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Grand Pacific Northwest Road Trip

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551.1 miles: 10 hours, 48 minutes
This trip is grand indeed, taking you on a spectacularly scenic journey through two states. The Columbia River Gorge—carved through volcanic rock by the mighty Columbia River—is an 80-mile stretch of towering basalt cliffs and sweeping panoramic views, while Mount Rainier National Park is dominated by its towering, ice-capped namesake, an iconic Northwest landmark.
1
Portland, OR to Umatilla, OR
187.6 miles: 3 hours, 14 minutes
The Historic Columbia River Highway winds in and out of lush green woods, crosses moss-flecked stone bridges and provides direct access to an awesome series of waterfalls. Chanticleer Point, within Portland Women’s Forum State Park (take the signed turnoff) offers an incredible vista of Columbia Gorge. Two-tiered Multnomah Falls, 620 feet tall, is another must-see.
2
Umatilla, OR to Yakima, WA
111.7 miles: 2 hours, 3 minutes
I-82 passes through the arid, desert-like Columbia and Yakima valleys. Here the combination of hot summer days, cool nights and rich volcanic soils is perfect for growing grapes, and irrigated vineyards flourish. An architectural oddity along the way is the Teapot Dome; just off I-82 in Zillah; this squat little red-and-white building is appropriately named.
3
Yakima, WA to Mount Rainier National Park, WA
96.4 miles: 2 hours, 11 minutes
Mount Rainier National Park is a real showstopper. In addition to the 14,412-foot mountain, which can be seen as far away as Seattle, its scenic highlights include majestic glaciers, beautiful old-growth forests and alpine meadows filled with summer wildflowers. Weather plays a big role in getting around the park; the best time to visit is mid-June through August.
4
Mount Rainier National Park, WA to Portland, OR
155.3 miles: 3 hours, 18 minutes
The little hamlet of Mineral, on scenic SR 7, boasts a gem in 277-acre Mineral Lake, graced with the spectacular backdrop of Mount Rainier and known for its world-class trout fishing. Two more highlights await in Portland, where nature lovers will find abundant beauty at the International Rose Test Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden, both in Washington Park.