Scenic Drive from Bend to Portland

Old Jul 15th, 2013, 06:37 PM
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Scenic Drive from Bend to Portland

Hello everyone! My husband and I will be finishing up our last leg of our Northwest adventure this summer. We will be spending Thursday Aug 1 around Crater Lake, then driving up to Bend and staying the night there. The next morning, Friday, we plan to wake up and drive up to Portland where we will stay the night at a hotel in Portland. Then fly back home to the East coast on Saturday night. We want to spend as much time as we can on Friday seeing the sights of the Columbia River and all of the waterfalls, ect.

My question is, what is the best route to take from Bend to Portland? We want to drive along the Columbia River Hwy but I don't want to go straight to Portland and then drive west towards he Columbia River if that is backtracking. Also I didnt know if Sisters was worth a drive through by going on Hwy 20 or should I just go up 97?

Any advice for us about this leg of the trip would be greatly appreciated. We don't mind adding some extra mileage if it will give us better views along the way
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Old Jul 15th, 2013, 06:58 PM
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The problem is that there are several routes between Bend and Portland, and they are all really beautiful.

That said, if you don't want to backtrack, then head up hwy 97 to 35 to Hood River and then west through the gorge back to Portland.

Sisters is a great little town, but the best parts are the areas around it, like the old McKenzie Highway/Dee Wright Observatory and the Metolious River area. This makes more sense though if you are headed back over Santiam Pass.

If you head up to Hood River, there are some wineries in the area as well as the fruit loop where you can stop at orchards, etc along the way. Hood River itself has a nice downtown with several breweries for a meal. Watching the wind surfers is always a hit as well. Then as you head west, catch up with the old scenic highway and stop at Multnomah Falls, Crown Point Vista House and Portland Woman's Forum (odd name, great views). There are many more great places to stop along here, but these are the usual. Then in Corbett, head down the hill and catch back up with I-84 to Portland. You might want to stop in Troutdale at the Edgefield for dinner or at least a pint.
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Old Jul 15th, 2013, 07:14 PM
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mms is exactly right. The way that the signs in Bend tell you to go to Portland is up US 97 to Madras and then on US 26 through Zigzag to get to Sandy.
The most scenic rout IMO is up over the McKenzie Pass on Rt. 242 out of Sisters. Stop at the top of the pass to see the Dee Wright Observatory. There is a mountain identifier there.
On a very clear day you can see both Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams in Washington.
At the bottom, near the McKenzie River head back up Rt 126 to US 20. Backtrack 2 miles to get on Rt. 22 toward Salem I-5.
Take I-205 to get to I-84 east to go see Multnomah Falls.
Before you stop for the night in Bend, try to get to the High Desert Museum before 3PM if you can. The Museum is about 6 miles south of Bend along US 97.
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Old Jul 16th, 2013, 06:57 AM
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thanks for the great advice! I think McKenzie Highway/Dee Wright Observatory sounds really neat. I am only worried that that route would take a lot of driving time and not leave as much time to do the Columbia river scenic hwy.

Do you all know approximately how much time we should allow for the drive along the scenic hwy know that we want to stop and take photos at the places mms mentioned?

I also want to scoot on 26 to see Mt Hood and Timberline lodge, which I hear is worth it. I know its hard to prepare for if there if traffic but we are more into the sights and photography and dont really need to do hikes or anything like that, so we can usually cover a lot in a day.
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Old Jul 16th, 2013, 07:23 AM
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Get an early start from Bend. Get breakfast in Sisters. Pick up picnic stuff in Sisters. Head up to Dee Wright and have your picnic. Leave Dee Wright about 1PM and you can be in Salem before 4PM.
I would stay in Hood River instead of Portland after seeing Multnomah Falls. Your hike should be up the paved path/steps to the top of the falls.
Drive up Rt. 35 from Hood River to see Timberline. Continue up 35 to US 26 at Government Camp for your trip back into PDX.
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Old Feb 29th, 2016, 10:14 AM
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I know this is a little old now, but i stumbled across it and thought it might help someone else doing a similar trip.

MMS and Tomfuller both have good suggestions, I feel like Tomfullers might be a bit too much time in the car for my taste and I would like to modify MMS suggestion to get the most out of the trip.

Head out of Bend on 97 towards Mount Hood, in Madras stay heading towards Mt Hood when 97 becomes 26. From there go up to Government Camp and Timberline Lodge for the views. Once done there retrace a few miles to HWY 35 and head to Hoodriver on 35 (or you can look into traveling on E. Lolo Pass road out of ZigZag area for a more scenic route into Hood River, better views of mountain and drops you right into orchards and farms before hitting Hoodriver-- But this route requires a bit more navigating and is on some gravel roads. I think its well worth it but do your own research on that. ) Then enjoy Hoodriver and the Gorge before taking 84 to Portland.
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Old Feb 29th, 2016, 01:22 PM
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Anyone else planning a similar trip should post a new thread instead of tacking on a 2.5 year old thread.
Unless there is some gravel out to Timberline, you will have good pavement all the way.
There was some construction on Rt 35 in 2013 but it should be good now.
There is close to 100" of base snow at the 2 Mt. Hood ski areas (2/29/16).
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Old Feb 29th, 2016, 01:49 PM
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Tom--You are right, all the roads are good now and all paved, no gravel.
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