suggestions on Oregon trip itinerary

Old Jan 18th, 2016, 05:31 AM
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suggestions on Oregon trip itinerary

We will be flying to Portland, OR second week of June (from Boston) with another couple who are from Santa Fe--we are active, fit early sixties. We plan to travel about 10 days on the road (renting a car in Portland). Could you offer some suggestions on the following road trip ( I need help on how many nights to stay in each location and what to see. I have taken extensive notes on other posts and have come up with these tentative plans:
1. Portland to Florence (can we do this in a day stopping at a few highlights and then spend a couple of nights in Florence?) Want to do the dunes. Should we stop for a night somewhere else on the coast before getting to Florence? Plan to stay 2 nights and venture Up? Down? the coast.
2. Florence to Eugene (plan to stay 2 nights) want to do wine tours and leisurely biking
3. Eugene to Bend (plant to stay 2 nights and drive to Crater Lake)
4. Bend to Mt. Hood (or should we do that as a day trip from Portland--worried about the long 5 hour trip. Is there a good way to break it up?)
5. Back to Portland.
Is this plan over zealous?
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Old Jan 18th, 2016, 06:37 AM
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Oregon expert here. Are you landing morning or afternoon at PDX? Rent the car in downtown Portland to save a little money.
The TriMet red line is right outside baggage claim and is a great way to downtown. ($2.50/person one way).
Do your Mt. Hood trip including the waterfalls from Portland.
Depending on what time of day you get out of Portland with the rental car, head for the coast on US 26 and stay in either Seaside or Cannon Beach. Be certain to see Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach.
The next day head south on US 101 with a stop at the Tillamook cheese factory for great cheese and ice cream (free cheese samples). You may also want to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium just south of the big bridge at Newport. Spend one night in Florence. See the dunes early the next day. Do you want to hike the dunes or ride a dune buggy? Both are fun.
Leaving the Florence area, dive south to Reedsport and go west on Rt. 38. About 5 miles out of town you will come to the Dean's Creek Elk viewing area. I have seen as many as 40 elk from the viewing area or from a pull off about a mile east.
At the east end of Elkton, turn off on Rt. 138 to head for I-5 south to Roseburg. In Roseburg take Rt. 138 east up the Umpqua River all the way to Diamond Lake. Stay at Diamond Lake unless you can get a night at the Crater Lake lodge.
I'm hoping that the north entrance of Crater Lake will be open by the second week of June. Otherwise you will have to go south on Rt. 230 to get to the south entrance.
Go to Bend from Crater Lake. Bend is 90 miles from the north entrance if it is open. If you have to use the south entrance, it is closer to 150 miles.
There may be enough snow left on Mt. Bachelor to do some skiing or snowshoeing. See the High Desert Museum.
If you can get a night at Timberline on the south side of Mt. Hood, by all means do it before returning to Portland.
As of today, the base at Mt. Hood Meadows and Mt. Bachelor are in the 90 to 100" range. It rained in Bend yesterday but it snowed up on the mountains.
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Old Jan 18th, 2016, 06:45 AM
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Others will chime in, but a couple of comments...

First, many years Crater Lake's rim road doesn't open fully until July, and June can be very iffy on weather too. (The same goes for most of the Cascades in June; the mountains can easily be socked in for days on end.) It's a very long detour if you don't get to see much, or can't drive to where you can. So far this winter is MUCH snowier than last, so I'd be worried about the odds.

So at risk of applecart upsetting, let me mention a couple of alternatives that you might look into. This may seem like a radical set of changes, but they're only suggestions after all.

First, early June is prime time in the Columbia Gorge. The waterfalls are at their peaks as the mountain snow melts, and the weather is starting to get terrific in the central parts of the Gorge (around Hood River) as you're far enough east to get some rain shadowing.

The Hood River Valley will be in bloom, and the wineries in the Hood River and eastern Gorge will be open for business. Near the vineyards in the Hood River Valley the orchards will be lush. Up at Timberline Lodge (at the head of the Hood River Valley) they'll still be skiing, but the access roads will be bare.

Drive across the river from Hood River and up WA 141 and you're in Mount Adams country - more orchards, white water rafting, amazing views of both Adams and Hood...

Or drive an hour east from Hood River and you're in cowboy country, with more vineyards, plus the marvelous Maryhill Museum and adjacent Stonehenge memorial sitting incongruously along the red rock canyon walls above the Columbia.

So I guess if it were me I'd propose redesigning your trip to something like three or four days on the coast and the rest around the Portland-Gorge area. On the coast I'd focus on Florence to Astoria, so as to include the dunes (which I'm not that knocked out by, but so be it) all the way up past Yachats and Newport, Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach, and Cape Disappointment, at the stunning mouth of the Columbia opposite Astoria.

Then I'd head inland (follow the north bank of the Columbia - lovely and historic) all the way to Hood River, and spend another four days visiting waterfalls, wineries, breweries, go on the Hood River "fruit loop," up Mt. Hood, out to Maryhill, etc. using Hood River/White Salmon as your base. All of these excursions are easily done with surprisingly little road time, and the road time you DO spend is almost 100% in glorious surroundings. For my money there are few June trips that are its equal.

Some links:
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Old Jan 18th, 2016, 07:13 AM
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You will note that Gardyloo and I skipped Eugene.
The best of the wineries etc. are within 50 miles of Portland.
I can't predict what the snow pack will be like in June at Crater Lake. They will be having ranger led snowshoe hikes every Saturday until at least April.
Last time I went to the rim of Crater Lake I was on my own snowshoes.
I live halfway between Crater Lake and Bend. I'm in Bend at least once a week.
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Old Jan 18th, 2016, 07:59 AM
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Although there is a lot to do in the Eugene area, I would not really recommend it for a stop on the trip. Stay at the coast, or Bend- much more going on.
I think the most scenic part of the coast is between Florence and Lincoln City. I suggest staying in Newport or Yachats.

One of my favorite stops is Devils Elbow State Park- also known as Heceta Head. There is a lovely little beach with a trail leading up to Heceta Head Lighthouse- one of the most photographed in the U.S. The lighthouse keepers house is a b&b. And is a great place to stay- but reservations needed months in advance.

Enjoy your visit
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Old Jan 18th, 2016, 09:00 AM
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I like a lot of Gardyloo's recommendations. I'd probably forget about Crater Lake. We (in Norcal -- assuming in OR as well but the locals will know for sure) we are having a much snowier/rainier winter than for the last 5 years and Crater Lake will likely still be snow bound by mid June. Some of the park would be open, but it is a slog . . .
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Old Jan 25th, 2016, 11:05 AM
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Thank you so much for your input!
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