Summer is coming up and if conditions allow it, how about going for a road trip in Eastern Oregon?
Plan a 7 to 10 day-itinerary, depending on what you wish to see.
From Seattle, start your road trip on I-5 South, and then along the Columbia River or through Portland.
Here are a few places to see east of I-5:
Mount Hood and Timberline Lodge
Mount Hood, snow-capped peak standing at 11 240 feet, is Oregon’s highest summit and ranks 4th in the Cascades Range (the three highest peaks being Mount Rainier, Mount Shasta and Mount Baker).
Built in 1937 during the New Deal, Timberline Lodge, standing on Mount Hood, is an impressive building perfect for summer as well as winter. Enjoy ample views on Mount Bachelor and the Three Sisters from the Lodge!
The building was used as a filming location for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, under the name Overlook Hotel. We all have in mind a certain tricycle squeaking along empty corridors.
From the Lodge, a beautiful trail – snowshoes in winter- will take you all the way up to the chairlift.
In winter, you can go skiing around Timberline or in one of Mount Hood’s ski resorts, the biggest of which is Meadows (cross-country and downhill skiing).
John Day, Fossil Rock, Painted Hills
These colored hills are an incredible sight! The site covers about 7 miles and is worth the trip. Painted Hills are part of a paleontological site called John Day Fossil Beds National Monuments. The hills get their name from the colored stratifications in the soil, formed during several geological eras. The tones and hues are due to minerals found in the soil.
Plan a trip to Clarno for its fossils and Palisade, and to Sheep Rock, for its beautiful prominent rock.
Smith Rock State Park
The park is 30 minutes north of Bend. You will find several hiking opportunities around the rock. The trail is steep, bring plenty of water! The trail offers panoramic views over the surrounding mountains and valleys and the scenery is surprisingly diverse: canyons, mountains, valleys, creeks. The place also famous among rock-climbers and you may spot some of on the rock.
Baker City / Pendleton
Those two cities are a great stop along route 84. They are both very quaint and offer great dining opportunities.
In Pendleton, take a tour of the Woolen Mills and enjoy low prices at the store. Pendleton National Park blankets are beautiful high-quality products!
Pendleton is in Northeastern Oregon and it is also a great stop if you’re visiting the Walla-Walla area.
A very nice city, both in summer and winter. Great hotels, fine dining, and Bachelor Ski Resort only 20 minutes away. Bend is also home to Oregon’s largest craft-beer producer, Deschutes.
A major resort for downhill skiing (88 tracks) and cross-country skiing (35 miles), open until May and known for its sunny weather.
Nearby Sunriver Resort is a great lodging option if you’re staying for a few days. You’ll find a great variety of outdoor and cultural activities.
Crater Lake is among the most beautiful natural sites in Oregon. It is the second deepest lake in North-America (average depth 1148 feet), filling a 6 mile wide caldera. Crater Lake National Park was created on May 22nd 1902 and is the only National Park in Oregon.
The lake was formed 7000 years ago, with the volcanic eruption of Mount Mazama. The crater was then filled with water from rain and snow.
The lake’s water is a deep blue color and so pristine it is potable (the site is very remote).
The lodge overlooking the lake offers jaw-dropping views but fills up quickly. Call as soon as reservations open if you wish to stay there. Other lodging options in the park include cabins in Mazama and campgrounds.
Be sure to book a boat tour, it is a unique opportunity to find yourself inside the crater and to set foot on Wizard Island, named for its wizard hat shape.
Waters are cool, even in summer but the place is worth a swim!
Bon voyage !