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Coast or Columbia River Gorge?

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Washington DC
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Coast or Columbia River Gorge?

I am currently in Portland and have one more day with a car tomorrow. We are trying to decide whether to do the Oregon coast or the Columbia River Gorge area. It doesn't look like we could do both. We went to the wine country today and loved it. Any suggestions on which one we should do with our day will be appreciated. Thanks!

Troutdale, Oregon
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for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
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1. Re: Coast or Columbia River Gorge?

If you knew me, you would expect that I would suggest the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

It's getting cooler, although the weather man said it is going to change. The coast is at least 1&1/2 hour drive each way.

The Gorge is maybe 30 minutes.

They are just had the Pear Festival in Hood River, but the Fruit Loop will be humming. It is a scenic route of all the orchards in Hood River. Fresh fruit and flavored organic Honeys. Beautiful views of Mount Hood every turn.

Multnomah Falls, where I volunteer, is beautiful. The trees there are changing color. The salmon may be spawning in the creek below the falls. Since it's shallow, you can see them swimming and it's like a big natural koi pond with Salmon. The visitor information center is staffed with volunteers that can give you an overview of all that is to do, and give you brochures on the sights you may like. They have trail maps if you like to hike. They know the picnic areas, and may direct you where ever you choose in the area.

The Gorge is 80 miles long along the Columbia River, on both the Washington and Oregon sides.

Just for a short list,

You can take the scenic old highway 30 from exit 17 through the town of Troutdale and you will enjoy several falls and vistas.

There is Bonnyville Dam and Locks. You can see the fish in the ladder. There is a sturgeon pond with a 17-18' Herman the Sturgeon in residence.

The Mt. Hood RR, an old steam train that can take you up to Parkdale, Pretty near the top of Mt.Hood. Each time the train goes a little further toward Parkdale, you get fantastic pictures of Mount Hood up close.

Saving the time driving, you may enjoy this better. You can do as little walking or as much as you like.

The Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls, looks daunting, but it is a half mile, and like a stroll in a mall. There's even a bench on the way up. The sight from the bridge is astounding.

Inside the visitor center, check out the 400 ton basalt Rock that broke off and fell over a wedding party posing for pictures. The good picture that someone got is behind the desk there. Ask a volunteer behind the desk for information on it

.

Whatever you choose, I am sure you will love.

Min

Edited: 23 September 2010, 08:15
Portland, OR
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2. Re: Coast or Columbia River Gorge?

That is a tough one! I love both areas so much!

If you have never been to the coast and you have a full day, I would choose the Oregon Coast. It is one of the most spectacular coast lines in the world, IMHO. Go to Cannon Beach, since it is the closest but also explore some of the other smaller towns nearby like Manzanita.

It is going to be nearly 70 degrees at the beach tomorrow, which is unusual even in mid summer! This time of the year during the week it isn't too busy either.

Portland, Oregon
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3. Re: Coast or Columbia River Gorge?

I'm thinking "tomorrow" is actually today, so may be too late with this, but I'll throw in my vote for the coast. Don't miss:

Poking around Cannon Beach;

Tidepools at the base of Haystack Rock;

Ecola State Park.

Return to Portland via either hwy 6 from Tillamook, in which case possible stops include:

Hug Point;

Short Sands Beach at Oswald West;

Cape Meares State Park.

Or, via hwy 30 from Astoria, in which case I'd suggest you cross the bridge for a visit to North Head Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment State Park. And sail balsa wood airplanes from the top of the Astor Column.

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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4. Re: Coast or Columbia River Gorge?

What mistletoe said ;-)

Portland, OR
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5. Re: Coast or Columbia River Gorge?

Do the Columbia River Gorge loop. Go out I-84 to Multnomah Falls, but get off I-84 5 or 10 miles before the Falls and take the old hwy to the Falls. The Falls are GREAT. Then go East to the Fish Hatchery . The Fish Hatchery is so much fun, to see all of those yummy fish jumping and swimming. Also at the Hatchery is the Stergeon exhibition. Not to be missed, since I suspect you won't have seen anything like Herman the Stergeon before. Get back on I-84 an get off at cascade locks. Follow the off ramp around and around to the parking lot of the hamburger joint. In the parking lot there will likely be the Indians with their ice chests full of big beutiful same day caught salmon. Since you probably can't buy one to cook up, you might just buy some smoked salmon from them. Get back on I-84 to Hood River. Hood River has shops and restaruants, but the wind surffers probably aren't out unless the wind is howling. Take the hwy up to Mount Hood and around the Mountain. When you are at the top there will be a turn-off to head up to Timberline Lodge. This is VERY well worth the time. After Timberline, head on back to Portland. This is a loop drive and so you don't see the same stuff coming and going.

Troutdale, Oregon
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for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
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6. Re: Coast or Columbia River Gorge?

Just a note, the fish hatchery and Bonnyville Dam are two different places. There is a fish hatchery by Eagle Creek, and there is the Dam on the Oregon side and the Dam has a sturgeon pond and a hatchery too. You can see the fish in the ladders there. It's great I agree.

min

Portland, Oregon...
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7. Re: Coast or Columbia River Gorge?

A 70 degree day at the Oregon Coast is not to be missed (though the Gorge is a great alternative).

Try the Three Capes Scenic Route on the coast, starting southwest of Tillamook, wander through Cape Meares, Oceanside, Netarts, Cape Lookout and Pacific City. A beautiful drive through small coastal villages, and fabulous beaches, with incredible views all along the way.

Enjoy your trip.

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8. Re: Coast or Columbia River Gorge?

Let us know where you ended up, it's a gorgeous day on the coast today! :)

9. Re: Coast or Columbia River Gorge?

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