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Portland plus Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, or Oregon coast?

Mount Pleasant...
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Portland plus Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, or Oregon coast?

My husband and I are planning a trip to Portland for about a week in mid-July. We definitely plan to spend a few days seeing Portland, but we also want to see some nature as well. Which is the best to see? Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, or the Oregon Coast? Or is there something else we should see instead? I've read that there could still be a lot of snow in Mt. Rainier in July, so I'm a bit hesitant to go there. Thanks for any suggestions that you can provide!

Portland, OR
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1. Re: Portland plus Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, or Oregon coast?

I would opt for the Oregon Coast!

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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2. Re: Portland plus Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, or Oregon coast?

I'd give Portland and the Columbia R. Gorge one full day (more later), then head north and stay, e.g., in Ashford, at Mt. RNP entrance if not inside the park.

One day, Mt. Rainier NP. Drive up quite early so you can find an easy parking space at Sunrise or Paradise. Beautiful. Then...

Drive westerly to Astoria then see the OR coast southbound, as far as you like (at least to Florence).

Drive east and pick up I 5 back to PDX. If you have time left over, see more of Portland.

Comments...

No snow worries in July at Mt. Rainier. Much more scenic than Mt. Hood (that's why the former is a national park).

It's a great time to drive/visit the OR coast with its spectacular and diverse geography, nice small towns to explore. I'd emphasize, heading southbound, the towns of Astoria, Cannon Beach, Newport, Yachats, Florence.

If you are very young in heart, Seaside for honky-tonk high school experience.

Cannon Beach area would be a good lodging point, nice little town, scenic beaches and area with state parks north and south. Lodging in CB might require 2 nights, but there is other area lodging. Make reservations as soon as you know your itinerary.

Newport, OR

http://discovernewport.com/

Yachats/Cape Perpetua

fs.fed.us/r6/…

We stay when in Yachats at the Fireside Motel and Overleaf Lodge, both on this website. http://www.firesidemotel.com/Fireside_Motel/

Just south of Yachats, the must-see /Cape Perpetua.

fs.fed.us/r6/…

Columbia River Gorge

http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/columbia/ Here is a useful map contained in this website:

columbiariverhighway.com/historic_columbia_r…

Edited: 15 May 2013, 04:54
Longview, Washington
Destination Expert
for Mount Rainier National Park
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2,567 posts
130 reviews
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3. Re: Portland plus Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, or Oregon coast?

There is also Mt. St. Helens, our resident volcano. It's an easy one day trip from Portland.

www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/mshnvm/

www.mountsthelens.com/

www.visitmtsthelens.com

If you have never been to the Oregon Coast, then by all means, plan to spend at least 2 or 3 days there. It's the most spectacular coastline in the country IMO.

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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4. Re: Portland plus Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, or Oregon coast?

An oversight on my part, yes, Mt. St. Helens is well worth seeing.

If you go to Florence, returning to I-5, Eugene is an interesting town, home of the Univ. of Oregon (of football and track fame - oh, and education!).

Suggest that you plot suggested routes on GoogleMaps to grasp the distances and time, then consider how much time additional for sightseeing, traffic, etc.

BTW, when you visit the Columbia R. Gorge, consider going further east to visit Bonneville Dam; very interesting. Afterward, cross to the WA State side, drive west on SR 14 to I-205 north to I-5 to one or both of the mountains. Or, return on I-84 to I-205 and head north.

Note: Do not use forest service roads; GM sometimes plots these.

I GM'd the entire route, 16+ driving hours, not to worry, very scenic for the most part. But, I'm having trouble with the link, so am sending you a PM with the information.

Edited: 15 May 2013, 16:08
Troutdale, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
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5. Re: Portland plus Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, or Oregon coast?

Our part of the Columbia River Gorge between Troutdale and The Dalles was designated a National Scenic Area in 1984. You can read about it on one of the top questions at the top left corner of the page.

Enjoy your trip,

MrsO

London, Canada
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139 posts
163 reviews
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6. Re: Portland plus Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, or Oregon coast?

We were at MRNP last July and the only snow we encountered, other than in the distance, was the snow at Sunrise. The kids thought it was great to make snowballs in July!

Troutdale, Oregon
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for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
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7. Re: Portland plus Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, or Oregon coast?

Your kids can throw snow balls at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood.

Also, please note that Bonneville Dam is *Part* of the CRGNSA. It runs from Troutdale to The Dalles and is on both Washington and Oregon sides of the river.

MrsO

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35,446 posts
899 reviews
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8. Re: Portland plus Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, or Oregon coast?

Come here to the Oregon Coast! There is beautiful scenery with a lot to do. Explore the towns of Cannon Beach, Seaside, Manzanita and Gearhart! :).

Eugene, Oregon
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for Eugene, Springfield
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9. Re: Portland plus Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, or Oregon coast?

You asked what's best and got the usual answers. Everyone has an opinion, but few agree. From the magnificent seascapes to the snow capped Cascade volcanic peaks -- and everything in between -- the Pacific NW is like a buffet table of nature's treats. The decision as to which is best is up to you. You can't lose, no matter how you decide.

Arlington, VA
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30 posts
8 reviews
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10. Re: Portland plus Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, or Oregon coast?

Ok - I'm going at the same time as these nice folks and can spend a while longer., probably July 4 - July 17. I'm starting with Portland where I'll be at a conference for three days so I may get to see about 1.5 days worth or portland. Please provide suggestions on must-do restaurants both in Portland and anywhere else in Oregon! I've read every post here and intend to couch surf my way around. I'd like to include (if sane) a drive down the coast, crater lake, mount hood, columbia River, Mt st Helens (thanks to you folks), the sisters/Bend area. While I want to see as much beauty as I can, I also don't want to feel rushed. If you folks could give some suggestions as to an itinerary and where to stay, I think I'll stay a total of 14 days including the 4 in Portland. I'm also wondering if Portland could be a base camp for a couple of the trips, making them day trips, or whether I should just start and make a big bunch of loops. Thanks so much!!!