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Old 03-16-2011, 04:49 PM   #1
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Planning trip to Oregon and Washington

We're planning a trip to Oregon and Washington this summer. Due to the distance the AS will be staying at home and we plan to fly into Portland with return via Amtrack. We only have a week to explore and want to make the most of it. We originally thought we would visit Crater Lake NP, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Ranier NP, and Olympic NP. After some preliminary routing it appears we won't have enough time for all of these and we may have to delete at least one destination, possibly Crater Lake. Any suggestions from you folks who have been to all of these fabulous locations would be welcome. We also would like suggestions on NP lodges (and/or motels).
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:31 PM   #2
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I would drop Olympic, unless you want to out to the coast to see the ocean and the rainforest. The lake at Crater Lake is very unique, but I think quite a drive from Portland. Mt St Helens is worth the trip, even though it has really grown up around there. Can't give advice on camping there because where we use to go is no longer there.
Safe travels!
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:00 PM   #3
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I would forgo the Olympics. You could spend a whole week up there and not get to see everything. Rainier is close and Paradise Lodge is neat to see. Crater Lake is about 4 hours from Portland give or take. If you want to see the coast drive to Astoria or Seaside. I prefer Astoria but you could do both since it is close. Go out US 30 and come back on US 26. Longbeach, Wa. is good too and in the area. You really should go see the Columbia River Gorge and Multnomah Falls. They have a restaurant there and the food is good. Take the old Highway out and the Freeway back. Portland is cool too to just bum around for a day and see the sights. I don't have any advice on motels as I don't stay in them here. That's my .02
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:02 PM   #4
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Crater Lake is very beautiful but kind of in the wrong direction. Mt St Helen's is very interesting because of the eruption and has a wonderful visitor center. Mt Ranier is beautiful and has some great lodges to stay at. The Olympic Peninsula is very large and takes more time to see. It is also has more variety of things to see, rain forest, Pacific Coast, beautiful lakes, mountains, rivers, wildlife and logging history.

I think it will be a tough choice but I might do St Helen's, a clock-wise trip around the Olympic Peninsula and finish at Mt Ranier. You may choose to do or not do Mt Ranier depending on how much fun you are having on the Peninsula.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:21 PM   #5
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I tell everyone who comes out here to be sure and see Mt St Helens, because there is just nothing like it! It's worth the day trip, and you'll be back in Portland in time for dinner.

I saw Crater Lake as a child but haven't been back there since. It's very pretty, but it's just never made it back up our priority list. The beach is a must-see, there's so much to do down there.

What kind of stuff do you like to do? Are you hoping to get in some hiking, or hit some museums, or just see the sights?
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Old 03-17-2011, 12:18 AM   #6
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As an Oregonian I am potentially biased, but Crater Lake is a totally unique natural phenomenon. I took the picture last summer. Just make sure that you check the website to make sure that it's not still under snow.
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Old 03-17-2011, 07:25 AM   #7
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You're making a classic mistake of planning a trip that is all travel and no fun. Spend a week in Seattle or spend a week in Portland with day excursions out from your base. Take a AAA guide and do the "Gems." Stay in B&Bs with the Select Registry as your best bet: Select Registry | Bed and Breakfast Inns | Small Luxury Hotels | Romantic Weekend Getaways. Slow down and smell the coffee.
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Old 03-17-2011, 01:41 PM   #8
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Smile I vote for Portland

I also vote for staying in a smaller geographical area. If you're flying into Portland use that as your base and take small day trips. You can stay at the beautiful 1930's lodge on Mt. Hood for at least one night. Travel to Crater Lake and stay in that lodge also. Beautiful place. Now travel up the Columbia River Gorge and see Multnomah Falls and take a hike on one or more of the beautiful trails along side the gorge. Next, for sure you should see Mt. St. Helens. I was living in Portland at the time and saw it blow up. There are still huge piles of ash along side the I-5 freeway as you go north. Now the Oregon coast is spectacular and unlike many states the beach belongs to the public. You may want to spend several days there. Google the Oregon coast and I'm sure you will find plenty of fun things to do. Even if you cram all of the above in you may still have a few days left. Portland has a lot to offer: Powell Books is absolutely huge and a must see if you like to read. The Pendleton store has beautiful woolens that are made in Oregon. Portland is renown for its' parks. Take a hike along side the Willamette River which flows right through the city...

Lots of stuff to do. By the way I love Seattle also as I grew up there but traveling around the Seattle area is a whole 'nother list.
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Old 03-17-2011, 02:36 PM   #9
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It depends on what you want to do—do you like cities or wilderness? Mountains or seashore? Drive a lot or stay in one place for several days?

Oregon Caves NM has not been mentioned. It has an old national park type hotel, though we didn't stay there. It's not all that far from Crater Lake (it's cool, but once I've saw it, I didn't need to go back) but it has a restored NP hotel and Ashland, a town with a Shakespeare festival and an interesting downtown with lots of restaurants and shoppes.

I think each of the 2 states has a lot to offer and trying to do them both in one week is a lot.

If you like Pendleton products, some of their company owned stores have factory 2nds at good prices. You have to go through their confusing website to find which stores have the discounts. We got good deals in Lincoln City, Ore., and Washougal, Wash.

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Old 03-17-2011, 04:38 PM   #10
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You've all provided a lot of great information. I wish we could stay out there for a month or more. This will definitely have to be the first of a series of visits.

I think we are narrowing it down to either Olympia or Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens plus a day trip to Columbia Gorge time permitting.

What is the risk of snow still having roads closed in Mt. Rainier in mid June?
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Old 03-17-2011, 05:15 PM   #11
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We have whittled it down to something practical. Thanks for all your responses and suggestions. We plan to stay three nites in Mt. Rainier (2 at Paradise Inn, 1 at National Park Inn). We will then make a day trip to Mt. St. Helen on our way to Columbia Gorge where we will spend 2 nites. Then back to Portland to get on Amtrack for our scenic ride home. Next trip I hope we have time to drive out and spend a month with our AS!
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by au_ee View Post

What is the risk of snow still having roads closed in Mt. Rainier in mid June?
None, they plow the road to Paradise all year. (at least they used to)

I think you have a good itinerary. Enjoy your trip.
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:53 AM   #13
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What movie comes to mind?

Pretty ambitious itenerary. If you try to do it all in a week, you'll look like Chevy Chase in the scene at the Grand Canyon in Vacation.
My advice, like many others here, is to narrow it down.
I would recommend that you ditch Portland. Fly to Sea-Tac, rent a small car, (gas will be expensive this summer, especially so on the Pacific Coast) and drive to Olympic Nat'l Park.
The park is so diverse, that you can explore a different climate and geography every day. Depending on your budget, you can lodge in Port Angeles or in the Park itself: Olympic National Park (U.S. National Park Service)
Remember, its a VACATION!
Also, take lots of pictures and enjoy the crab and salmon!

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Old 03-22-2011, 11:58 AM   #14
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You can stay in Portland after you arrive, get an early start the next morning and see St Helens. Leave there and go to Rainier Np. Stay at the National Park Lodge. Nice rooms and has a pretty good restaurant in the building. It will be a long haul to Olympic NP and there are two places that my Wife and I really like. One is Crescent Lake lodge. I would try and get one of the "Singer cabins". They have some motel like rooms right on the water but we like the singers better. If time permits try and go to the coast part of the Olympic and stay at the Kalaloch Lodge. They have cabins right on a bluff overlooking the Pacific ocean. We love Crater Lake but it is really out of you way if you want to visit the Washington parks. Email me if you have any questions!
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