City Escape: Portland, OR

Text: James T. Parks • Photography: James T. Parks

This route includes some of the most breathtaking scenery in the northwest United States, from sweeping vistas atop Mt. Hood to the geological wonder that is the Columbia River Gorge. Spring, summer, and fall are all glorious seasons to experience this road trip.

Length

Approximately 184 miles.

Meet-up spot

Starbucks, 603 SW Jackson St #216, Portland, OR.

Lunch stop

Timberline Lodge, 27500 E Timberline Rd, Mount Hood, OR, (503) 272-3104. Four restaurants on-site to choose from.

Scenery

The expansive vistas from Mt. Hood are incredible, and the Columbia River Gorge is one of the top scenic wonders in America.

Traffic

Traffic is usually light on the secondary roads, but it is often heavy on the interstate highways.

Difficulty

Except for the historical section of the Columbia River Highway, with its hairpin curves and drop-offs, the ride is only moderately challenging.

Road conditions

Virtually all thoroughfares are in good-to-excellent condition.

Attractions

1. Mt. Hood: At more than 11,000 feet, Mt. Hood is the highest peak in Oregon and the fourth highest in the Cascade Range. It’s home to 12 glaciers.
2. Historic Columbia River Highway: Built through the Columbia River Gorge between 1913 and 1922, the Columbia River Highway was the first planned scenic roadway in America.
3. Multnomah Falls: At 620 feet, these much-photographed falls are the second-tallest in America.
4. Crown Point State Park: The Vista House at Crown Point provides travelers with some spellbinding views.

 

To download the free tankbag map and GPS file, look on the webpage side bar (on the top right side), under "Article Media."