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.
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Louise Giordano says…
I would say stop off at Multnamoah Falls, and take the science route back towards Portland, Oregon. You will find the olderest rest area and much more. Water Falls are my favaorite and you will see lots of those, place to hike, wonderful nature. Good luck.
S. Burks says…
I would add Pendelton to the list- great underground tour, the Prodigal Son serves a great Beer and meal- it’s off the beaten path. Lots of cowboy history. Baker City is fun. Multnomah Falls is a must. Visit the Poor farm- Edgefields Mcmenimins in Troutdale – it’s like a hostel hotel with a spa and winery. The outlet mall and city vintage strip is filled with cute quaint shops and eateries.
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About Ask Oregon Expert Lynne Curry
I'm a city lover, but I moved to one of the most remote places in Oregon to live at the edge of the wilderness in a community of ranchers, artists, and independent types like me. Since I'm a food writer, I blog about eating and the rural lifestyle. My biggest project to date is the cookbook, Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every Cut(Running Press, 2012).