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Beagle 06-10-2016 12:27 PM

Road Trip Recommendations: Ore., Wash., Id., and Mt.
Hello. I am planning a road trip to the Northwest, specifically the states listed in the title. I am looking for some recommendations for points of interest, back roads, scenic roads, camping and fishing areas, basically anything that has rung your bell and deserves my attention. I much prefer to travel on anything other than a highway and my favorite surfaces are dirt and gravel. Boondocking is the best but a shower is necessary some of the time, at least for her. I plan to stay in the eastern half of Oregon and Washington and the west of Montana. I hope to get as far as Glacier NP but my route is in the air at the moment. There are three destinations I have at this point; Riggins, Idaho on the Salmon River, Columbia Gorge and Wildhorse Reservoir in Northern Nevada. I am leaving the SF Bay Area on June 20 for approximately 4 weeks. This forum has been such a great source of information for me and my SMB and thanks for being there. I have found a few suggestions on Meetings and Trip Reports but would appreciate any other suggestions or links or whatever you have. Thanks in advance for your help.

mgmetalworks 06-10-2016 02:57 PM

The Steens Mountains in SE OR are great, along with the nearby Alvord desert. Jarbridge Wilderness in NV is also pretty awesome for scenery and remoteness. In between are many places one can boondock.

larrie 06-10-2016 05:16 PM

If you like geologic sites then in south central Oregon is Crack in the Ground, a lava tube you can walk through, Hole in the Ground, a caldera that has a campground at the rim and you can drive into, and Fort Rock a busted volcano you can hike around.

Many of the lottery funded well maintained Oregon State Parks have showers. I like using the Ultimate Campground App to search for Forest Service and BLM campgrounds aloung our route.

There are several state parks along the Columbia River between Portland and Pendleton.

Otter 06-11-2016 03:35 AM

Looking at the places you want to see, and assuming you're coming from Burlingame CA, I would take your favorite route to 395 and follow that up through the desert to Route 20 and go east for a bit. Near Burns, take 205 south and check out Steens Mountain and the Alvord desert. You'll pass by the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, scene of our recent infamous "uprising".

Get over to 95 north and travel up through the Jordan Valley area. I don't know if I've ever felt more in the middle of nowhere than there. It's a great ride through an incredible canyon.

Continue up 95 and you can keep going up into Idaho at that point, but I wouldn't miss Hells Canyon. You can get off 95 around Cambridge and head up 71 to the Brownlee-Oxbow Hwy. The ride is really cool all along the Snake River. There's a campground right on the river, Copperfield CG. Now you're nearing Hells Canyon itself, including the dam. Here's a link you can check out for that trip:
Driving Into Hell ('s Canyon) - Brownlee and Hells Canyon Dams, Scenic Byway

If you're feeling particularly brave, you can get back to the Idaho side and take any number of **very small** roads to get back to 95 north. You'll be really in the middle of nowhere here and will want to bring actual detailed maps; GPS may not help you out much, if at all. I lived out there a long time ago and there wasn't any GPS. But it's really the most beautiful high desert country and a time I remember fondly.

Once you're back on 95, you can choose your scenic routes from there. I'll let other folks more familiar with those areas chime in with upper Idaho and Montana routes. Good luck and have a great time! Four weeks is a really nice amount of time to put toward this journey.

JoeH 06-11-2016 09:10 AM

I was all set to check out the Gravelly Range last summer but my van blew up. Hoping to check it out in August but here's a thread if you happen to find yourself in that part of Montana.

rltilley 06-11-2016 05:32 PM

We did Glacier in 2014 and it was our favorite National Park so far. I'd highly recommend a visit if possible. Some blog posts of our trip are on this page. You'll need to scroll down for the Glacier posts. We didn't have time to do any of the dirt roads while we were up that way.

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Beagle 06-14-2016 10:56 AM

Thanks for the tips
Thank you guys. I will try to work your suggestions into our trip. There is so much land to explore it looks like 4 weeks will not even be close to enough. Thanks again.

Otter 06-14-2016 11:17 AM

You're welcome! Forgot to add... If you're in Eastern Oregon, check out the Owhyhee Canyon region. Gorgeous desert with a big ol' river running thru it and a campground at the end with a swimming/boating reservoir. Have a great time!

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