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Seattle, Washington
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Columbia River Gorge + Mt Hood - late May 2014

Hello!

Planning to make a trip down to Oregon to do the Columbia River Gorge + Mt Hood loop drive over Memorial Weekend. Will be my first trip.

At early stages of planning, and have a few questions

1) Is there a preferred direction of driving this CRG + MH loop? Should I follow the direction seen here (Portland -> MH -> CRG) …readersdigest.com/images/…MtHood.pdf or should I do the reverse (ie. Portland -> CRG -> MH). Usually I tend to do my road trips journey involving water body by driving along it (ie. on the lane closer to the water, e.g., SF to LA on PCH) so that i can be closer to the view, but for folks who know better, please share your thoughts with me?

2) What will be a good pit stop point in this CRG + MH loop route? I plan on leave Seattle at 2 pm Friday, so will be at Portland by 5-6 pm, so need to think of good stopping points on Fri + Sat + Sun nights

3) Just curious, why is it that when folks speak abt making the CRG drive, it's always about the Oregon side? I presume there's something to see on the Washington site (Route 14) as well, no? If I want to do the CRG on both OR and WA sides + Mt Hood + Portland Rose Garden. Will I need at least 5 days - including some basic hikes, which i love to do?

4) Is it possible to do the Oneonta Gorge/Falls hike at late May? from pictures I see online, it looks like the Zion NP Narrow's hike, where you need to walk up a creek/stream?

portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Oneonta_Go…

5) For Portland, I plan to visit the Rose Garden (since I missed seeing the blooms last time when I visited in April) only for this trip, since I have visited the city in the past. Will I be able to see a garden filled with Rose blooming everything by end of May?

Thank you in advance for your help!

Portland, Oregon
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1. Re: Columbia River Gorge + Mt Hood - late May 2014

I would drive through the gorge first. Don't worry about driving on the river side because that is I84 which drives along the Columbia River. You are going to be driving along the Historic Columbia River Highway. Here is my trip report from a day trip I took out the CRG last year, which you might find helpful. portlandtraveltips.com/2013/…

The main reason I suggest CRG first is because there is a lot of sightseeing and hiking and you will want to make sure to leave yourself time to see and do it all. In fact, when I get emails asking about doing Mt. Hood and Columbia River Gorge in one day I tell my readers to split it up. I don't think it should be done in one day. Primarily because I think the hiking and sightseeing in the gorge should be given a day by itself. I also love ending a good day in the gorge at Hood River where there is some great wine tasting and places to eat.

You can give Oneonta Gorge a try but make sure you bring a change of clothes and a towel. You are going to get very wet. The water will also be pretty cold in May.

As for the Rose Garden, It is unlikely to be in full bloom in May but there should be some blooms. June is when the garden starts to take off.

Scott

www.portlandtraveltips.com

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: Columbia River Gorge + Mt Hood - late May 2014

ptt - good point, thank you for your advice!

i will do the direction you mention then.

is the CRG drive on WA worth the time? and does it take the same amount of time as the one on OR?

Oregon
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3. Re: Columbia River Gorge + Mt Hood - late May 2014

If you plan going to Mt Hood Wash side not worth it. Hist Col Riv Hw is very clearly best if you plan only one way in Gorge. However. If you drop Mt Hood, Wash side is good drive to get back to Portland

teg

Troutdale, Oregon
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for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
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4. Re: Columbia River Gorge + Mt Hood - late May 2014

Both sides have very interesting views and things to do. IMHO, in May both are equally green.

May is sure better than feb. for Oneonta but still slippery and you must wade through snowmelt water. I won't go until it is hot out or way warmer here. There are way too many great waterfalls you don't have to wade through to visit. I would leave it til July. I don't do cold on purpose. Not back in a gorge where you have to wade out chilly, teeth chattering cold after.

More street level falls are on the Oregon side (especially on the Historic scenic byway from Troutdale to just past Ainsworth State Park where you rejoin I-84 either east or west.

You can always hop over to WA 30 at Cascade Locks "The Steel" Bridge of the Gods will be a good way.Take Hood River >Bridge to get back or vica/versa.

Hood River is a good middle- we are 15 minutes east of there this weekend in The Dalles. GreatColumbia GorgeDiscovery Center here where the buzz is about the Raptor Shows. See them up close twice daily. (The fledglings try their wings at the Biggs Dam very early spring but you may get lucky.)

And finally.. when you travel, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy your vacation your way. East to west, south to north, you will enjoy yourself and turn around if you think you've missed something. If you only see a portion of it, you will enjoy and make return plans to see the rest or not.

They say the Hood River Fruit Loop is exit 62 or 64. Traverse it from either direction and enjoy.

Exit 64 is Oregon 35 and will take you on up to Mt Hood and Timberline Lodge.

You won't be sorry whatever you choose. Enjoy it your way, you have the ideas and options now. Use a search engine like mapquest to make the most of your time.

One last tip. Don't tie yourself up into one or another thing because you may poo pah the first and really want to spend more time the second. Have a general

'I might want to see that" list but pass it up if you find something else to want worse.

Warm regards,

MrsO

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: Columbia River Gorge + Mt Hood - late May 2014

thank you! yes, it sounds like i definitely need to make a return trip bc the more i read abt things, the more i realized there are too many things to fit into 1 weekend. good thing i am just 3h up north so can return anytime :)

thinking abt postponing the fruit loop trip until sometime in july/aug when there are more u-pick seasons and fruits available for purchase

alternatively: weather-wise, would it be much better if i choose to do oregon coast over memorial weekend rather than CRG+Mt Hood? these 2 areas are soemthing i would like to do over this coming summer, so can be flexible in which one to do in the coming weeks. but when i briefly read abt oregon coast (astoria -> brookings), it sounds to me that to maximize sightseeing and activities, one need at least 5 days (one-way).

Troutdale, Oregon
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6. Re: Columbia River Gorge + Mt Hood - late May 2014

Either would be fine.

MrsO

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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7. Re: Columbia River Gorge + Mt Hood - late May 2014

I was just getting ready to ask the same question regarding the best direction to travel the Gorge. We'll be coming from McMinnville and would prefer to go past Mt. Hood first, mainly to avoid Portland traffic. Going this way also fits our schedule better for the fruit loop, wineries, etc. We would stay the night in Hood River and head back to Portland through the Gorge heading west. I'm hoping we won't miss the highlights in the Gorge heading in this direction vs. going eastbound.

Oregon Coast
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8. Re: Columbia River Gorge + Mt Hood - late May 2014

You'll be fine :-) Once you're on the old road you have full access to all the viewpoints and waterfalls from both directions. MrsO can tell you for certain which exit to take off I-80 at the east end - I'm thinking it's #37.

9. Re: Columbia River Gorge + Mt Hood - late May 2014

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