Last Updated on November 30, 2023 by Kristin
With its arts-focused culture, Portland is one of the most interesting cities on the West Coast. While the city’s bookstores, galleries and breweries provide fun for travelers, the stunning Pacific Northwest beckons. Here are five of the best road trips from Portland, Oregon.
Fabulous Road Trips from Portland, Oregon
30 miles / 32 mins.
Don’t let the short drive to Multnomah Falls fool you. While this famous attraction is close to the city, its natural landscapes invite visitors to fully immerse themselves in nature. This 620-foot waterfall is the most popular natural site in the Pacific Northwest region, and it’s easy to see why. Simply stop and admire the rushing water from the Benson Bridge or lower viewing platform, or visit several other waterfalls in the area via hiking trails or electric bike. Looking to stay overnight? Pitch a tent at Ainsworth State Park or choose from several local inns in Cascade Locks. Note that during the summer season, timed permits are required to view Multnomah Falls from I-84.
69 miles / 1 hr. 37 mins.
With its snow-capped peak visible on many incoming flights to Portland, Mount Hood is one of the most iconic destinations in Oregon. This dormant volcano is known for its ski resorts whose slopes stay open for much of the year. Alternatively, the mountain can be admired from below on the banks of Trillium Lake. Many hiking trails line the area, including the 7.1-mile loop to Ramona Falls, a 120-foot waterfall known for the unique way water cascades down its rock formations.
79 miles / 1 hr. 29 mins.
Looking to explore Oregon’s wild Pacific coast? Head to the sandy enclave of Cannon Beach. The small city’s beach is known for the unique Haystack Rock formation emerging from the water, which tufted puffins inhabit from April to July to hatch their eggs. Take a birdwatching tour and try to spot bald eagles, cruise the beach on a “fat tire” beach bike and have dinner at one of the town’s many breweries or seafood restaurants like the Wayfarer. Cannon Beach is also home to several food and arts festivals throughout the year, so plan accordingly. >> Recommended hotels in Cannon Beach
174 miles / 2 hr. 50 mins.
No trip to the Pacific Northwest is complete without a stop in Seattle, known for its incredible seafood, museums and coffee. Zoom to the top of the iconic, 605-ft. Space Needle for panoramic views of Puget Sound, or enjoy a steaming bowl of clam chowder at the Pike Place Market. Explore the Museum of Pop Culture and Museum of Flight, sign up for an orca whale watching tour and admire Washington Park Arboretum’s diverse collection of trees and plants when the weather is nice. To squeeze in another adventure on the way to Seattle, stop at Mount Rainier National Park to take in its glacial volcano peaks and hiking trails. >> Recommended hotels in Seattle
Crater Lake National Park
232 miles / 3 hr. 55 mins.
For an adventure off the beaten path, head south to Crater Lake National Park to experience the country’s deepest lake. Take in the park’s dormant volcano landscapes with a trolley or boat tour, or hike the Cleetwood Cove Trail for access to swimming and fishing spots. The route to Crater Lake also passes through two cities worth a stop: Oregon’s capital city of Salem and artsy Eugene. Both are great pit stops for taking in craft breweries, art galleries and restaurants.