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Driving East to West through the Gorge area

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Ohio
posts: 19
reviews: 27
Driving East to West through the Gorge area

We will be leaving first thing in the morning from Richland, WA. We are planning on taking I-84 to Portland and then we are heading up to Port Hadlock (west of Seattle) all during a single day.

We only have the one day. Is it feasible to see some of the falls or take part of the scenic drive?

If so, what would you recommend as being the best options to try and see?

Troutdale, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
posts: 6,405
reviews: 90
1. Re: Driving East to West through the Gorge area

Hi, alwweb,

I would suggest you take it West to East. It just makes sense.

However, whatever freeway or bridge you drive over, take the Oregon I-84 and drive along that freeway until you start seeing The Dalles, Bonneville Dam, Hood River and Cascade Locks.

Start looking for Dodson and Ainsworth State Park. Exit I-84 and go on the Historic Columiba River Highway and you will pass waterfalls. HCRH has been closed all winter but is now open.

You can stop in at Multnomah Falls and walk around.

Then continue up and over the HCRH and visit the Vista House for photos. It is on top of Rooster Rock. Then finish taking the HCRH clear into Troutdale where you can return to the freeway just outside of town.

You should be good from there.

Have fun,

MrsO

Edited: 12:42 pm, March 02, 2013
Oregon
Destination Expert
for Newport, Depoe Bay
posts: 8,202
reviews: 42
2. Re: Driving East to West through the Gorge area

That is close to 500 mile day. Are you planning to go on 101 along Hood Canal?

Ohio
posts: 19
reviews: 27
3. Re: Driving East to West through the Gorge area

MrsO, since we are starting our trip in Ohio and going home by a more northerly route, west to east does not work. There are tons of websites offering plans for west to east, but unfortunately, that does not work for us.

phirl, yes, my TripTik is showing a total of 419 miles with no side trips. Right now, my map has me going I-82 south to I-84 West to I-5 North for the 419 miles and they say just under 7 hours (probably low timing but accurate mileage from past AAA experiences). Since we have a 2 day break from driving after this day, I am hoping to make it a 10-12 hour day and be able to see at least a little of what looks to be a gorgeous area that we may not get back to for a long time.

I don't see 101 on my map, but I would like to take something other than the freeway for at least 20 or 30 miles (more if feasible) to break up the monotony. from my map, 30 looks like an alternative, but I can't tell from the map where I can get on and off of it.

Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.

Troutdale, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
posts: 6,405
reviews: 90
4. Re: Driving East to West through the Gorge area

Richland, WA is in the southeast of Washinton. Isn't that were you were planning on starting?

If you want to go

West to East, thenpick up the HCRH in Troutdale and follow the route til you want to stop.

I guess I am a little stumped here. If you are starting from Ohio, where are you starting into the Gorge?

You could see just Multnomah Falls by getting off at Bridal Veil Exit and heading east into the parking lot then follow the HCRH to Ainsworth State Park and you would see several waterfalls that way anrd it would take much shorter time. (I say Bridal Veil exit because I prefer not to park in the Freeway lot. This parks you in the Lodge parking lot.)

Mrs O

Oregon
Destination Expert
for Newport, Depoe Bay
posts: 8,202
reviews: 42
5. Re: Driving East to West through the Gorge area

woops. I missed you were starting in Richland. somehow I thought Spokane.

101 goes along Hood Canal north from Olympia, think that would be shortest way to Port Hadlock. It is mostly 2 lane. You could go across Tacoma narrows Bridge. but I would not go into Seattle

Starting from Richland you do have some time for the Gorge

Edited: 5:45 pm, March 02, 2013
Ohio
posts: 19
reviews: 27
6. Re: Driving East to West through the Gorge area

phirl,

No problem on the mix up on the starting location. We are debating over 101 from the south up vs 3 and 16 after Olympia. I have no desire to see Seattle this trip, so either 101 or the Tacoma narrows bridge works, but I'm not sure which will be a nicer drive.

MrsO.

Will finding the falls from the Bridal Veil exit of I-84 be obvious, even coming from the east?

I may be confused, since I have never been to this area before, but I thought the HCRC ran parallel to I-84. I would like to avoid back tracking if possible since we have 419 plus miles to drive that day.

Yes, I am planning on starting in the East of WA and going to the North West of WA, so that is why I want to drive East to West and not west to east. I don't want to drive the same mileage 3 times rather than once.

Can you please tell me where you can get on and off the HCRC to I-84.

Thanks to both of you for the help.

Ohio
posts: 19
reviews: 27
7. Re: Driving East to West through the Gorge area

Mrs O.

I spent some time looking up each individual town and I think I figured it out. You were actually thinking and talking about driving "East to West", but you accidentally typed west to east at the beginning of your post. Because I didn't know any of the town names, I didn't realize there was just a minor typo.

I'm sorry for sounding a bit dense earlier. I was able to take the towns you mentioned and see where the exits off of I-84 were and all. Thank you very much.

Oregon
Destination Expert
for Newport, Depoe Bay
posts: 8,202
reviews: 42
8. Re: Driving East to West through the Gorge area

Assume you have already done trip, so no need for more comments. you sads leaving first thing in morning

Edited: 11:45 pm, March 02, 2013
Ohio
posts: 19
reviews: 27
9. Re: Driving East to West through the Gorge area

Sorry, I didn't this morning, I just meant we were getting an early start. It will be April 29th when we go.

I'm going to use getting old and being stressed as my excuse for not being clear when I originally posed my questions. I would love any additional info you have.

Troutdale, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
posts: 6,405
reviews: 90
10. Re: Driving East to West through the Gorge area

From the east take the Dodson exit into the waterfall area. I am really sorry for the typo. You will see more waterfalls if you do this and end up right in the parking lot for Multnomah then go on over the hill to see the rest. You will love the Vista House.

Places for lunch would be the Lodge (upstairs or at the snack bar) or on the farside of the HCRH would be Tippy Canoes on the Sandy River in the Troutdale area or the General Store in Troutdale. Fun good old fashioned gift store and eats. I see lots of candies I ate as. a child and theme merchandise I love there.

Best

MrsO