Oregon road trip

Jun 25th, 2019, 05:48 AM
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Oregon road trip

We're in the very early stages of planning a return trip to Oregon for early September (with the hope the weather will be kinder to us than last time!)

Our initial thoughts are to arrive in Portland and spend 10-14 days - the areas we'd most like to return to are Willamette Valley and Bend. Not really interested in Portland itself.

Our last two week visit in 2016 included Willamette Valley (from a Newberg base), Cannon Beach, Bend, Dayton, WA (for Walla Walla wineries) and Hood River.

That TR here:
Today it rained…on the road in the PNW

This time we'd like to incorporate some new areas, but we're not quite sure which ones.

Portland-McMinnville-Eugene-Bend-Portland is a possibility, but doesn't really add much new (is Eugene a good option? Any wineries there? Good hiking?).

The OH is tempted to incorporate some of Idaho, Montana and WA and has come up with a possible loop for that, but I'm not sold (too much driving, not enough doing IMO and we'd need to add more time, so that's been shelved for the time being).

Fodorites were very helpful when we planned our last trip. I'd love some suggestions on viable road trip routes, beginning and ending in Portland.

Our main interests are wine (Pinot Noir and dry Riesling in particular) small laid back wineries, moderate hiking, and the great outdoors in general.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2019, 06:32 AM
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Early September is almost always the best time of year, weather wise.

Eugene is at the southern end of the Willamette Valley, so there are some wineries but nowhere near as many as there are clustered around McMinnville. There is some good hiking on the outskirts of town, and the McKenzie river is a wonderful area to explore. The drive form Euegene to Bend is beautiful. A few places along the way not to be missed are Sahalie Falls, Clear Lake, and Dee Wright Observatory.

Definitely make it to Seufert Winery this time. Jim is a 5th generation Oregonian and he and Michelle are from Eugene. So be sure to ask them about current places for that.

What do you mean by moderate? Distance and elevation are better parameters for me to give suggestions
mms is offline  
Jun 25th, 2019, 07:23 AM
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Oh this is easy. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/FwBYJXwGEhAKnajv9

Visit or re-visit any Willamette Valley wineries that you must, then head over the mountains to Bend. Then head to Smith Rock and the John Day painted hills and fossil beds, and on to Joseph and the Wallowa mountains. Spend a few days in this beautiful area, with hikes into the Eagle Cap wilderness surrounding the town, Wallowa Lake and the valley, then head up to Walla Walla for any additional wineries you might want to hit. But then - and this to me would be a "don't miss" opportunity - continue to Pendleton. The second week of September is when the Pendleton Roundup happens. It's arguably the premier rodeo event in the US, but it's also when a big Native American gathering occurs. There are parades, the rodeo, the Happy Canyon pageant... all sorts of cool activities. https://www.pendletonroundup.com/ If interested, you need to make accommodation bookings as early as possible. Then head back to Portland; I might take a couple of days for more winery exploration around Hood River and the Hood River Valley, where things ought to be in full harvest swing. I honestly can't think of a better couple of weeks in early September in Oregon.

(Not my pictures)

Smith Rock State Park

John Day painted hills

Joseph and Wallowa Lake

"Downtown" Joseph

Wallowa Valley (Walter Brennan's former ranch)

Eagle Gap wilderness trail

Pendleton Roundup

Gardyloo is offline  
Jun 25th, 2019, 08:08 AM
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I agree that the Wallowa’s are fantastic. I think they are better for backpacking though than day hikes. We have done a lot of that in the area. The area is really interesting though so definitely worth checking out.
mms is offline  
Jun 25th, 2019, 11:19 AM
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Fantastic, just what I was hoping for. I'll look at those suggestions, thank you.

Great photos, thanks for posting those Gardyloo,

Last edited by Melnq8; Jun 25th, 2019 at 11:22 AM.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2019, 08:04 AM
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Laid back wineries in the Eugene area would include- Highpass Winery, Walnut Ridge, Brigadoon, Pfieffer, Bennetts. They are all close together and are in the Junction City area. Easy to visit all in an afternoon.

Agree with MMS that the McKenzie Highway between Eugene and Bend is beautiful in the fall. A very nice and easy hike is around Clear Lake. Its about 5 miles. If you go to the Dee Wright Observatory, Proxy Falls is not far and is also a beautiful hikes. William Sullivan is our local hiking guru and has published many books on hiking in this area.

The first Pinot Noir grapes in Oregon were planted at Hillcrest Winery in the Roseburg area. It is definitely small and laid back and if the owner happens to be there, you will be overwhelmed with his knowledge of wine.

sunbum1944 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2019, 02:30 PM
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Thank you sunbum!
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2019, 12:41 AM
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So if you do head East, you could spend a good part of the day checking out the wineries in Lyle, Washington. This is just over the river from The Dalles. I was impressed.

I also like some of Gardyloo's options. While I like the Wallowas, I don't remember much about short hikes.

But I do think that if you like wine, it should be mentioned that the Oregon wine area second to the Willamette Valley is generally considered to be the Applegate area near Grants Pass.

You could make a great trip out of Southern Oregon. Crater Lake, hiking, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, historic Jacksonville and white water rafting on the Rogue. And I'm a cool for Ashland.

Both Sunbum and BBQboy live there and will hopefully weigh in.

​​​​The Applegate Wine Trail | 19 Wineries in Southern Oregon ? 17 Wineries near Jacksonville, Oregon

5alive is offline  
Jun 29th, 2019, 03:48 AM
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Tagging along because I am considering one week over Labor Day. Mel, I will read your last TR now, thank you for posting it!
flygirl is offline  
Jun 29th, 2019, 05:51 AM
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Thanks 5alive, I'll take a look at Applegate.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2019, 07:40 AM
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We were in the PNW at the same time in 2016. That was a pretty extreme October weather wise. The place where we stayed on Orcas Island asked us to evacuate and by the time we reached Crater Lake there was 3 ft of snow on the ground! We're planning to drive through OR again on our way home from ID this October so I'll be following this thread for ideas and looking forward to your report!
Patty is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2019, 06:51 PM
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Far from being "a local," but have visited and hiked Oregon at least a dozen times, so obviously it's a favorite along with Washington State. Most of our time has been along the coast and Cascades, but like you love Bend and have stayed there several times. Such a beautiful area around Deschutes County and tons of good hiking. One of our favorite hikes is Falls Creek Trail to Green Lake. Has a little of everything besides just falls. It's off of Cascades Highway near Inn of the 7 Sisters, where I believe you've stayed. We found it to be a very comfortable place.

We've also stayed in the tiny hamlet of Camp Sherman at Metolius Lodge. A bit far from things, but hiked along McKenzie River and did day trip into Bend. On another trip, we actually drove from Bend to Kokanee Lodge in Camp Sherman for dinner. Very good as was the restaurant at Black Butte Ranch. If you haven't done the McKenzie River Byway to Eugene, you certainly should drive that. Can't beat the scenery everywhere you look in the area.

A little further east is Smith Rocks that someone mentioned, which provide great views and perhaps a place to enjoy a trail lunch from the top. Wouldn't bring that bottle of wine though as you do need to be aware of footing.

On our "Washington Wine Trip" in 2013 got as far east as Yakima, which we didn't find as undesirable as we were told. Not a garden spot for sure, but it was different--isn't that part of travel--from what we have in the east. Liked seeing/learning about large scale agriculture. Visited a few wineries, Bonair and Silver Lake, in the Zillah-Rattlesnake Hills AVA

So to find a new area, we are also heading back to Washington/Oregon the same time as you in September. The Palouse has been on my list for quite a while. Joseph looks and sounds amazing, besides being highly recommended by Gardyloo, and of course will include Walla Walla. So many wineries. Enjoy hearing comments from Fodorites about their favorites. I'll drink to that!

Let us know how your plans develop.
Clousie is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2019, 07:10 PM
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Oops, just read that Kokanee Cafe is gone. Replaced by Hola, a Mexican-Peruvian chain.
Clousie is offline  
Jul 4th, 2019, 12:58 PM
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Thank you Clousie! I'll look at your suggestions in detail.
Melnq8 is offline  
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