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Scenic drive from Seattle to Portland help

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Kansas City...
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Scenic drive from Seattle to Portland help

My husband and I are planning on visiting Seattle and Portland in March. We are going to fly into Seattle and out of Portland and rent a car to drive between. We will have all day and will be on our own schedule, so are there suggestions on a scenic drive from Seattle to Portland? We would love to see both mountains and coast if possible. No real limit on time, just what we can do in a day. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

seattle
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1. Re: Scenic drive from Seattle to Portland help

I used to drive that every wk or two and in March especially I don't think there is any 'scenic' route. Its better to get into Portland and spend a day along the Columbia River Gorge. You could divert from I-5 at Longview and go thru Astoria and down to Seaside or Cannon Beach but that would only be if you could overnite on the coast for a day or two before heading to Portland. The Washington coast isn't very interesting and the route is more inland so you never really see the 'ocean'.

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: Scenic drive from Seattle to Portland help

Agree with davidgmg - early start, push the pedal and get to the Columbia River ASAP. When you get close, take the I-205 "bypass" route to the east side of Portland, then get off I-84 in Troutdale and follow the "historic Gorge highway" (US 30 in spots) through the Columbia Gorge to Crown Point and Multnomah Falls, then back either on the same road or on I-84 to Portland. In March the waterfalls along the old ("historic") highway ought to be something to see, given it's a wet time of year.

Seattle, Wa
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3. Re: Scenic drive from Seattle to Portland help

There are some scenic out-and-back detours you can take (ie up to Rainier if the weather is good and roads are clear), but the I-5 corridor is probably the least scenic drive in all of the PNW. In the summer we could route you over the Cascades east of Seattle then back west through the Columbia Gorge to Portland, but in the winter, the most scenic way that makes sense (Chinook Pass) is closed, and the other mountain passes are an iffy proposition--March is a snowy month for our mountains. I agree with the above--for March, the Gorge is probably the best idea. You could visit the coast from Portland, but it will be cold and wet.

The only way to see mountains and coast in a day is to visit the Olympic Peninsula, but that's way too much of a detour given your time constraints.

Poulsbo, Washington
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4. Re: Scenic drive from Seattle to Portland help

March is not a good time for a detour. This question gets asked a lot. The Columbia Gorge is by far the best option. March is too early for the mountains and the Olympics are way too far out of your way and a day is not enough time.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Scenic drive from Seattle to Portland help

<<No real limit on time, just what we can do in a day.>> That's a pretty restrictive time limit. Perhaps a stop to see around Olympia, or visit the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, or you might have time for a short detour up Mt. St. Helens, but that's about it.

I'm assuming that you will have some time in Portland and will be able to do some of the day trips from there.

Poulsbo, Washington
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6. Re: Scenic drive from Seattle to Portland help

In March you will not be able to get too close to St. Helens if it is even out of the clouds.

Edited: 24 September 2012, 21:14
Waleska, Georgia
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7. Re: Scenic drive from Seattle to Portland help

Hello Christy we are looking at this same Seattle Portland route in the summer (last week of July or 1st week of July) so I am interested in your Cascade Mountain route please.

Eugene, Oregon
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8. Re: Scenic drive from Seattle to Portland help

Stephanie S...you are tagging on to an old thread regarding a trip made last month. Any travel in the Cascades in July will be totally different than in March, when snow eliminates many of the options available in July. You should start a new thread, with your own itinerary questions. Any responses you get will surely be more appropriate to your needs.

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9. Re: Scenic drive from Seattle to Portland help

I have a question... so my friend and I are planning a trip down the west coast. Now that I'm seeing this thread it is making me want to take the extra time to drive around the Colombia River Loop. Will we be able to see any of the waterfalls or breathtaking views just along the drive, or do you need to stop and hike down trails to see them? I'm only asking because we don't really have an entire day to spend here. But we can do like 4 hours if driving around it will be worth it.

seattle
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10. Re: Scenic drive from Seattle to Portland help

Hi, I see your new but its more helpful to start a new thread than resurrect one from 2012. You can easily stay on I-5 and do a detour to see Multnomah falls and the other falls in the Columbia river gorge. You could spend 1/2 a day without detouring far from 5. Its easy and no big hike involved.