Washington Trip, Please, Help Me!

May 24th, 2004, 10:21 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 52
Washington Trip, Please, Help Me!

I am planning a Washington trip in September. We are staying at Mt. Rainier (Paradise Lodge) for two nights. I am not sure which way to go after this. Do we want to go to the Columbia River Gorge, then Mt. St. Helen's, then on to the coast to the park or go in the other direction.

We want to do the following:
Columbia River Gorge
Mt. St. Helen's
Olympic National Park
San Juan Islands (if there is time)

We want to spend 4 nights in Olympic National Park, 2 on each side. Does anyone have any suggestions how to fit all this in and how much time in each area we would need. We will have 9 days and nights after leaving Mt. Rainier.
Would we want to spend a night along the coast at Long Beach, Wa. on our way to Olympic National Park or just continue to the park. This is such a great website I know someone must have some suggestions. Thanks so much!
patti5 is offline  
May 24th, 2004, 10:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Leave Paradise (ha ha) and continue east on US Hwy 12 to Yakima. Then south through wonderful country (mainly the Yakama Indian res) on US 97 to the Columbia. Don't miss the Maryhill Museum near the junction of US 97 and Washington SR 4 along the north bank of the river. Continue west on the Washington side to Hood River (Oregon) then stay on the Oregon side the rest of the way through the Gorge, being sure to take the "historic" Gorge highway rather than the freeway whenever you can.

If you want to see Mt. St. Helens do it as a day trip from the Portland area. Then, continue west on the Oregon side of the river to Astoria, cross the mouth of the river on the bridge (a must-do) then stay in Long Beach for the night if you want. Dinner at the Ark (famous restaurant north of Long Beach in Nahcotta.)

One night more on the west coast of Olympic NP is all you'll need, but if you can spare 2, fine. Note the weather in September (when?) might be getting iffy.

Continue north along US 101 until it turns the corner at the top of the Peninsula. Stay at Lake Crescent or Port Angeles, tour Hurricane Ridge on the north slope of the Olympic Mts. Depending on opening times, you might see if Sol Duc Hot Springs is open, a nice respite for tired tourist tushies.

Cross from Port Townsend on the ferry to Whidbey Island, drive north to Anacortes, and take the ferry to San Juan Island, overnighting at Roche Harbor if you can. Very picturesque. Alternatively, stay overnight on Lopez Island (our favorite) for a much more rural and quiet environment. Allow half a day for the return to Seattle.

So I'd make the schedule after Paradise go like this: 1 night in Hood River, 2 in Portland (1 after Mt. St. Helens), 1 in Long Beach, 1 on the coast (Quinault or Kalaloch), 1 in Port Angeles, 2 on San Juan or Lopez, back to Seattle. That's 8 I think, allowing a last night or an extra night somewhere.

This gives an excellent exposure to the range of landscapes you'll see in the Pacific NW.
Gardyloo is online now  
May 25th, 2004, 04:08 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 52
Thanks for all the great information. We might skip Portland since we're not city people or maybe just spend one night there.

If we didn't stay at Long Beach is there another town along the coast you could recommend after leaving Portland? We like scenic but not crowded or touristy. Someone called the Long Beach area dowdy.

I'm not sure if driving from Portland to Quinault or Kalaloch would be manageable in one day. Also, is there enough to do to spend two nights in this area? (Kalaloch) Sometimes I like to go to a place and spend at least 3 nights. Thanks so much!
patti5 is offline  
May 25th, 2004, 06:11 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 120
The Klaloch Lodge is wonderful (IF you can get a cliff cabin (water view). It's slow but very enjoyable. We spent 2 nights there although the first day was just travel getting there. We then went into the Park for a day, a second restful evening and then on to Crescent Lake Lodge for another 2 nights with a day trip to Hurricane Ridge and hiking in the area.
hpl is offline  
May 25th, 2004, 06:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,044
Patti5 - Portland to Kalaloch is only about an easy 4 1/2 hour drive.

If you enjoy the outdoors there is PLENTY to do in the area (you have the mountains, the sea and the rainforest). Gardyloo's plan (as usual) is a good one.

LordBalfor is offline  
May 25th, 2004, 10:37 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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If you do stay in Long Beach, you may want to check out the Shelburne Inn. It has been featured in many publications recently. There is the Shoalwater restaurant there which is a four-star place. www.shoalwater.com Don't forget a visit to the Marsh's Free Museum for some funky beach souvenirs.

Astoria would be a wonderful place to spend some time. A beautiful place, right on the Columbia River. Much to do and see there if you have the time and like shopping, history, museums, great places to eat, etc., etc. www.oldoregon.com

If you aren't set on staying in Long Beach, Astoria has the new luxury boutique hotel, The Hotel Elliott which is receiving rave reviews. www.hotelelliott.com Have a wonderful trip! ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
May 26th, 2004, 05:41 AM
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Thanks everyone for all your help! I will call the Kalaloch Lodge to see if I can get a cliff cabin.

I'll check into the Shelburne Inn in Long Beach. It's only for one night, how bad can it be. The area I mean not the inn. Astoria sounds very nice so maybe I'll check that out also.
patti5 is offline  
May 30th, 2004, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 252
Check my post on your other thread under just "please help me". Gardyloo gives great advice, I would just differ on the recommendation to head east on US 12 to Yakima and south to Goldendale. That entire stretch would add relatively little to your itinerary in exchange for many miles. Instead, I would head south via highway 7 and pick up the St. Helens Windy Ridge viewpoint. The National Forest roads are good, paved, but not really high speed. Rainier to Columbia Gorge takes about 4 hours this way but you pick up the less crowded back side of St. Helens. The rest of the trip is like a nature tour, wild life, wild streams, thick forest and relatively few other cars.
sgorces is offline  

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