Each of the following is a day trip in itself. Depending on how much hiking you plan to do, you can combine the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood trips into a day-long loop.
You don’t have a car? Ask at the front desk for local discounted car rentals or check out our display board with info about tour companies.
Mount St. Helens Volcano
In 1980, the top 2500 feet blew off this mountain in an unusual lateral volcanic eruption killings 76 people and spreading ash as far away as China. 3 amazing visitor centers tell the story as you travel through this Nation Monument. You’ll see what is left of the devastation area, including a new formed lake.
Drive north on I-5 for about 1½ hours to the beginning of the road that climbs up the mountain. Allow a full day for this trip.)
Bagby Hot Springs
Located in the Mt. Hood National Forest, these natural hot springs are a place you’ll never forget. A 1½ mile hike passes over a river and through old growth forests. The springs feed several wooden tubs and carved out giant logs, some in private shelters. And it is all free—wait! You do need to have a NW Forest Pass (daily and annual available at REI in the Pearl, 15th and NW Johnson).
2-hour drive to the trail head.
Columbia River Gorge
33 waterfalls in a 5-mile stretch drop into the gorge carved over thousands of years by the mighty Columbia River. Multnomah Falls is the highest at 620 feet. You can hike to the top. A number of other hikes leads you to falls, including the Oneonta trail where hiking in water nearly waist high is required. On the drive to the Gorge, the view points at the Women’s Forum and Crown Point are spectacular! Continue on to the City of Hood River, a wind surfing paradise, south through an apple orchid region, and up to Mt. Hood.
30-minute drive to the start of the scenic drive. Allow a full day if you include the Mt Hood Loop or extension hiking.
On a clear day, you’ll see her majestically towers in the distance from the city. At the highest driving point, you’ll reach Timberline Lodge, built in 1936 to provide jobs during the great depression. This incredible wood lodge was used in the original version of the movie, The Shining. There is a guide service that will take you to the top by foot. Timberline Ski Area of 9 lifts and 41 trails is rated by Sierra Club as one of the top 20 “green” ski resorts. Government Camp is a small town on Highway 26, just before the 6-mile road departs to Timberline. In the town are cafes, outdoor supply shops, and lodging. Nearby Trillium Lake provides a post card view of the mountain reflecting in the lake. Here you can hike around a bit. In the winter, it is a popular Nordic ski and snow shoe trail.
1½-hour drive either direction of the loop to Government Camp. Allow a full day if you plan to do the Loop including the Gorge or extension hiking.
The Oregon Coast
The Northern Oregon Coast has spectacular scenery of cliffs, off shore rock formations, sandy beaches, and small towns. The town of Cannon Beach is known for its quality shops and galleries, and its amazing white sandy beach dotted with rock formations, including Haystack Rock. Just north is Ecola State Park with views of off shore rocks, cliffs, and sandy coves. The Tillamook Head Trail leaves the park heading north for 6 miles over Tillamook Head Mountain to Seaside. Or, drive north on highway 101. Seaside has a wide sandy beach and a 2-mile promenade. The town attracts families along its touristy main drag of shops, arcades, and cafes. Spend the night here at Seaside International Hostel. Another 18 miles north is the larger town of Astoria, located at the mouth of the Columbia River.
The Northern Oregon Coast is a 1½-hour drive on highway 26 west. Allow a full day to explore and return to Portland.
Silver Falls State Park
Nestled in the lower elevation of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains lies a temperate rain forest. It is here that the Trail of Ten Falls/Canyon Trail can be found. Hike to, under, and above a number of these falls. Hiking here is something you’ll never forget!
1½-hour drive, southeast of Portland.
Mount Rainier National Park
It’s a bit of a drive but it is the closest National Park to Portland. The tallest of the Pacific Northwest mountains, Rainier is a majestic wonder of forests, rivers, glaciers, and waterfalls. The historic Paradise Lodge and the Jackson Visitors Center are not to be missed. The parks website is www.visitrainier.com.
2½ hour drive, 130 miles.
Spend a day to visit the Oregon Wine Country. Oregon wines are well known, especially the Pinot Noirs. Travel Portland recommends a 100-miles route.