Oregon Road Trip Ideas
Welcome to Part 2 of the Ultimate Seattle Round-Trip Family Road Trip. This post covers fun things to do from Portland to Baker City.
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This Oregon road trip picks up where part 1 left off. Part went from Seattle to Olympic National Park in Washington. You can also just begin in Portland if you’re not coming from Seattle.
Here you’ll find some great ideas for Portland and Mt. Hood National Forest as you pass through on your way to Idaho. Hop in, grab the kids, and come along for this Oregon road trip from Portland to Baker City!
Table of Contents
If you are continuing from Olympia…
Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Stop at Gifford Pinchot National Forest on the way to Portland. This is one of the oldest national forests in the US, and over 1 million acres!
From the west side of the park, visit the Castle Lake viewpoint for a great view of Mt. St. Helen’s. There you can enjoy the view on one of the benches or walk the trails. If you have more time to spend in the park, visit Coldwater Lake, where the kids can enjoy a boardwalk stroll and pack a lunch to eat in the picnic area.
But if you are beginning this road trip in Portland, start here:
1. Portland with Kids on your Portland to Baker City Road Trip
Washington Park in Portland
Parking can be limited during busy months, so once you are in the park, feel free to use the free seasonal shuttle to explore the many things Washington Park has to offer! Here are a few highlights:
- International Rose Test Garden– (a perfect place after your chocolate walking tour…because chocolates and roses go hand-in-hand!) Walk thru several acres of land, covered in over 8,000 roses. And you can do it all for free!
- Hoyt Arboretum– 190 acres and 12 miles of trails that are free to roam. The trails are shaded by the “living museum” of trees that have been preserved for recreation and educational opportunities. In summer, stop by on a Saturday for a free guided tour ($3 suggested donation). https://www.hoytarboretum.org/
- Japanese Garden- when a formed Japanese ambassador came to the Japanese garden, he said it was the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan that he’d seen. So, it’s really worth stopping here! Beautiful plants and natural features make this a relaxing and breath-taking place to explore. ($19/adult)
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Portland
A 9.5 acre garden dedicated to rare and hybrid rhododendrons, as well as azaleas and different tree species. This is great any time of year, but in spring you will find the rhododendrons in full blooom! ($5/age 10+) https://www.crystalspringsgardenpdx.org/
Forest Park Trails in Portland
Forest Park is a great place to get out and explore during your Portland to Baker City road trip.
5,200 acres and 7 miles of trails lead you through the lush, green forest. The trails are well maintained, and have various spots for different hiking abilities. Port-a-potties available. https://forestparkconservancy.org/
Pittock Mansion in Portland
past home of Henry and Georgiana Pittock, who traveled the Oregon trail to find a place out west. Henry worked for The Oregonian and later became its owner. The successful newspaper still runs daily today!
Cannon Beach. Image by Sam Jotham Sutharson
Cannon Beach near Portland
This is a real beauty, and a bit outside of Portland, but totally worth a stop on your Portland to Baker City Road Trip. We actually had a vacation planned here for a few months ago, but COVID started hitting and it all got canceled. Which is really sad, because this beach looks amazing.
Enjoy the day at one of the beautiful beaches in Cannon Beach, and make sure and see the iconic Haystack Rock.
Want to see more of the coast? Check out this Day Trip with RT transport from your Portland Hotel.
Saturday (and Sunday) Market in Portland
As the largest, ongoing market in the nation, there is something for everyone! Whether you’re after some local produce, flavors, or crafts, you’ll find something you love. Over 250 businesses from all over the Northwest attend each Saturday at the market at Waterfront Park.
Next Stop On the way to Baker City city on your Oregon Road Trip:
2. Mount Hood National Forest – next stop from Portland to Baker City
Take in Mt Hood
About an hour-and-a-half outside of Portland, this National Forest is worth the stop from Portland to Baker City. Be sure to see experience Mount Hood, the tallest mountain in Oregon that has both snowfields and glaciers.
Multnomah Falls on your Portland to Baker City Road Trip
On your way to/from Mount Hood, make sure to stop at the ever-popular Multnomah Falls. From the parking lot, it’s an easy 5 minute walk to the viewing area to the falls. Be sure to go all the way to the bridge for the best viewing, only a few hundred feet farther on a paved trail.
For easy planning, book an excursion for Multnomah Falls and Columbia River George Waterfalls. Or, see both Mt. Hood and Multnomah Falls on this day-trip!
Image by imarketem
3. Baker City, Oregon
Ever heard of Baker City? I hadn’t. But it’s worth a stop on this Oregon road trip to not only stretch out, but have the kids participate in some history!
If you aren’t continuing on to Idaho, then this is the last stop in your Portland to Baker City road trip.
National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center on the Oregon Road Trip
Come here to experience live demonstrations and 4 miles of interpretive-trails. Learn about those who traveled the Oregon Trail by seeing exhibits and exploring the trails. You can find ruts made on the land from the actual wagons or even remnants of an old gold mine.
- $5-$8 for 16+, depending on time of year
- free under 16
- National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center
Recommended Excursions (for easy planning!)
- Downtown Portland Bike Tour
- Price: $59.00
- Oregon Coast Tour from Portland
- Price: $129.00
Portland to Baker City Road Trip
While the distance from Portland to Baker City only takes a few hours, there are plenty of fun things to do in between! If that's the end of your trip, then I hope you enjoy all the fun things it offers!
If you have more time for a great road trip, head to part 3 which takes you into Idaho.
See all 4 parts of the series to make a loop.
Next- Part 3: Idaho Road Trip
Did you miss Part 1 that takes you through Washington?
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