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Oregon: Which drive, Columbia Gorge through Washington or the loop around Mt. Hood?

Oregon: Which drive, Columbia Gorge through Washington or the loop around Mt. Hood?

Old Mar 9th, 2008, 10:49 PM
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Oregon: Which drive, Columbia Gorge through Washington or the loop around Mt. Hood?

We'll be going from Portland up the Gorge on the Oregon side to Hood River.

As that point though, I read good things about both the drive around Mt. Hood back to Portland and also the drive along the Washington side of the Gorge back to Portland.

We're not sure which one to choose. Thoughts?

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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 05:19 AM
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Hey......why not go from Portland over to 14, cross the river at the bridge of the Gods to Or 84 the drive up to Timberline on the mountain, then back down to 84 and a scenic ride back to Portland. The Washington side is basically a nice drive with no stopping. Cross at Hood River and go up 35 to Mt. Hood. Don't bother with driving around the Mountain but do stop at the Lodge. On 84 to Portland you'll be stopping at all the Falls. Lots of signs so you don't need to be sticking your nose in a map.
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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 08:59 AM
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john, so the drive from the Lodge west around the mountain back to Portland is not as nice as the drive from Hood River to Timberline?
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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 09:13 AM
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Whatever you do, make sure you drive the old Columbia River Scenic Highway on the Oregon side, which parallels I-84 but up in the hills and, more importantly, running through the forest and some incredible waterfalls. If you stick to I-84 on the Oregon side you'll be limited only to Multnomah Falls, which is great but just one of several unique, terrific falls. Note that if you exit I-84 at Multnomah Falls you can't get to the Scenic Highway directly. Going east on I-84, you can get on it at the Corbett Exit (which affords you the best part of the highway in my view - breathtaking views of the Gorge and Columbia River from the Woman's Forum).

The Washington side on 14 does have some nice views as well - better than I-84 but not as good as the Scenic Highway on the Oregon side. Here are photos I shot along WA 14 so you can see what it looks like out there:

http://www.portlandbridges.com/00,5D...ver-gorge.html

Here are some photos along the Oregon Scenic Highway:

http://www.portlandbridges.com/00,DR...on-travel.html
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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 10:24 AM
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Andrew, we're definitely going up the old scenic highway, and will continue east to Hood River.

At that point though, trying to decide how to get back to Portland....either back through WA side of Gorge, or around Mt. Hood.

I'm thinking the views from the Washington side can't be all that different since it's still the Gorge, so the drive around Mt. Hood back to Portland might be better?
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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 10:30 AM
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I think I agree with johnthedorf, that it's not necessarily worth driving around Mt. Hood but driving up to Timberline Lodge is definitely worth it.
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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 10:54 AM
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If you want to go a little further up the Gorge there is a beautiful winery on the Washington side
They serve lunches with fabulous views of the Gorge and in the summer they frequently have entertainment at an outdoor theatre

Its a beautiful spot

http://www.maryhillwinery.com/
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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 11:58 AM
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Why would you want to go up the Columbia Gorge, just to come back down it, see the same things from the other side of the river? Outside of Beacon Rock and the state park right behind it, I can't think of anything else on the Washington side of the river that comes even close to Multnomah Falls and the sights on the Oregon side! Once in Hood River you've already seen the sights on the Oregon side of the brink!

Unless you have friends, family or destinations to visit in Vancouver, Wash., or Portland, I sure wouldn't bother!

Take the trip from Portland up to Hood River. Go on up-river to The Dalles, Oregon. Hit Hiway 197 South to Bend, that becomes Hiway 97.
From Redmond or Bend, Oregon, take the Mt. Hood Scenic Hiway Loop and really see some gorgeous mountain alpine scenery, as well as the Columbia Gorge! Both in one trip, what could be bettter?

Once up at Government Camp, at MT. Hood, just stay on the hiway and come back down from Mt. Hood to Portland when you are ready!

This is what I'd do anyway! I take this same spin a couple times each year, since I live in Oregon! Just love the trip and drive! Particularly in Mid-Spring after the Rhododendrons are in full bloom, and in the mid-late fall when the tree leaves are all turning such gorgeous fall colors! Makes a spectacular scenic drive!

Hope this helps you some! Have FUN on your visit to Oregon!
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