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Old 01-04-2020, 04:10 PM   #1
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Late Spring/Early Summer Trip Northwest Ideas?

This is our planned route for a Late Spring/Early Summer trip to the Northwest, departing about the first of June. Looking to know roads to avoid, must see sites/events, etc.

Plan to spend: 3 nights in Dickinson, SD; 5 nights in Glacier; 3 nights near Couer d'Alene, ID; 4 nights at Gig Harbor, WA; 4 in Woodland, WA; 3 near Crater Lake; 2 near Great Salt Lake and 4 in the Black Hills. I've already made reservations for July 4 weekend and plan to make the rest of the multi-day reservations next week.

Longest towing day is 432 miles with an average of 306 miles (Nimrod, MT and Bloomington, IL are not overnight stops--just added them to the route to avoid certain roads along the route).

Any suggestions will be appreciated.
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Old 01-05-2020, 11:42 PM   #2
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Here's my 2 cents on some of your trip. Looks like a great holiday!
Glacier in early June may not have parts of it open. The Road to the Sun typically opens in late June to mid July. That is a definitely a piece of the park to see. Also this coming summer, Many Glacier Road is going to be under repairs/construction and I saw that traffic from 10 pm to 5 am can expect up to a 3 hour wait.

If you're near the east side of Glacier, with that amount of time, I'd take a trip north for a day to Waterton Park. It is the northern half of the Glacier Peace Park. It took quite a bit of damage in the Kenow Forest Fire in 2017, but there is still a fair amount to see and the regrowth is amazing. Should you be inclined, online reservations start this week in the National Parks north of the 49th.
https://mywaterton.ca/

On the west side, on the south end of Flathead Lake there a pretty good museum in Polson, MT. They have a lot of good things to see!
Miracle Of America Museum

Silverwood Theme Park is in Athol, ID which is about 15 minutes (?) from Couer d'Alene, ID. We highly recommend that if you are into that kind of scene.
https://www.silverwoodthemepark.com/

If you're close to it, Cannon Beach, OR was a great way to relax! It is the home to the "Goonies Rock".
https://www.cannonbeach.org/

Oregon Coast Museum:
https://aquarium.org/

The Wildlife Safari Park is a drive thru park that was really nice.
https://wildlifesafari.net/

Crater Lake is well worth it!

On the way to SD, the Mammoth Museum and Dig Site was really interesting too!
https://www.mammothsite.org/
In the Black Hills, we'd recommend both Mount Rushmore, and Crazy Horse. And both night shows are unique and are both well done! We caught both while we were there. Also, if you are inclined, we enjoyed Bear Country.
https://www.bearcountryusa.com/
IMO, Wal Drug was interesting, but I could have done without. To me it was like a good sized shopping mall, that "the water" drew everyone there in the 30's. Well it wasn't quite what I thought it would be.
https://www.walldrug.com/
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Old 01-06-2020, 11:23 AM   #3
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Thanks Glen1971. I know we are a bit early in the season for Glacier and know a lot of the roads will not be open, but family events are in control of our timing. We plan to spend two nights at St Mary Lake and 3 at West Glacier KOA.

College roommate and I took a trip from Moscow, ID to Oregon and Washington in the spring of '67 and I have been telling my wife how beautiful it is, so I appreciate the ideas for that area--she's excited about seeing Seattle (a friend of hers visits there every year). I'd like to see Mt. St. Helens, Multnomah Falls and the Oregon coast. Roommate and I drove past the entrance road to Crater Lake in early April of '67. I couldn't convince him to take his huge boat of a car through the 2 feet of snow up to the lake at the time--probably a good thing--they'd have probably found our bodies when the road was plowed at the end of the month.

We took four teenage boys (three sons and their cousin) to the Black Hills 25 years ago and are anxious to visit the area in peace and quiet this time. There is plenty to see in that area, so I am sure we won't be bored!

Thanks again!
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Old 01-09-2020, 04:25 PM   #4
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Agree that parts of glacier might not be open. We were there in early July 2017 and they had just opened the road the week prior.

Wild animal Safari in Oregon is great.

If you can stop in Helena, I highly suggest it. Really cool history.

My wife and I went rafting just outside of Yellowstone with a company called The flying pig. It was super affordable and a lot of fun.

The route of the Hiawatha is really cool. Out of the way, but worth the detour.

In park City, I suggest going to the Olympic training facility. And definitely do at least one Alpine slide. They are all over the nw.
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Old 01-13-2020, 06:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockfossilman View Post
This is our planned route for a Late Spring/Early Summer trip to the Northwest, departing about the first of June. Looking to know roads to avoid, must see sites/events, etc.

Plan to spend: 3 nights in Dickinson, SD; 5 nights in Glacier; 3 nights near Couer d'Alene, ID; 4 nights at Gig Harbor, WA; 4 in Woodland, WA; 3 near Crater Lake; 2 near Great Salt Lake and 4 in the Black Hills. I've already made reservations for July 4 weekend and plan to make the rest of the multi-day reservations next week.

Longest towing day is 432 miles with an average of 306 miles (Nimrod, MT and Bloomington, IL are not overnight stops--just added them to the route to avoid certain roads along the route).

Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Out of curiosity, why Woodland? There is literally nothing to see there. There is a nice little state park at La Center, about 10 minutes south of there, called Paradise Point State Park. It's not fancy, but they do have several nice partial hookup sites.

If you are planning to spend time at Mt St Helens, maybe look in the Castle Rock area. It's about 30 miles north of Woodland, and can put you right on the Spirit Lake Hwy, which is the scenic hwy up to the mountain viewpoints (~100 miles in & out. Nice road).

If Seaside/Cannon Beach/etc is on your list, I would suggest picking up WA Hwy 4 at Longview (between Castle Rock & Woodland). They call it Ocean Beach Highway, & it's a very scenic drive along the north shore of the Columbia River. You can spend a day at Long Beach, WA - nice little tourist town, with 28 miles of driveable ocean beach and tons of RV parks. US Hwy 30 runs on the south side of the river, but is much more heavily traveled and more densely populated.

After Long Beach, head south and cross the Columbia River to Astoria, and then follow US 101 south. There are some great little towns along the coast. Seaside has gone full tourist, but Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Rockaway Beach (my parents were married at St Mary's by the Sea Catholic Church), Garabaldi, and Tillamook all have fun stuff to do. Check out the Tillamook Cheese factory and the air museum in Tillamook!

There are a bunch of ways to get back to I-5 from the coast, some better than others. If you are in a hurry, Hwy 22 to Salem is probably the fastest. If not, US Hwy 20 out of Newport or Hwy 38 out of Reedsport are much more scenic. Avoid the Alsea River Hwy out of Waldport if you are towing. It's a blast on a motorcycle, but....

Once you get back to I-5, it's fairly easy to get to Crater Lake from Eugene or Roseberg.


Anyway, I am local to the Portland/Vancouver area, & I'm happy to answer any questions I can about our little corner of paradise!
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Old 01-13-2020, 06:42 PM   #6
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Out of curiosity, why Woodland? There is literally nothing to see there. There is a nice little state park at La Center, about 10 minutes south of there, called Paradise Point State Park. It's not fancy, but they do have several nice partial hookup sites.

If you are planning to spend time at Mt St Helens, maybe look in the Castle Rock area. It's about 30 miles north of Woodland, and can put you right on the Spirit Lake Hwy, which is the scenic hwy up to the mountain viewpoints (~100 miles in & out. Nice road).

If Seaside/Cannon Beach/etc is on your list, I would suggest picking up WA Hwy 4 at Longview (between Castle Rock & Woodland). They call it Ocean Beach Highway, & it's a very scenic drive along the north shore of the Columbia River. You can spend a day at Long Beach, WA - nice little tourist town, with 28 miles of driveable ocean beach and tons of RV parks. US Hwy 30 runs on the south side of the river, but is much more heavily traveled and more densely populated.

After Long Beach, head south and cross the Columbia River to Astoria, and then follow US 101 south. There are some great little towns along the coast. Seaside has gone full tourist, but Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Rockaway Beach (my parents were married at St Mary's by the Sea Catholic Church), Garabaldi, and Tillamook all have fun stuff to do. Check out the Tillamook Cheese factory and the air museum in Tillamook!

There are a bunch of ways to get back to I-5 from the coast, some better than others. If you are in a hurry, Hwy 22 to Salem is probably the fastest. If not, US Hwy 20 out of Newport or Hwy 38 out of Reedsport are much more scenic. Avoid the Alsea River Hwy out of Waldport if you are towing. It's a blast on a motorcycle, but....

Once you get back to I-5, it's fairly easy to get to Crater Lake from Eugene or Roseberg.


Anyway, I am local to the Portland/Vancouver area, & I'm happy to answer any questions I can about our little corner of paradise!
Thanks for the ideas, Qwkynuf, especially the info about a coastal trip. We ended up reserving a site at Columbia Riverfront RV Park in Woodland for four nights. I chose that because it is somewhat centrally located between our side trip plans: Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Basin, Mt. St. Helens and the Pacific Coast. The route I posted is our towing route, so we won't be towing to the coast.
The tow from Gig Harbor to Columbia Riverfront RV Park is only 127 miles--do you recommend taking our side trip to Mt. St. Helens while enroute that day or would you save Mt. St. Helens for a one day side trip from Columbia Riverfront RV Park?

Thanks again
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Old 01-13-2020, 07:01 PM   #7
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"The tow from Gig Harbor to Columbia Riverfront RV Park is only 127 miles--do you recommend taking our side trip to Mt. St. Helens while enroute that day or would you save Mt. St. Helens for a one day side trip from Columbia Riverfront RV Park?"


Sure - you will be going south on I-5 so you can easily access St Helens. I am sure you can find a location where you can park the RV for a few hours, while you drive east to St. Helens.



Also in WA, a more beautiful trip going west in WA is via the north Cascade Highway. But, you will have to check to see if it has been opened after the winter closure. You will end up at I-5, north of Seattle.

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Old 01-13-2020, 07:28 PM   #8
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Thanks for the ideas, Qwkynuf, especially the info about a coastal trip. We ended up reserving a site at Columbia Riverfront RV Park in Woodland for four nights. I chose that because it is somewhat centrally located between our side trip plans: Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Basin, Mt. St. Helens and the Pacific Coast. The route I posted is our towing route, so we won't be towing to the coast.
The tow from Gig Harbor to Columbia Riverfront RV Park is only 127 miles--do you recommend taking our side trip to Mt. St. Helens while enroute that day or would you save Mt. St. Helens for a one day side trip from Columbia Riverfront RV Park?

Thanks again
It's definitely not far out of the way, if you wanted to catch it on the way. The advantage to doing it as a separate trip from the campground would be that you don't have to haul the trailer 50 miles up a dead end road. The last 10 miles, if you go all the way to the Johnston Ridge Observatory (recommended), is pretty windy and steep. I am sure it's passable with a trailer, but probably more fun without.

On the eastbound leg, make sure that you stop at the Hoffstadt Bridge viewpoint: Hoffstadt Bridge - Mt. St. Helens, one of the tallest bridges in the Northwest.

The Hoffstadt Bluffs viewpoint is worth a stop for a few minutes and some pictures, then the Visitor Center for a history of the area and the damage that the eruption did to the mountain/river/valley, and finally to the Observatory, where weather permitting, you can look right into the crater.

If you are into outdoor activities that involve some mild exertion and exploration, from Woodland you can head east on Lewis River Highway. Check out the town of Cougar, which was almost completely devastated by the eruption, then continue east and north to the south face of Mt St Helens and the Ape Caves lava tubes: Ape Caves - Map & Guide to Mt. St. Helens Ape Cave - MountStHelens.com

Finally, I feel like I am obligated to say one nice thing about Woodland. If you have time, check out the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens (or catch the Lilac Festival if you are in town at the right time)

Have fun! It's beautiful country!
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Old 01-13-2020, 07:44 PM   #9
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It's definitely not far out of the way, if you wanted to catch it on the way. The advantage to doing it as a separate trip from the campground would be that you don't have to haul the trailer 50 miles up a dead end road. The last 10 miles, if you go all the way to the Johnston Ridge Observatory (recommended), is pretty windy and steep. I am sure it's passable with a trailer, but probably more fun without.

On the eastbound leg, make sure that you stop at the Hoffstadt Bridge viewpoint: Hoffstadt Bridge - Mt. St. Helens, one of the tallest bridges in the Northwest.

The Hoffstadt Bluffs viewpoint is worth a stop for a few minutes and some pictures, then the Visitor Center for a history of the area and the damage that the eruption did to the mountain/river/valley, and finally to the Observatory, where weather permitting, you can look right into the crater.

If you are into outdoor activities that involve some mild exertion and exploration, from Woodland you can head east on Lewis River Highway. Check out the town of Cougar, which was almost completely devastated by the eruption, then continue east and north to the south face of Mt St Helens and the Ape Caves lava tubes: Ape Caves - Map & Guide to Mt. St. Helens Ape Cave - MountStHelens.com

Finally, I feel like I am obligated to say one nice thing about Woodland. If you have time, check out the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens (or catch the Lilac Festival if you are in town at the right time)

Have fun! It's beautiful country!
Great ideas, Qwkynuf! I taught Earth Science for 29 years, so the Ape Cave lava tubes sound especially interesting. I think we'll avoid the tow to Mt. St. Helens.
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Old 01-13-2020, 07:52 PM   #10
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"The tow from Gig Harbor to Columbia Riverfront RV Park is only 127 miles--do you recommend taking our side trip to Mt. St. Helens while enroute that day or would you save Mt. St. Helens for a one day side trip from Columbia Riverfront RV Park?"


Sure - you will be going south on I-5 so you can easily access St Helens. I am sure you can find a location where you can park the RV for a few hours, while you drive east to St. Helens.



Also in WA, a more beautiful trip going west in WA is via the north Cascade Highway. But, you will have to check to see if it has been opened after the winter closure. You will end up at I-5, north of Seattle.

............
Ram 2500 / Surveyor 251rks
(which is parked inside on this snowy day at sea-level)
Thanks debit, based on Qwkynuf's comment about the dead-end tow and time involved in unhooking and hooking back up, I think we'll save St. Helens for one of the non-towing day trips from Riverfront.

I like the idea of taking the North Cascades Highway--we'll keep that as an option if it doesn't add too much time to our trip.

Thanks again.
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