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I will be traveling from Portland to Baker City and want to take 2 days for the trip. I love art/sculpture, local crafts, scenery and small towns. Can you suggest a good overnight point for my first night?

I recommend a driving route on the Old West Highway (26) that will take you over Mt Hood, through small towns along Highway 26 and along the scenic John Day River directly to Baker City. The total driving time is about 7 hours.

For your first night—if you’re up for driving—is the quaint town of Mitchell, Oregon, about 4 hours away from Portland. If you’d like to save the bulk of your driving and sightseeing for the next day, treat yourself to a night at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.

Answered by Lynne Curry, Ask Oregon Eastern Oregon Expert on August 17th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What are some fun festivals in Eastern Oregon?

A great music festival is the  The Bronze, Blues & Brews music festival. Over Labor Day weekend is Juniper Jam, a great showcase of regional musicians in the folk/rock tradition. I highly recommend both. Two important cultural festivals include the Maxville Gathering that celebrates the logging history in Oregon and the annual Nez Perce art show. One of the biggest and most celebrated festivals is the Pendleton Roundup in September.

If there’s a particular type of festival or one in another part of Eastern Oregon you’d like to know more about, please let me know.

Answered by Lynne Curry, Ask Oregon Eastern Oregon Expert on August 17th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What to visit in Eastern Oregon for 2 days?

Two days in Oregon will give you time to explore the Oregon Trail and native American history, including the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute around Pendleton or further east in Baker City at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Check out geologic history in the Painted Hills and the John Day Fossil Beds, including the amazing Thomas Condon Paleontology Center. If you’re looking for wilderness adventure, head to the Wallowa Mountains in the northeastern corner of the state or the Steens in Southeastern Oregon. For a great overview and idea planning, I recommend you start here.

We are in Roseburg & want to go to Eastern Oregon beyond Crater Lake and head north towards Ione with our travel trailer. We like hiking and biking too. Where should we stop and what should we see on the way?

If you go north from Crater Lake toward Bend on 97, you can then head east on Highway 26. You will pass through wonderful small towns between Prineville and Mitchell as well as plenty of campgrounds and hiking options in the Ochoco National Forest. From Mitchell, you can follow the John Day River on Oregon 19, a beautiful route that will lead you directly to Ione.

My wife and I will be traveling by car from Boise to Portland along I-84 in June. We have two or three days for the journey. What highlights do you recommend we consider?

As you may know, the trip from Boise to Portland is roughly a 7-hour car ride, direct. But I have a different idea for you that will take you a bit longer, but what sights and scenery you will see!

First, you may want to plan a few hours in downtown Boise. It has come a long way. Then, I recommend you proceed on I-84 into Oregon (you’ll change your watch back 1 hour) until you reach Payette and Highway 26 heading West. From here, you will be traveling on one of the most scenic highways in the state along the John Day River. It will be flooding in June (no worries, but sign up for a rafting trip, if you like). There are charming towns along the way, an old Chinese apothecary museum in the town of John Day and bed & breakfasts and small lodgings to choose from as you head toward Fossil.

Also you will be passing through  one of the most geologically significant regions in the state complete with fossils (into dinosaurs) and the pastel-colored hills of The Painted Hills, so you’ll want to take your time. There are innumerable places to stop for sightseeing and rock hounding and visiting the amazing Paleolands Institute along with other side trips to fossil beds if you’re interested.  From the tiny town of Fossil you will wind out of the desert and join I-84 where you will meet the mighty Columbia River. Travel all along its borders and stop for lunch or dinner in Hood River, the windsurfing capitol where you’ll find lots of eateries, good coffee and sporty, adventuresome types. Spend a second night in this charming town, if you like. From here, it’s just 1 hour through The Gorge, another scenic highway, to downtown Portland.

Hi we are planning a trip to Mount St Helens in July. We are coming in from Calgary with two tough girls aged 9 and 11. We will be very close to Oregon, and was wondering what fun things are there to do in Oregon? We had fun last year on the Hiawatha Trail in Idaho. I heard there were volcanoes near the coast? What fun ideas are there for a family visiting Oregon? – Jason W.

I think your girls would really enjoy spending some time hiking a few of the waterfalls along the Historic Highway in the Columbia River Gorge. I spend a lot of time there with my girls (5 and 11). We also enjoy visiting Bonneville Dam and feeding the trout at the fish hatchery there.

Further out of the way, but really an adventure my family enjoys, is visiting the Painted Hills and John Day Fossil Beds in Eastern Oregon. It might be worth going out of your way on your return trip to visit. The kids can even dig for their own fossils behind the high school in the town of Fossil, then head over to the ghost town of Shaniko.

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My friend and I are planning a motorcycle ride over to the Oregon Coast from Northern Idaho near the end of July. Any roads or towns you would recommend hitting? We would like to spend some time near the ocean and find some good local brews.

There’s a coveted motorcycle route through the Wallowas on the 39 road (Hell’s Canyon Scenic Byway) from Joseph to Halfway—if you have the time. To get to the Wallowas from North Idaho, you’d come through Moscow and Lewiston over highway 82—another epic two-lane roadway—to Enterprise. That’s where you’ll find Terminal Gravity brewpub, one of the first small crafters in the state and home of a great IPA. (I am a huge fan of  their single hop variety double IPAs only available at the brewpub.) If you take the 39 road, you’ll end up on Highway 84 in Baker City, where you’ll find Barley Browns Brewpub. I also recommend a stop in Pendleton at Prodigal Son Brewery. From there you can continue on I-84 and swing through Hood River and the Double Mountain Brewery before high tailing it to the coast.

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What do they have to do in Whitney, Oregon?

If you’re looking to visit ghost towns like Whitney, Eastern Oregon’s the place.

Answered by Lynne Curry, Ask Oregon Eastern Oregon Expert on February 3rd, 2012 - Post Your Answer
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