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Which route from Portland to Eugene to Portland?

Georgia
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Which route from Portland to Eugene to Portland?

We are arriving in Portland in September then heading to the Willamette area for a few days.

Back to Portland to meet friends (a must do). From there we need to decide what direction to take for a day trip to Eugene for the weekend football game. Then, what route for a two day trip back to Portland. Considering driving up the coast to Astoria for a stay? Very open to ideas! Maybe a big loop?

Edited: 01 May 2013, 19:04
Portland, OR
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1. Re: Which route from Portland to Eugene to Portland?

You mention going to "the Willamette" for a couple of days. Portland is in the Wilamette Valley. There is also the Willamette River and the Willamette Valley wine country. Are you referring to the wine country?

How much time will you have to get from Portland to Eugene? It is best to head south down the coast so you can more easlity pull over. You can head west on 26 to 6 toward the coast, stop in Tillamook at the Tillamook Cheese Factory and Blue Heron. I prefer Blue Heron where you can taste different gourmet foods such as jams, mustards and cheese plus do some wine tasting.

From there head south on 101 but you will be inland for a bit traveling through beautiful farmland until you get towards Lincoln City. If you have time you can drive the 3 Capes Loop, which I love but some don't like the roads (potholes). Or skip the loop but take the turnout to Pacific City to see the big dune at Cape Kiwanda.

Then continue south towards Newport, checking out Nye Beach and the Historic waterfront. You can cut back east toward 1-5 here or head on down to Florence and head east to Eugene. If you go as far as Florence, I recommend checking out Yachats. I love that little coastal town!

On the way back, maybe take a detour to Silver Falls State Park for a nice hike before heading back to Portland.

Eugene, Oregon
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2. Re: Which route from Portland to Eugene to Portland?

So, as I understand it, you're looking for a one-day itinerary from Portland to Eugene and a two-day itinerary getting back to Portland. Right?

PDXWindJammer's suggestion is OK, but I'd make a few adjustments. I'd omit the Three Capes Loop and Cape Kiwanda (as much as I love Cape Kiwanda, I'm not sure this fits into a comfortable day's drive to Eugene) and I'd drive as far as Florence, since some of the coasts most impressive seascapes are between Yachats and Florence. Keep in mind, this will be a lot of driving and we can either shorten it more or add suggestions depending on your feedback.

As for returning to Portland, I'd recommend taking 126 out of Eugene/Springfield along the McKenzie Hwy (stopping to see Sahalie Falls) to the 20 to Sisters and into Bend for the night. Depending on when in September you'll be coming, Old McKenzie Hwy #242 might still be open and is worth the drive over the lava beds to Dee Wright Observatory and great views of the Three Sisters. From Bend you can zip up to Mt. Hood (Timberline Lodge) and return to PDX via the Columbia Gorge.

Georgia
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3. Re: Which route from Portland to Eugene to Portland?

So sorry...I do understand Willamette includes Portland..I meant the wine country. That's an excursion for just the two of us. Our friends arrive into Portland after our wine trip then on to Eugene...mid Sept.

From there we need the expert help....We will have a day to drive Portland to Eugene. On the Sunday, AFTER game day, we will begin our trek back up to Portland and have Sun, Mon. to explore. Departure on Tuesday noon.

Love to know more about Florence and Yachats...what stops along the way from Portland? Must do sites? Time to leisurely get to Eugene by early evening-ish?

Eugene, Oregon
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4. Re: Which route from Portland to Eugene to Portland?

I would take Hwy 18 to Lincoln City (I know, this takes you back through the wine country). Then south on 101. Don't spend any time in Lincoln City, just bear with the traffic and get through town. Stop in Depoe Bay, smallest bay in the world and famous for whale watching. The waves crash right up against the highway, which sports a few blocks of interesting shops and restaurants. The whale watch center is right there also.

Next stop Newport. Two lighthouses, a historic bayfront where you can get up close and personal with sea lions, a great aquarium (that you won't have time for) and a marine science center. Then on to Yachats, an attractive little town just two miles from Cape Perpetua (great hiking, tidepools, blowhole and great views over the ocean and the coastline, especially from the lookout up on the cliffs that was used for spotting Japanese subs in WWII). Lots of highway pullouts along this stretch where you can explore beaches and rocky shores. Between Yachats and Florence great seascapes. Old Town in Florence is on the Siuslaw River where it flows into the ocean. Nice shops, restaurants, etc.

Here's where you'll turn eastward on 126. Just inland is Three Rivers Casino & Resort. Looking for a coffee break around now, check out Alpha-Bit in Mapleton an interesting café & store run by a commune that features organic home made fare, including great pies.

Other options along the way:

http://www.sandland.com/ Take a ride in a dune buggy.

Darlingtonia Botanic Garden....just as you enter Florence from the north, watch for the sign. The garden is just off 101 and only takes 10-15 minutes to visit. Fantastic cobra lilies.

Georgia
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5. Re: Which route from Portland to Eugene to Portland?

I love your ideas!! It will be a loonngg day from Portland to Eugene with all the stops we will no doubt want to make. But, sounds like a beautiful way to get there.

What is your opinion of spending the last two days along the Columbia River Gorge? Specifically the Columbia Gorge Hotel as home base? While I hate interstates, it might be best time-wise to get quickly up north from Eugene, head east and spend time getting to the hotel. Next day, more trekking around east and west. Last day just drive directly to the PDX. ???

Eugene, Oregon
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6. Re: Which route from Portland to Eugene to Portland?

Whether to spend your time crossing the Cascades or in the Columbia Gorge is totally up to you. You won't go wrong either way. I'm sure you'll hear from some on the forum who think the Gorge is the highlight of the Pacific NW. I love the coast and the mountains more...but that's just a personal preference, not an official rating status. Whichever way you go, you'll need to come back to see other areas of Oregon.

Georgia
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7. Re: Which route from Portland to Eugene to Portland?

Thanks for your help! Think we have made a plan....that will probably change 30 times between now and then. But that's the fun!

Georgia
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8. Re: Which route from Portland to Eugene to Portland?

Another question has popped up.... When leaving Eugene on a Sunday via McKenzie Hwy, about how much time realistically should we allow to drive to Timberline Lodge, including stops, lunch, etc.? Trying to decide on a good overnight spot and hope we could make it to Timberline.

Vestal, New York
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9. Re: Which route from Portland to Eugene to Portland?

As mentioned earlier, Bend is an ideal overnight spot between Eugene and Timeberline Lodge via the Mc Kenzie Hwy.

Georgia
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10. Re: Which route from Portland to Eugene to Portland?

rjr, I understand that Bend was mentioned. My question is what real time should we expect if we skip Bend and continue on to Timberline Lodge? I can read the estimated drive time and mileage, but would like to know if it's too ambitious when you're really driving and including stops, etc.