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.

Answered by Lynne Curry, Ask Oregon Expert
April 26th, 2012

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  1. 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.

    Written on May 2nd, 2012 / Flag this Comment
  2. 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.

    Written on December 17th, 2014 / Flag this Comment
  3. Carrol Glimp says…

    Where is the best spot to stay overnight between Boise Idaho and Eugene Oregon

    Written on November 3rd, 2015 / Flag this Comment
  4. Michelle quilantan says…

    Me and my husband is taking a trip to newport oregon. We are coming from burley idaho. We would like to know where would be a good half way point to stop at. So we don’t have to drive all day.

    Written on September 29th, 2016 / Flag this Comment
  5. debby says…

    What would the drive be like from Portland to Boise in December?

    Written on November 17th, 2016 / Flag this Comment
  6. Pam Carbonel says…

    Multinoma falls is a nice stop,and drive along the old hwy thats really cool

    Written on December 12th, 2016 / Flag this Comment
  7. Kath Wallace says…

    Definitely save time for the Pendleton Underground tour. They have restored several blocks of dormitories, shops, bars…even a jail! They also take you on a tour of the local “cozy” rooms.
    Also…near Maryhill there is an intact replica of Stonehenge, which is a war memorial.
    Also, the cheese steak sandwiches at Big Horse Brewery (Hood River) is to die for!

    Written on May 10th, 2017 / Flag this Comment

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).

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