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Old 02-26-2021, 11:07 PM   #1
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Oregon in Mid-March what to expect??

We are planning a road trip from CO to OR in mid-March during our son's spring break. Are we nuts? So far the intel I have gathered from the forum has us planning the following:

1) Alvord Playa/Hot Springs
2) Crater Lake NP/Timpanogos/Indigo
3) Umpqua NF/Rt 138 dispersed camping
4) Florence Dunes and camping
5) Alsea Rec Area for MTB
6) Whitman Farms(Salem) for Japanese Maple tree shopping
7) Netarts/Tillamook/Cannon Beach coastal drive
8) Astoria Bridge then Columbia River Scenic hwy to Portland
9) Multnomah Falls then on to The Dalles for some antiquing
10) Continue along the river to Pendleton(if they are open for tours I am doubting they will be open)
11) Homeward bound to CO

From what I gather, we won't see much of Crater Lake, but they do have the southern entrance open so we could at least get to see the Lake, we will have to come back another time to drive the loop.

What I am wondering is what types of conditions will we see on the rest of the trip, relatively speaking. Are we talking mostly winter conditions, or early spring muddy conditions? I am hoping the coast is mostly mild conditions, cold, but not a winter wonderland. What about the Columbia River drive, does that get socked in with winter conditions? I have looked at the ODOT page and most of the areas we plan on going to seem relatively clear, with the exception of Rt 138 and the area around Crater Lake. I am not afraid of encountering snow, just would like to know what we are getting into is all.

Any advice or tips for the trip would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks

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Old 02-26-2021, 11:18 PM   #2
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Don't have the experience in different seasons to give you much advice, but I do highly recommend the Radio Room restaurant in Portland. Powell's Books is also worth seeing if the COVID-19 restrictions allow.
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Old 02-27-2021, 05:46 AM   #3
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We generally get some good high elevation snow dumps in March, but all of the main routes will be drivable. Carry chains as the passes can get lots of snow still too including I-84.

Some places may be snowed in still (Casxades Lakes highway generally isn’t clear until Memorial Day, and old McKenzie highway not until late June) but I don’t think you need to change your route. Even areas around Diamond lake should be accessible, although likely to still have snow on the ground. Just don’t plan on long-distance summer activities. Most of the higher mountain bike trails will still be ski trails.
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Old 02-27-2021, 10:24 AM   #4
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You should be pretty safe in March for low elevation stuff. A trip to consider for your list since you will be driving on I-84 is a side trip to Dug Bar along the Imnaha. It's a pretty spectacular drive and canyon ending at the Snake River at Dug Bar. Feel free to message me if you want more info.
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Old 02-27-2021, 10:54 AM   #5
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* I wrote this before reading your paragraph below your map *facepalm*

You wont be able to cross over Crater lake as you have planned on your route. The north entrance is closed in the winter and usually doesn't get plowed out until later in the spring. South entrance is open year round. I highly recommend seeing Crater lake in the winter. Timpanogos and Indigo will still be snowed in also. The Umpqua hot springs may have the gate closed but you can still hike a bit over a mile to get into them. My brother hiked in last weekend and had to wait a while before getting an open pool. They remain crowded even in winter.

Looks like a great loop, just adding some local knowledge for my home area. if you have any questions about the Umpqua area feel free to reach out. The current snow level is about 3000'.
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Old 02-28-2021, 10:01 PM   #6
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Thanks for the intel! I will keep my eye on the ODOT page for road conditions. Sounds like MTB is probably out then, due to snow. I might still bring them as it doesn't hurt to have them on the hitch, but we'll see.
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Old 03-04-2021, 10:36 AM   #7
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We live part time in Bandon, OR and part time in Gardnerville, NV. We take our SM Sprinter back and forth and also east to Maine a couple times a year. I have traveled those Oregon routes many times.
It looks like a great itinerary! My only suggestion is to travel clear up the coast once you’re over there. The trip you’ve laid out to Salem and back to coast is a really long way, and you’d miss great parts of the coastline.
Once you get to Portland it’s a quick jaunt to Salem though the beautiful Willamette Valley. There are a few routes north and south so you would not need to backtrack much if at all.
One other selfish comment... Bandon is just a short way south from Florence, and there are many great spots for eating, boo docking, golfing, and just enjoying the Pacific. Look up Shore Acres for instance.
We are about to leave Maine for Bandon, so see you down the road!!
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Old 03-04-2021, 10:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben10281 View Post
We are planning a road trip from CO to OR in mid-March during our son's spring break. Are we nuts? So far the intel I have gathered from the forum has us planning the following:

1) Alvord Playa/Hot Springs
2) Crater Lake NP/Timpanogos/Indigo
3) Umpqua NF/Rt 138 dispersed camping
4) Florence Dunes and camping
5) Alsea Rec Area for MTB
6) Whitman Farms(Salem) for Japanese Maple tree shopping
7) Netarts/Tillamook/Cannon Beach coastal drive
8) Astoria Bridge then Columbia River Scenic hwy to Portland
9) Multnomah Falls then on to The Dalles for some antiquing
10) Continue along the river to Pendleton(if they are open for tours I am doubting they will be open)
11) Homeward bound to CO

From what I gather, we won't see much of Crater Lake, but they do have the southern entrance open so we could at least get to see the Lake, we will have to come back another time to drive the loop.

What I am wondering is what types of conditions will we see on the rest of the trip, relatively speaking. Are we talking mostly winter conditions, or early spring muddy conditions? I am hoping the coast is mostly mild conditions, cold, but not a winter wonderland. What about the Columbia River drive, does that get socked in with winter conditions? I have looked at the ODOT page and most of the areas we plan on going to seem relatively clear, with the exception of Rt 138 and the area around Crater Lake. I am not afraid of encountering snow, just would like to know what we are getting into is all.

Any advice or tips for the trip would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks


You will have a great time and great weather.. We are having a very mild winter this year.. you shoudl not have any concerns.. Bring Chains just in case.. And be sure to come down the Coast to Gold beach / Brookings.. the best coast views are down here on the Southern Oregon coast. Enjoy.
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Old 03-04-2021, 10:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by gamble View Post
My only suggestion is to travel clear up the coast once you’re over there. The trip you’ve laid out to Salem and back to coast is a really long way, and you’d miss great parts of the coastline.
Once you get to Portland it’s a quick jaunt to Salem though the beautiful Willamette Valley. There are a few routes north and south so you would not need to backtrack much if at all.
I live in Portland and totally agree with this suggestion. Have fun!

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Old 03-04-2021, 10:49 AM   #10
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Since you are going to Astoria, I would suggest a slight side trip in the area: the southern jetty of the Columbia River. There is a short observation tower at the jetty parking lot to get a great view of the Pacific, much better in my opinion than the Astoria-Megler Bridge. Fort Stevens State Park has a good campground if you want to spend the night. One other place with a great view is the Astoria Column. If you are careful you can drive on the beach from Sunset Park. Photo taken March 17, 2019. Have a great trip!
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