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Loop - Portland to Hood River

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Indiana
posts: 709
reviews: 39
Loop - Portland to Hood River

We will be in the area for a wedding in July. We will be leaving Portland on Sunday and heading east. Thanks to great advice given, I have a route and some plans. We have a reservation for one night in Hood River.

My question involves time. We're not sure how soon we can get away from the family ( ;-) on Sunday. We have to be back near the airport on Monday night. If we get away late on Sunday, should we skip the Mt. Hood portion and just concentrate on the Gorge and possibly the Fruit Loop. We could return on the Washington side. Since we're not spending the night at Timberline, should we just skip this part?

We're mostly interested in sights and photography, a little hiking. Beer and Wine stops for sure.

Thanks, lots of great info here.

Vancouver...
posts: 8,011
reviews: 24
1. Re: Loop - Portland to Hood River

Best thing to do is get a paper map of the area. Figure out how many miles you might drive, see what your time schedule is, figure out your average MPH, and then decide how much time it will take you to travel given your various options. Good Luck. Chuck...

Oregon
posts: 376
reviews: 27
2. Re: Loop - Portland to Hood River

Going in a somewhat clockwise loop:

If you did not stop, it's [ish!] an hour from Portland to Hood River; and a bit over an hour from Hood River to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. And about 90 minutes from Timberline Lodge back to Portland.

Depending on how late you can leave on Sunday, you could head east to Hood River on I-84 and take the exit for the Historic Columbia River Highway -- which takes you past beautiful waterfalls; scenic vistas. You can just ooh and aah out of your car, or stop and take brief or long hikes.

http://www.columbiariverhighway.com

Then spend the night in Hood River where you can partake of the beer and wine part of the journey. :-) It's a nice, walkable downtown.

Then in the morning, head for Timberline Lodge -- a nice place to eat lunch. The Lodge is lovely; you can toss a snowball or two; roam around as long as you have time for. Then head to Portland and your flight. Given it will be July and a Sunday afternoon, I would allow extra time on the Timberline-Portland leg of the trip as there will likely be a lot of summer traffic heading back to the city.

Oregon
Destination Expert
for Newport, Depoe Bay
posts: 8,071
reviews: 39
3. Re: Loop - Portland to Hood River

OK you are spending Sun night in Hood River, and may not get away from Portland til late in day Sun. you need to be back to airport Mon night. Is that to catch a Tues morn flight. So it is possible only day you have is Mon. I would use that in Gorge on Hist Col R Hwy, and Bonneville Dam. Back to Portland on SR-12 would be good, though I-84 a very nice drive.

I just don't believe Loop by Mt Hood that good if pressed for time. Mt Hood very visible from many places, plus best views may be from plane

Edited: 5:57 pm, June 18, 2012
Indiana
posts: 709
reviews: 39
4. Re: Loop - Portland to Hood River

Thanks to all for your replies. This is a hard trip to plan since we're locked into wedding stuff. We're actually not leaving until Wed., but have to drop off our daughter early Tuesday, so the trip is really chopped up.

I'm sure we'll enjoy it no matter what.

Troutdale, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
posts: 5,992
reviews: 78
5. Re: Loop - Portland to Hood River

HI, Bufferson,

You have choices!

If you are dropping off your daughter in Portland, I would think driving the WA side of the Gorge would be the best bet, because you would return on the Oregon side. It's not as pretty that way but the airport is halfway between Troutdale and Portland.

Or you could drive up into Sandy, then to Timberline then down to Hood River for your nights rest. The next morning you would be rested and in Hood River to drive either way east or west. (depending on how early you get out of Portland). Not my favorite route either but it is pretty.

Then my favorite way would be to go on I-84 to Bridal Veil exit for Multnomah Falls (so you don't park in the freeway lot) and visit the Visitor Information Center for ideas and brochures then cross over at Cascade Locks (there is a great Interpretive Center in Stevenson and and extinct short volcano by Bonneville) Drive to Hood River and get your hotel. Then back the next evening on the old Scenic Byway because sunset pictures coming into the Crown Point Vista House are beautiful.

In Troutdale, get off at exit 17 and take it towards Marine Drive. It takes you along the river and at about 132 or so, cut to the left to Airport Drive.

Phirl: I am not familiar with SR12 in Portland area. There is SR 14 in WA that runs along the river or SR 12 out by Walla Walla. Sorry. Can you explain where it is to me? Or is it a typo?

MrsO

Indiana
posts: 709
reviews: 39
6. Re: Loop - Portland to Hood River

Thanks MrsO,

I have a ton of notes, so will just have to see how much time we have.

Oregon
posts: 376
reviews: 27
7. Re: Loop - Portland to Hood River

My thoughts about going on the historic highway heading east out of Portland is the waterfalls would be on the right/south side of the historic highway so you wouldn't have to cross a lane of traffic to pull into a viewing spot or parking area [not that the road is all that busy...]. And if there is any trepidation about driving on curvy roads, heading east is a bit easier on the nerves [the dropoffs are a lane away]. :-)

To catch the historic highway, I believe the exit heading east out of Portland on I-84 is the Corbett exit.

Good point about Mt. Hood -- if the weather cooperates, you will be able to see Mt. Hood from all sorts of vantage points without actually driving onto its flanks. It is fun go to Timberline Lodge, and is probably unlike anything in Indiana, but, that jaunt would take a big chunk of time.

Indiana
posts: 709
reviews: 39
8. Re: Loop - Portland to Hood River

We love the old park lodges and have stayed in several, but just not going to happen this trip.

Troutdale, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
posts: 5,992
reviews: 78
9. Re: Loop - Portland to Hood River

The exit for the Historic Highway is exit 17 if you want to go through Troutdale or Exit 18 if you want to go through the parks (Lewis and Clark) The highway is two lanes so crossing is not a problem, in fact some of the parking for the waterfalls is on the other side of the road. So east or west, it is not a biggy. Being from Indiana, (flatland) you will enjoy the whole historic highway and all of the waterfalls. There are many picnic areas in the CRGNSA.

I drive it weekly and I find it beautiful to drive into the sunset. The majority of the traffic is going East bound so you an easier drive up onto the highway west bound than east bound. My Sister disliked the east bound because of being close to the rocks and boulders. I like it both ways.

The sun setting and twilight over the Vista House is just amazing. Plus you come into the restaurants about time to eat dinner.

Just so you have the facts, you can choose either way.

Have fun planning.

MrsO

10. Re: Loop - Portland to Hood River

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