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  1. Default Road Trip around Seattle - 3/4 days

    Hello Friends,

    My husband and I are going on work to Seattle from Aug 14 (this sat) to Aug 20th 2010, we have a conference to attend from Aug 17 (evening) onwards. Therefore are flying in 4 days in advance so we can explore areas around Seattle, especially since post-Aug 17th we will see a lot of Seattle city. Here is what we have in mind.

    Aug 14th - Arrive in SEA and drive to Mt. Raineer (2 hours)
    Aug 15th - Drive from Mt. Rainier to Portland (3 hours) early afternoon (after lunch maybe?)
    Aug 16th - Portland
    Aug 17th - Drive from Portland early AM to Seattle and see St. Helens on the way.

    Does this make sense? Please suggest scenic routes, also places to stay.
    Last edited by hellopsz; 08-07-2010 at 07:12 PM.

  2. Default Another recommendation

    Here is what someone recommended, any thoughts.
    The idea here is to avoid doubling back from Mt. Rainier to I-5, and also to make sure you see the Columbia Gorge. The east slope of the Cascades, the Yakama Indian Reservation, Maryhill and Mt. Hood would be bonuses to this route.

    Aug. 14 - Head to Mt. Rainier (Paradise) as currently planned. Rather than backtracking to Ashford try to stay at Paradise Inn if there's availability, otherwise find someplace on White Pass (US Hwy 12) east of the mountain, or if you want, head for Naches or the Yakima area. This has you crossing the Cascades rather than doubling back to I-5.

    Aug. 15 - Follow US 12 to US 97, then head south along the east side of the mountains through some great "old west" scenery to the Columbia River near Goldendale and Maryhill. Stop at the Maryhill Museum, then continue west on the Washington side of the Columbia River to Hood River (OR). Depending on the time, take the old "Historic" Columbia Gorge Highway from Hood River to Troutdale, then return to Hood River for the night via I-84 alongside the river.

    Aug. 16 - Assuming you've done the Gorge loop the previous day, take Oregon Hwy 35 from Hood River south through the Hood River Valley and head up to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. As Aug. 18 is a Monday, crowds will be way smaller than they were on Saturday at Mt. Rainier, so you can do one or more of the fine walks available from Timberline. Then follow US 26 down into Portland for the night. If you didn't tour the Gorge the previous day, do it now and skip Mt. Hood; instead spend the day in the Gorge - hike up past one or more of the waterfalls for example, but again, end up in Portland.

    Aug. 17 - Early start then I-5 to the Mt. St. Helens turnoff, visit the visitor center(s), then return to the freeway and into Seattle.

    What do you guys think?
    I would prefer not going to Portland at all and heading from Rainier to ST. Helens and spending the night somewhere around there, early next AM seeing St. Helens and driving back to Seattle. We need to be in Seattle by 1pm on Aug 17th

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default By All Means - Number 2

    I think you'll be much happier with your second itinerary than what you first proposed. The one commend I have is that Portland is almost a must. While I agree that taking OR-35 south from Hood River and completing the circle around Mount Hood on US-26 would be a nice addition to your trip, you already have several scenic mountains on tap, and one more might just get lost in the shuffle. By all means take as much of the historic Columbia River Highway as you can down the Columbia river Gorge (it only exists as disconnected remnants) Hood River to Corbett and take the time to hike into as many of the waterfalls that line it as you can. They are all just very short walks. But I wouldn't try to double back up the river to avoid Portland. You'd have to go at least to Bonneville to find a river crossing. Instead, I'd aim to take my time and not hit Portland until after rush hour and then just scoot through and aim to stay the night somewhere on the north side of Vancouver to avoid the morning rush. Then continue as you've indicated.


  4. Default

    You say "But I wouldn't try to double back up the river to avoid Portland" - can you add more details to the above itinerary so we can make sure we don't do this. You can cut and paste the itinerary from above and add your comment with some specifics/routes, if you dont mind :)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    The itinerary you originally posted, and Buck added onto, already has you going to Portland, so you just need to follow that plan.

    Buck was simply responding to your statement that you'd rather avoid Portland, but to avoid the city you'd have to do a significant amount of backtracking, so your best bet it to simply enjoy the Portland and try to avoid traffic as best you can.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Simply That... are going to hit the Columbia River around Maryhill when you come down US-97. You can come down river (west) on either the Washington (WA-14) or Oregon (US-30/I-84) to Hood River, but from there west using the Historic Columbia River Highway requires that you drive on the Oregon (southern shore). This is where some of the best scenery and waterfalls are. And if you plan to visit The Forks, I can only assume that a visit to the View Point Inn in Corbett would also fit into your itinerary. Once you're this far west, It makes no sense to go all the way back to Bonneville or Hood River to cross the Columbia just to avoid Portland. Instead I'm suggesting that you go through Portland in the evening, after rush hour, on I-84/I-305 to just north of Vancouver, WA. This would put you in good shape for your final day's drive back to Seattle via Mount St. Helens.


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