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philsbert1 Feb 14th, 2005 05:49 AM

Portland, OR - Crater Lake NP summer sojurn
Can anyone suggest a Portland, OR to Crater Lake itinerary for an early July trip? I was thinking 7-8 day total with 2-3 days in the Portland area, and visiting Crater Lake NP and perhaps some of the Pacific shore. Is this too much to try at one time? I did a similar time period trip last summer---Seattle to Mt. Rainier then the Olympic peninsula and it was incredible.

beachbum Feb 14th, 2005 08:13 AM

I don't think it's too much. Depending on what you want to do around Crater Lake, you may want to spend only a day there. After your couple days in Portland, leave early in the morning for the approx. 250 mile drive down I-5 to Crater Lake. There's really little worth stopping for along the way.

Spend two nights at Crater Lake, then drive 138-I5-138-38 to Reedsport, and work your way up the coast from there, maybe spending the first night around Florence, near the Oregon Dunes. Once you hit the coast, there are any number of sites and activities to keep you occupied for as long as you like: dune buggy rides, hiking, lighthouse visits, Oregon Coast Aquarium, walks on the beach, etc.

If it's of interest, you might even spend a half day in Oregon's wine country, which is primarily along 18 and 99W, between Lincoln City and Portland.

This all assumes you're flying into and out of Portland. Let us know if you'd like more detailed recommendations.

kimamom Feb 14th, 2005 09:03 AM

That sounds like a very nice itinerary! philsbert1, Crater Lake is beautiful. There is the Crater Lake Lodge there, but I believe it books up months in advance and it is very hard to get in there. We weren't even able to get in for lunch one July when we visited the area.

You may want to explore the quaint town of Ashland, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Even if you don't see a play, it's a delightful little place with lots of great restaurants, shops, etc. and a very pretty park, Lithia Park. I hope you have a wonderful time! ***kim*** ((l)) ((l)) ((l))

Andrew Feb 14th, 2005 09:03 AM

Great advice, beachbum.


kimamom Feb 14th, 2005 09:06 AM

Oh, you may want to also visit the Sea Lion Caves if you're around the Florence area. It's a really fun stop if you haven't seen this before. ***kim*** ((f)) ((l)) ((f))

Michael Feb 14th, 2005 09:44 AM

I like to visit the NP lodges for their architecture. From Portland you might want to stop by Mt. Hood which has an incredible lodge built under the WPA auspices. We drove down from there to Eugene on a Forest Service road that was fully paved. Just miles and miles of forest and mountains, with absolutely no signs. I also like to drive along the eastern side of the Cascades; I find that drive preferable to the central part of Oregon.

philsbert1 Feb 14th, 2005 09:57 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions! We are flying in to Portland, and are avid "day-hikers", so we will be looking for neat places to hike.

Beachbum and Kimamom: Any suggestions for alternative places to stay around Crater Lake? I figured the prime spots would be booked by now. It sounds like the coastal area holds a lot more of interest than any areas along I-5.

Michael: What is the eastern route of the Cascades...Hwy 97? And about how long would that take as opposed to I-5?

beachbum Feb 14th, 2005 11:05 AM

Sorry, philsbert, I'd just be googling for other accommodation recommendations. Beyond the Lodge, I've only camped in the Crater Lake area (and that was just one night on a Cycle Oregon deal).

If you're interested in seeing Timberline Lodge (Michael's suggestion), a popular day trip is the Portland-Columbia Gorge-Hood River-Mt. Hood-Portland loop. I agree that the drive on the east side of the Cascades is nicer and more scenic than straight down I-5. But that puts central Oregon into play, with a whole different set of attractions. IMO, you could include either central Oregon or the coast in your itinerary, but both would be stretching it.

philsbert1 Feb 14th, 2005 11:23 AM

Thanks! I don't want to stretch myself too thin and not have time to appreciate what I do see. I was impressed with how non-commercialized the coastal area was on the Olympic peninsula. Is a significant portion of the OR coast the same, or have the developers run rampant (as they have in many spots here in the Atlanta area)?

Andrew Feb 14th, 2005 01:40 PM

The Oregon Coast has many beautiful areas that are not developed. There are plenty of parks, pull-over viewpoints, and places to hike out in the middle of nowhere. There are penty of little towns and few big ones.

The AAA has a nice Oregon Coast tour map that details most of the natural atractions on the coast - get a copy if you can.

Suggestion for a nice hike with a spectacular view on the coast: Cascade Head north of Lincoln City. Do a Google search for "cascade head hike" for details.


tracilee Feb 14th, 2005 02:26 PM

My husband and I stayed at the Prospect Hotel, a bed and breakfast inn that is about 30 minutes from the Crater Lake Lodge. They have a website You can head west after staying there and hit the Oregon Coast via Grants Pass. It is not the most direct route, but it is pretty and dips into California for a few miles. You will enter Oregon at the Southern border. If you do this, you might want to consider taking a jet boat trip in Gold Beach - a really fun ride up the Rogue River. Gold Beach also has nice fireworks on the 4th of July. Have fun!

beachbum Feb 14th, 2005 03:54 PM

I considered recommending the itinerary suggested by traci, but it's 200+ more miles, and thus at least a day longer. Probably more because you'd have to see the Redwoods. Choices, choices...

And yep, the hike out Cascade Head is a great one; my favorite on the coast.

rapunzll Feb 15th, 2005 03:22 AM

My son and I did a trip to the area over labor day weekend a few years ago and had fun. Crater lake is amazingly beautiful. We stayed at a treehouse resort ( ) it was fun, although there isn't a whole lot to do where it is. We took a day trip from there to go to the redwoods and then up the coast and back. It was a lot of fun. We even stopped at a hopelessly hokey' 'dinosaur park and it was so bad it was fun!

kimamom Feb 15th, 2005 01:50 PM

Prehistoric Gardens! That place is a riot, is it still in business? Maybe Panhandle will see this post and respond, he lives in Southern Oregon somewhere, I believe! :D

In Gold's Beach we have enjoyed several stays at the Sand n Sea Motel, located right on the ocean. Simple, clean and comfortable place with beautiful views of the ocean from the property with walking trails down to the beach. ***kim*** ((r))

beachbum Feb 15th, 2005 02:07 PM

Yes, Prehistoric Gardens is still around, kim. I'm dating myself, but I remember stopping there as a child on regular family road trips between Coos Bay and San Francisco in the late '50's. Even then, it was pretty hokey.

BTW, Gold's is the name of a gym. The name of the town is Gold Beach.

kimamom Feb 15th, 2005 03:20 PM

Yes, Gold Beach, the website for the Sand N Sea place I was referring to is: Next time we're in this area, I'd love to check out the Tu Tu Ton Lodge, tho! :) ***kim*** ((#))

Kal Feb 15th, 2005 03:43 PM

I think Orgeon should have it's own Forum. :-"

kimamom Feb 15th, 2005 03:44 PM

Why is that Mr. Kal? ***kim*** ((l))

Michael Feb 15th, 2005 03:48 PM

It took us about 4 hours to go from Crater Lake to a camping site east of Mt. Hood.

Kate2 Feb 15th, 2005 03:57 PM

Someone should have their own forum.

Kal Feb 15th, 2005 04:01 PM

Just being cranky like some other posters. [(

Plus I have a root canal scheduled first thing tomorrow. :-d

Waiting for the Kings' game to start and the Bella Zin to take effect. ;)

wanderluster Feb 15th, 2005 04:07 PM

Kal, two words for tomorrow am: Four Advil.

Good luck!

kimamom Feb 15th, 2005 04:12 PM

Root canals, are not fun! :( I had one last summer, that does not warrant a :D, IMO. Well, good luck! ((f))

I'm waiting for Gilmore Girls to start! Just love Rory & Laura Lai! ***kim*** ((r))

razzledazzle Feb 15th, 2005 04:33 PM

Kim, that would be Lorelai,
you know
from your basic college mythology courses.
Just wanted to clarify.

Scarlett Feb 15th, 2005 05:09 PM

What in the world is the Gilmore Girls and what do they have to do with Lorelai?? I knew I should watch more television ~
Lorelai was a nymph who sat on a cliff and lured ships to wreck against the rocks with her singing.

kimamom Feb 15th, 2005 05:10 PM

tracilee, how is the restaurant at the Prospect Hotel? We will be visiting Crater Lake this summer and would love a great place for dinner after our visit. :D

Worth a stop? ***kim*** ((r))

kimamom Feb 15th, 2005 05:16 PM

Scarlett, will enlighten you! My daughter and I have watched this show every Tues. night together since she was around 10! For her last birthday we bought the entire first season on DVD! Now, how cool is that? :D

It comes on right before One Tree Hill! Another great show! You know, Dan, Deb, Karen &Keith, Brooke & Peyton! ***kim*** ((r))

Orcas Feb 15th, 2005 09:31 PM

I'll suggest you go the eastside route to Crater Lake and skip I-5. I like the contrast between the dry east and wet west. Both sides of the Cascades are beautiful, and you get a sense of the great difference in climate, terrain, vegetation, when you visit both sides of the mountains. Plus you see the impact of the volcanos up close and personal from the eastside, which if full of lava rock.

You could easily stay in Bend for the night. Without stops, it's about 4 hours from Portland. You can choose to go over Mt. Hood, to get there, adn visit Timberline Lodge and the Native American museum that is along the way. Or you can go through the gorge and enjoy seeing the waterfalls. It's an easy drive either way. The next day, it is easy to get to Crater Lake (I can't remember how long - a few hours.) You can stop along the way at the lava cave or the lava butte. Spend one night at Crater Lake and drive to the Ocean the next day. The distances just aren't that great.

philsbert1 Feb 16th, 2005 07:40 AM

Kimamom: I, too am a Gilmore Girls fan. Clever dialogue, great acting...better than 90% of the stuff on TV. Lorelai and Luke need to get back together; I figure they had to split them up to stretch out the season

Orcas: Thanks for the specific recommendations. Looks like about 160 miles from outside Portland to Bend via Rt 26 to 97. I see the Lava Cast Forest listed at Newberry Nat'l Volcanic Monument outside Bend. Then after 2 days at Crater Lake, could go 138/I-5/38 to Reedsport and work our way back. I just have to make sure I leave time to do some hikes along the way.

Orcas Feb 16th, 2005 07:57 AM

I haven't been to the Lava Cast Forest, though I've seen pictures of it. It looks really interesting. This web site has information on some of the other activities and sites south of Bend:
The Lava River Cave is fascinating. Always cold and very dark, but you can walk through it. Also, the Lava Bute has glassy lava like in Hawaii and is quite unusual.
There are hikes galore everywhere, including on the coast. You may want to pick up a hiking guide.

kimamom Feb 16th, 2005 08:06 AM

philsbert1, wouldn't you love to stay at a place like the Dragonfly Inn? :D

While you're visiting Southern Or, I hope you get a chance to see Ashland. It's such a quaint, interesting little place. ***kim*** ((f))

philsbert1 Feb 16th, 2005 09:33 AM

Kimamom: I'm not sure I'd want to be at the Dragonfly Inn, but I'd like to hang out in town and at Luke's Diner for a day or two. What a bunch of characters.

Orcas: I am going to look into some hiking guides for the Oregon area. There's already been the suggestion of Cascade Head, and I found a website with a (written) description of others.

beachbum Feb 16th, 2005 10:06 AM

Last week there was a thread about a planned trip to Oregon wherein the original poster hoped to build enough flexibility into the itinerary to minimize the "Wow! I wish we had reservations here and could stay two or three days..." regrets. With a 7-8 day itinerary that includes Mt. Hood, central Oregon, Crater Lake, and a healthy chunk of the Oregon coast, I'd be willing to bet my wife's pet rabbit's life that you will have a number of those "Wow!" experiences.

IMO, these are all great suggestions, and if you asked, we could come up with a bunch more just as good. But, you've got some choices to make.

kimamom Feb 16th, 2005 10:38 AM

philsbert1: I don't know about Luke's Diner, but yes it would be fun to hang out in Stars Hollow! :)

Will you be going out to the Gorge area on your 2-3 days in Portland? The Columbia Gorge Hotel is a very nice property. I know some friends who couldn't stay there, but went just to take some family photos on the grounds there. ***kim*** ((#))

FainaAgain Feb 16th, 2005 11:00 AM

Thanks to Kimamom, I've learned something new. Not only those Gilmore women litter my TV channels, now they have their own website? WOW!

Scarlett, this nymph is probably sitting by the Treasure Island now to attract Kimamom and the like!

philsbert1 Feb 16th, 2005 11:40 AM

Beachbum: Agreed. I'm going to get some maps and hiking info and make some choices. I have bitten off more than I could appreciate in one trip before.

I will say, though, that I had a pretty successful trip from Seattle and around the OP last year. I definitely had to cut corners, but spent a day at Mt. Rainier, then that evening over to the coast. Then one day going up the coast, stopping for several short hikes (?Third Beach or something like that, and Hoh rainforest), then to Port Angeles. Two days there allowed a day trip to Victoria, and a day hike to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic NP. Then the next day to Sequim for the Lavender festival, a half day hike of the Dungeness Spit (awesome) while based at Port Townsend for 2 nights. I finished with a day trip/hike on Whidbey Island, an overnight at Mukilteo, and back to Seatac. It was a great visit!

tracilee Feb 16th, 2005 12:01 PM

kimamom: we only ate breakfast at the Prospect Hotel. I don't remember if it was because the restaurant wasn't open for dinner the night we were there or if they had no reservations available. At any rate, we ate a diner-type place next door which was very forgetable. The breakfast at the Prospect was fine, I remember they had a speical granola of some sort and soft boiled eggs; nothing spectacular.

ellen_griswold Feb 16th, 2005 12:10 PM

Hi Tracilee, we also stayed at the prospect hotel several years ago, in their little motel behind the main building / house. What did you think of it? I have to say while i definitely like charming, quaint little towns, this wasn't one of them! It kinda creeped me out actually, not quite sure why.... And we must have had dinner in the same forgetable place next door, the ONLY other place with food available. (Although the hotel's dinner aromas weren't very appealing either.) Breakfast at the hotel was fine but i was reeeeally happy to leave and get to spectacular, stunning crater lake!

So to the OP, if at all possible try to get ressies in the park, preferably in the beautiful, lakefront lodge. Pricey but worth it IMO. The other lodging is similar to most other NP lodging, basic and clean resembling army barracks, but not too close to crater lake.

jgg Feb 16th, 2005 12:42 PM

We have been to the lava cave as well as the Lava Butte, it is full of obsidian. They are both very interesting, just remember it is cold in the lava cave(actually it is a lava tube.)

One more suggestion, which I know you don't need, but since you are avid hikers you must consider driving down I-5 to about Salem and cutting across on the Santiam Hwy (Hwy. 22 I believe) and drive through the Sisters/Camp Sherman area on your way to Bend. There are several trails to hike in the Camp Sherman area around the Metolius River (definitely one of the most beautiful spots in Oregon).

Or you could hike up one of the Sisters (there are 3 mountains, North Sister, South Sister, Middle Sister). Some are easier than others, although I can't remember which is which - I believe we hiked up South Sister - which would make it easy!!

Portland to Sisters is only about 2 1/2 hours and then another 30 minutes to Bend.

kimamom Feb 16th, 2005 01:20 PM

Just checked the Crater Lake Lodge and they are booked full from March to the last week of September! :(

If you're set on staying around the lake, you may want to get some opinions on the Mazama Village Motor Inn, about 7 miles from Crater Lake. ***kim*** ((f))

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