 2008 02:34 PM

The jet boat rides are very fun-
do the all day trip
lots of great scenery / fun times on the river and little Oregon history thrown in
we have always seen bears on the trip and eagles
Think you will enjoy

philsbert1 Mar 4th, 2008 08:59 AM

NWWanderer---I agree. We will have to scale back somehow. To bbqboy...thanks for the draft for doing the whole "circle". It looks doable but after talking with my companions, I think we would probably not want to pack up every single night (this just means we have to do multiple trips to Oregon to get the true "ambience" of the state!) ~4 or so packings and unpackings would probably be our max.

The choice of a stop in Bend was for viewing the National Volcanic Monument or viewing/hikes in the Three Sisters area. Is that a must see area or would time be better spent on the coast? From my reading about Crater Lake, a visit there won't involve too much time at the Lake itself (more the time getting there and back), so we thought we would view it on the way from Bend to Grant's Pass. We would sort of like to split our time to get some coastal viewing and some time forest/mountain viewing/hikes.

Is the Rogue River boat trip from Gold Beach significantly better than the ones that leave from Grant's Pass? It looks like the river travels through Siskiyou NF from the beach and goes through the Rogue River and Umpqua NFs on the way from Grant's Pass. Are any of those more likely to yield wildlife viewings?

I guess some of the alternatives I was thinking:
(1) 3 nights in Portland, one in Bend, one in Grant's Pass (viewing Crater Lake on the trip from Bend to Grant's Pass), and 3 on the coast
(2) 2 nights in Portland, 2 in Bend (that would require a long evening drive from Columbia River area the third evening), 1 in Grant's Pass and 3 on the coast somewhere. This may be too much time in the Bend area.
(3) 3 nights in Portland, 1 in Grant's Pass, 1 at Gold Beach, 3 at other area(s) on the coast.
(4) 3 nights in Portland, 1 at Bend, 1 at Gold Beach (viewing Crater Lake NP on a long day from Bend to Gold Beach) and then 3 nights along the coast somewhere
(5) ????

texasjo Mar 4th, 2008 09:09 AM

From our experience, I'd go counterclock-wise and drive down the coast. You could begin or end with a couple of days around Portland to take in Gorge sights. Go over to Cannon Beach for a night or two and drive down the coast. (Schooner's Cove is a great place to stay, Pig-n-Pancake or Lazy Susan for breakfast, Driftwood for steak/salmon, Fireside for chowder.) Drive down the coast as far as you like and then over to Crater Lake. Agree you need to make reservations and the sooner the better, especially CB and near NP. Have a great trip--spectacular scenery on the Oregon Coast. We can't wait to return.

NWWanderer Mar 4th, 2008 09:53 AM

Philsbert, I thought you only had 7 nights total? The alternatives you're suggesting are all 8 nights--did you change your flights?

And one night in Gold Beach will not give you enough time to do the full day trip on the Rogue, which has the best wildlife viewing. So if that's your reason for going to Gold Beach, you need to schedule 2 nights there.

Texasjo's suggestion of going south down the coast is a good one.

philsbert1 Mar 4th, 2008 10:47 AM mistake. We had initially had 8 nights (Tu-Wed) but it ended up 7 nights (Wed-Wed). That makes things tougher. We have little interest in night life or fine dining, so staying in Hood River the 1st 2 nights may make more sense than Portland, maybe? That might give us a head start to cut out Bend and go directly to Crater Lake area from there and then stay 1 night in Grant's Pass. That would leave 4 nights to split up somehow on the coast.

Our reasoning for going clockwise was that we planned on doing more hikes in the early part of the trip (Columbia River Gorge/Bend area/Crater NP) and when we get to the coast doing a little less strenuous activities/more relaxation.

Schooner's Cove looks like a great place to stay but they have a 3 night minimum at that time of year.

travelinandgolfin Mar 4th, 2008 10:54 AM

phils, pardon me for butting in, but I may be doing something similar to you.

If you stay in the Mt. Hood area overnight, what routes are you planning to take to Crater Lake then on to Grant's Pass?

You're going to do all that in one day? Thanks.

bbqboy Mar 4th, 2008 11:50 AM

I routed you to the gorge because the Airport is on the east side of Portland and puts you right there.
If you are arriving midday, you'll be getting to the coast at 5:00 or 6:00pm
at the earliest.
The cascades are all Volcanic, so take your pick of peaks to hike, if that's what interests you. I'm a lush foliage/redwoods/coast kind of guy, and not a high desert fan, so accept my predjudices.

philsbert1 Mar 4th, 2008 11:59 AM

It would be a long day with an early awakening and then OR 35 to US 26 to OR 97, then OR 138, then OR 232. AAA says it would take about 4.5 hours. From Portland taking I-5 to OR 58 and OR 97 etc. they say is 4 hours....half an hour faster. I would think the first route might be more scenic though.

philsbert1 Mar 4th, 2008 12:51 PM

bbq boy---I totally understand the routing and it makes sense. We will be heading out to the gorge once we get there. We are from Georgia so the desert and the Pacific coastal areas hold equal interest for us.

A question for anyone that has recently done the drive down OR 97....boring? Doable in a day, with a few stops for short hikes and pics?

johnthedorf Mar 5th, 2008 05:46 AM

I've taken 97 from Bend to 84 and it is boring but quicker. My best route is 84 to 35 to 26 ton 97 to Bend. I prefer the scenery and the time difference isn't that great. In Bend (assuming you want to be in the Cascades ie. Sisters, Bachelor, Three Finger Jack etc) take the Hwy 46 Loop which is a scenic Biway. South of Bend on 97 are the Lava bed attractions and right on the Hwy. (When you drive through the Warm Springs Reservation you may want to tune into the Indian Music Station for some local color!)

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