After spending 10 days in Oregon in March we knew we wanted to come back during the warmer months of the year for some more hiking and to explore the wine country. A couple of months later we were back for an amazing two week road trip in Washington and Oregon.
This Amazing Two Week Road Trip in Washington and Oregon is mostly for hikers and wine lovers. It is geared toward visiting Washington and Oregon wine country, as well as hiking in these states and their respective National Parks. It is a road trip that includes over 2500 miles of driving.
For some that may be more than desirable, we will provide some suggestions/options for cutting some of the driving down. You can always decide to take a rest day as well.
About 2 Amazing Weeks in Washington and Oregon Itinerary
You will start and end the trip in Seattle. This is a road trip, and you will need to rent a car as there is no other way to see all these places.
All the roads that you will be driving on are suitable for a 2WD vehicle. However, a higher clearance vehicle is preferred.
We did this trip in June, but to avoid snow hikes this itinerary works best in July or August.
You will be visiting National Parks on this trip, and it is most economical to purchase the America The Beautiful Annual National Park Pass for $80.
Places to See on This Amazing Two Week Road Trip in Washington and Oregon
Olympic National Park
Rainier National Park
North Cascades National Park
Washington Wine Country:
Walla Walla Valley
Smith Rock State Park
Crater Lake National Park
Silver Falls State Park
Oregon Wine Country:
If you are a hiker and a wine lover, you will love this trip. The hikes that we’ve picked are absolutely stunning. And the wineries we visited have excellent wine as well as welcoming and beautiful stories that go along with them.
If you are not a hiker or a wine drinker, don’t worry. There are still beautiful scenic drives you can take and see some of the most amazing views. I will make suggestions for different options/adventures to take on.
- Day 1 – Arrive in Seattle, Drive to Richland
- Day 2 – Explore Walla Walla Valley
- Day 3 – Drive to Bend via Painted Hills and Smith Rock
- Day 4 – Broken Top Hike
- Day 5 – Crater Lake National Park
- Day 6 – Drive to Willamette Valley
- Day 7, 8 & 9 – Willamette Valley
- Day 10 – Drive to Seattle With Optional Hike
- Day 11 – Rattlesnake Ledge and Twin Falls Hike
- Day 12 – Olympic National Park
- Day 13 – Colchuck Lake Hike
- Day 14 – North Cascades National Park
- Day 15 – Mt. Rainier National Park
- Day 16 – Fly Home
Day 1 – Arrive in Seattle, Drive to Richland
Fly into Seattle – Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and pick up your rental car.
On the way to Richland, you can either choose to stop at one of the wineries or elect to do one of the hikes.
If your choice is to stop at the winery, which is what we did, Yakima Valley is a great place to go. There is a cluster of different wineries to try out. Just remember to try to make a reservation ahead of time.
The winery we visited was Sheridan Vineyard and we highly recommend stopping there. The tasting room is set in a beautiful garden where if you are traveling with kids or pets, they will have plenty of room to run around. The wines are bold and delicious. It made a list of our 3 Unique Wineries to Visit in Columbia Valley.
If you would rather pick up a hike on the way to Richland, here is a list of a few hikes right off HWY 90:
Mount Si Trail: 7.5-mile out and back trail, over 3000 ft elevation gain, strenuous hike
Rattlesnake Ledge Trail: 5.3-mile out and back trail, ~1500 ft elevation gain, moderate hike
Ira Spring Trail: 6.0-mile out and back trail, ~2000 ft elevation gain, moderate hike
Twin Falls Trail: 2.5-mile out and back trail, ~600 ft elevation gain, easy hike
Gold Creek Pond Loop: 1.2-mile loop, easy walk
We had dinner in Prosser on our way from Yakima Valley at Wine O’clock – wood-fired pizza.
We stayed at The Lodge at Columbia Point.
Total Driving Distance: 230 miles
Day 2 – Explore Walla Walla Valley
Walla Walla is in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains, rivers, and vineyards. Originally known for its agriculture, Walla Wall Sweet Onions is now becoming a wine destination. It grows top-notch Cabs, Syrahs, and Merlots. It also has great restaurants. It is a kind of place where you will find a chef/owner of the restaurant seating people by memory without any list and a winemaker pouring the wine behind the bar. Walla Walla is not just a farm-to-table type of place, but also farm-to-bottle & farm to people. Feels like a tight-knit community.
Wineries We Enjoyed
The Northstar – winery is in a beautiful location with an amazing view of the Blue Mountains and offers a blending experience to visitors. Where you can blend your own bottle of wine and we did! The experience is a little costly $100 per person/$65 per person for members, but something very different to do.
Sleight of Hand – Great music, great wine & great magic! What more can you ask for?
There is a list of restaurants to enjoy in Walla Wall. We had dinner at AK’s Mercado, can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Some other highly recommended places are Hattaway’s on Alder, Walla Walla Indian Cuisine, Brasserie Four, and Saffron.
Total Driving Distance: 120 miles
Day 3 – Drive to Bend via Painted Hills and Smith Rock
This will be a long day in the car. Head into Oregon to Painted Hills from Richland. You will drive over the Columbia River and enjoy views of snowcapped Mt. Hood peaks during this drive.
Painted Hills, known as one of the 7 wonders of Oregon has 5 short and easy hikes. Even if you do not want to do any walking in the desert sand you can get some amazing views from the parking lot. Spending 1.5-2 hrs. here will be more than sufficient. However, some people make a day of it by setting up a picnic next to the visitor center.
SMITH ROCK STATE PARK
Just 1.5 hrs. drive west of Painted Hills is a gem that you cannot skip. Smith Rock is a beautiful state park in Oregon’s high desert, and you can get the most amazing scenic views from the parking lot, or a short walk down the Chute Trail to the River Trail. If you are up for a challenge Misery Ridge Loop is an amazing hike about a 6.0-mile loop with over 1700 ft. elevation gain.
After the hike drive to Bend get settled in and enjoy dinner at Joolz, where the Middle East meets the Wild West, with a nice bottle of wine. You deserve it! Or at least that is what we tell ourselves.
We rented an Airbnb place in Bend.
Total Driving Distance: 290 miles
Day 4 – Broken Top Hike
Broken Top trail is a hike through the Deschutes National Forest. It starts at Todd Lake, 24 miles west of Bend off the Cascade Lakes Highway. The trail was mostly snowed in when we did this hike in June, which made it much more difficult as it was very hard to stay on top of the trail and we were the only ones on the trail. It is a 13.2-mile out-and-back hike to the No Name Lake with a 2430 ft. elevation gain. If you continue approximately another mile past the No Name Lake you can also get an amazing view of the Three Sisters.
The parking is very limited but since it was snowed in, we just parked on the side of the road. There is a toilet at the trailhead and a trail sign. This was the only trail sign we saw, the rest of them were snowed over.
There is a shorter version of this hike, but for that, you will need 4WD to get to the trailhead. However, it does cut the hike down by almost half.
An alternative option for this day if hiking does not interest you is to drive on the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway. It is a 66-mile drive that takes anywhere between 3-5 hrs., depending on the stops you make and activities you like to enjoy.
The beauty starts with a magnificent view of Mt. Bachelor and then Broken Top and the Three Sisters, and then you will reach first of the many lakes – Todd Lake. After Todd Lake is when the true beauty wraps you in at Sparks Lake (many Oregonians claim this is the most beautiful lake of them all). It will be up to you to decide as you drive by all of them and take in the views.
The Scenic Byway is closed during the winter months from October to May.
We enjoyed a great dinner at Zydeco Kitchen & Cocktails.
Total Driving Distance: 50 miles; Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway: 132 miles
Day 5 – Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park is another one of Oregon’s 7 Wonders. An almost perfectly round blue lake, with snowcapped peaks year-round, is a picture-perfect spot located in Southern Oregon and is open year-round. However, it is only fully visible about 50% of the time.
Crater Lake is approximately a 2 hr. drive south of Bend, a little longer during winter months as the South Entrance to the park is the only one open. Winter at Crater Lake is otherworldly!
There are many easy hikes you can do in the park – Garfield Peak gives you a great view of the lake – 3.4 miles out and back, 1069 ft elevation gain. The Rim Drive, a road surrounding the lake, offers amazing views of the lake.
During the summer months, you can take a boat tour to Wizard Island, but you must be able to descend and ascend the Cleetwood Cove Trail – a 1-mile hike, 700 ft elevation change – on your own.
On our way back to Bend, we stopped for dinner at Barrio.
Total Driving Distance: 140 miles
Day 6 – Drive to Willamette Valley
Today you have the option to do one, two, or zero hikes, and it will be another full day of driving.
Driving from Bend, the first stop is the Tamolitch Blue Pool hike. This is a short 3.4-mile out-and-back hike through the forested area next to the McKenzie River to the stunning Blue Pool. The hike is longer if you make your way down to the pool.
After this hike, you will drive back to US-20 and from there merge onto OR-22. During this drive to Silver Falls State Park, you will drive through some areas that were devastated by the wildfires in 2020.
The Trail of Ten Falls loop is a 7.2-mile fairly easy hike. As the name itself implies, you will be hiking above, behind, and around 10 stunning waterfalls following Canyon Trail and Rim Trail.
We parked in the South Falls parking lot and started the loop there as that parking lot is bigger, but you can also start in the North Falls Parking Lot however, the parking is limited. Also to us, the North Falls was the most beautiful, so it was good to save that for the end of the hike.
Silver Falls is a beautiful park and there are other shorter hiking options if the 7.2 loop seems like too much.
Maple Ridge Loop is a 2.6-mile combination of Maple Ridge Trail and Canyon Trail with views of South Falls and Lowers South Falls.
Winter Falls Loop is a 5.0-mile combination of Canyon Trail, Winter Trail, and Rim Trail with views of 7 falls.
The parking is $5.
From Silver Falls Park head to Newberg in the wine country. Newberg is in an excellent location to visit different AVAs of the Willamette Valley.
We rented a small but immaculate and comfortable cottage on Airbnb right in the center of this tiny town. With shops and restaurants within walking distance.
We had a great dinner at Recipe Neighborhood Kitchen.
Total Driving Distance: 200 miles
Day 7, 8 & 9 – Willamette Valley
We are wine lovers who like to visit different wine regions during our travels and the beauty of Willamette Valley comes close to the top of the list. With the Cascade Range to the east, the Oregon Coast Range to the west, and the Willamette River flowing the entire length of the valley it is green, lush, and completely different from Columbia Valley. Because of its unique geography and pockets of microclimates, it’s a region where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive, which is why it’s often compared to Burgundy.
This region has suffered quite a lot in 2020. With the pandemic and minimal wine tourism, they were already hurting, and then right before the harvest, the wildfires surrounded the area adding an undesirable smoky flavor to the grapes.
According to most winemakers, it was going to be a good year for the grapes, but once the smoke came through most wineries decided to drop the fruit, sell it to bigger wineries that can blend it in, and only save grapes for white and rosé wines. Everyone is hoping for a much better 2021!
Each day we visited two to three wineries depending on their availability and our interest.
WINERIES WE enjoyed
Beaux Frères | Ribbon Ridge AVA – Not going to lie, the main reason we had Beaux Frères on the list was because of the pigs and goats we saw on their website and couldn’t resist. On top of that their wine is excellent, more pricy than other wineries we’ve visited, but nonetheless very good.
When Michael G. Etzel came and visited Willamette Valley with the family in 1986, he fell in love with the idea of winemaking. With the investment support from his sister and brother-in-law Robert Parker Jr. (wine points guy!), this idea became a reality. And the Beaux Frères (Brother-In-Law) was created.
Classic Wine Tasting: $40 per person waived with qualifying purchase.
Atticus Winery | Yamhill-Carlton AVA – One of our favorite wineries in Willamette Valley. When we were pulling up to the house, we were not even sure we were in the right place until Ximena came out and greeted us.
She shared their inspiring story of settling in the Willamette Valley, planting their own vines, and Ximena becoming one of the few female winemakers and making their dreams come true. The wines were beautiful and elegant, paired excellently with a cheese and fruit platter provided, and priced very reasonably.
Classic Wine Tasting: $50 per person waived with case purchase per couple and/or wine club membership.
J.L. Kiff Vineyard | Yamhill-Carlton AVA – Another one of our favorites. Joel and Laurie will make you feel like you are part of the family right away. They are very much so do-it-yourself family operation.
As a small operation, they have been making wine since the early 2000s but have not been commercial until a few years back when their children were all grown up. And unlike most of the smaller wineries, they have an older vintage selection. We taste a beautiful 2012 Pinot Noir.
Classic Wine Tasting: $20 per person waived with qualifying purchase.
Vidon Vineyard | Chehalem Mountains AVA – Even if you are not a wine lover, a visit to this winery is a must for the views. We could have stayed there forever enjoying the beauty.
The vineyard was founded in 1999 but recently has been sold to new owners with the same winemaker. We absolutely loved their Chardonnay, and we are not even white wine drinkers! It was crisp and refreshing with a minimal touch of oak and perfect for Florida summers.
Classic Wine Tasting: $20 per person waived with qualifying purchase.
Ayoub Wines | Dundee Hills AVA – To enjoy Mo’s (Mo is the owner and winemaker) wines you will be either seated inside of his house in his living room or out on the balcony overlooking the vineyard.
His winery was born out of a passion for good food and even better wine. An electrical engineer who one day after a health scare decided to give up his career and concentrate on what he truly loves – making wine.
Classic Wine Tasting: $20 per person waived with qualifying purchase.
Left Coast Estate | Van Duzer Corridor AVA – Interested in touring the vineyards in an old red Jeep and then enjoying the wood-fired pizza with great wine selection, this is the place. The White Pinot was exceptionally good.
FUN FACT: The name Left Coast comes from 3 out of 5 family members being left handed. That’s got to be some kind of record.
Classic Wine Tasting: $20 per person waived with a $60 bottle purchase. There are other experiences that this winery offers such as Jeep tours.
Björnson Winery | Eola-Amity Hills AVA – if not for the wine, come for the view. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson from the winery, unfortunately we were not the lucky ones. This felt like the biggest production winery we visited in the area and the only winery that made Gamay Noir mainly used in Beaujolais.
Classic Wine Tasting: $20 per person waived with qualifying purchase.
We stayed in Newberg, but Newberg, Dundee and McMinnville are clustered together and have great hotel and food options. Some of our favorite restaurants were Rosemarion in Newberg, Pizza Capo in McMinnville and Dundee Bistro in Dundee.
Total Driving Distance: 125 miles
Day 10 – Drive to Seattle With Optional Hike
Today you can just drive to Seattle and explore the city for a little bit. Visit the Pike Place Market, Space Needle, get a bread bowl of your favorite chowder at the Pike Place Chowder and just explore the city.
However, if it is a nice clear day, you can take a detour to Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain for magnificent views of Mt. Hood. It is a 9-mile out-and-back hike to the ridge with a 1700 ft. elevation gain via Mirror Lake Trail. Before heading to Seattle.
Seattle will be your home for the rest of the trip. It is in a centralized location to all three National Parks and most other areas. You also have the convenience of a city with more restaurant options for either dine-in or take-out.
I will be making suggestions for cities that are more conveniently located to the hiking area as an option, we just don’t like the hassle of moving from place to place and staying somewhere only for one night.
I will list the hikes for the next five days in the order we did them, but I strongly suggest following the weather and making your decision on a daily basis about where to go and when. This is Pacific Northwest, and it does rain a lot. These will be long days with a lot of driving.
WHERE DID WE STAY:
We stayed at an Airbnb apartment downtown with a view of Puget Sound and the world’s moodiest mountains – Olympic National Park.
For dinner, we wanted to try Ethiopian cuisine and had dinner at Shewa-Ber Bar & Restaurant.
Total Diving Distance: 195 miles; with optional hike to Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain – 290 miles.
Day 11 – Rattlesnake Ledge and Twin Falls Hike
Rattlesnake Ledge is a popular hike, so we chose to do it in the middle of the week. It is only a 40-minute drive east of Seattle. Rattlesnake Ledge Trail is a 5.3-mile out-and-back hike with approximately 1500 ft. elevation gain and great views from the top.
After the Rattlesnake Ledge hike you can stop at The Riverbend Café for lunch and refreshments before continuing on to the Twin Falls trail.
Twin Falls trail is an easy 2.6-mile out-and-back hike to the upper and lower falls. It is a nice walk through the forested area, the trail is well-maintained with some stairs.
Since it was a rainy day we finished it with warm ramen at the Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya.
Total Diving Distance: 80 miles
Day 12 – Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and getting to it is an adventure. From Seattle, you can either drive south around Puget Sound or take a car ferry across Puget Sound. Either way, it is at least a 2.5-hour drive to get to it.
The park sprawls across several different ecosystems, from dramatic mountain peaks to rainforests and beaches. It is vast and diverse and it is worth staying here longer than just one day. If looking for a place to stay on the peninsula Port Angeles is your best bet for hikes on the east side of the peninsula or Forks for exploring the west side of the peninsula.
Hurricane Ridge is a 45-minute drive from Port Angeles all uphill. On a clear day, the views from Hurricane Ridge are spectacular. However, the clouds can roll in very quickly to the point where you can’t even see the hikers in front of you.
At Hurricane Ridge there are a lot of different hikes you can do, one of the more popular ones is hiking up to Hurricane Hill. It is a paved 3.2-mile out-and-back paved trail. In June it still had snow on some areas of the trail.
Or you can drive on the dirt road to the Obstruction Point, also known as Washington’s scariest road, for some more amazing views. However, after witnessing how quickly the clouds move in and how thick they can be I do not think I would dare.
After Hurricane Ridge, if the weather is cooperating you have a few different options for what to do next:
Hike to Lake Angeles – the trailhead is located right off Hurricane Ridge Rd. It is a very steep 8-mile out-and-back hike with elevation gain close to 2500 ft. The hike to the top does not offer any views and can be on the boring side, but the view of the lake at the top is worth the hike.
Mt. Storm King Hike – another brutal hike with a shorter distance but close to the same elevation gain. Also, not much to see until you get to the top, and on a clear day you can see all the way to Canada.
Drive out to Rialto Beach – about a 2 hr. drive where you can walk along a beach amidst drift logs and stones.
If planning to drive back to Seattle the same day I would suggest visiting Hurricane Ridge and hiking to Hurrican Hill. After that, if the weather permits hike the Storm King.
If planning to stay on the peninsula for the night I would suggest visiting Rialto Beach the next day and Hoh Rainforest.
Once back in Seattle we dined at Fogón Cocina Mexicana.
Total Driving Distance: To visit Hurricane Ridge and Mt. Storm King 245 miles.
Day 13 – Colchuck Lake Hike
Colchuck Lake is a beautiful Alpine Lake located outside of Leavenworth.
The hike to the lake is through the Alpine Wilderness, along the creek with occasional views of the snow-capped peaks. It is 8.33 miles out and back with an elevation gain of ~2400 ft. Once at the summit, there is a great chance of running into a few mountain goats. They are usually laid back and going about their business but do use caution.
For more details on how to hike to Colchuck Lake check out our post – Colchuk Lake Hike.
After the hike, you can drive back to Leavenworth for lunch or dinner, depending on when you finish your hike. It is a cool small town worth checking out. You can also spend a night here if interested in more hiking in this area or visiting Lake Chelan.
We had an early dinner in Leavenworth at Andreas Keller Restaurant before driving back to Seattle. On the way back we took the scenic US-2 enjoying mountain peaks, waterfalls, and closer to Seattle’s majestic Mt. Rainier over Lake Washington.
Total Driving Distance: 260 miles
Day 14 – North Cascades National Park
The North Cascades National Park is furthest away from Seattle which makes it an exceptionally long day to do just a day trip to North Cascades. For the hikes suggested here, the best place to stay would be Winthrop if you decide to spend a night.
If you are looking for one hike that will give you a little bit of everything wildflowers, forests, alpine lake, and panoramic views of North Cascades Maple Pass Loop is the hike to take on. It is a 6.6-mile heavily trafficked loop with an elevation gain of little over 2000 ft.
Right down the road from it, off WA-20 is also the trailhead to Blue Lake. It is a short and easy 5-mile out-and-back hike that takes you to Blue Lake with an elevation gain of ~ 1100 ft.
We finished the night with a Mediterranean meal at Ephesus.
Total Driving Distance: 315 miles
Day 15 – Mt. Rainier National Park
There is something majestic about Mt. Rainier, just the way it sits above everything else almost as if it is floating. Pick a clear day to explore this park. You can start by going to the Paradise entrance, this park entrance is open year-round. From the Paradise Ranger Station, you can hike up to Panorama Point via Skyline Trail.
From the Panorama Point, you can return the same way or make a loop of it and visit Myrtle Falls with the Rainier backdrop. Skyline Loop is a moderate 5.6-mile hike with an elevation gain of ~1800 ft.
The next stop is Reflection Lake and Pinnacle Peak located off Stevens Canyon Rd. Reflection Lake is self-explanatory when the water is still and the clouds clear you can get a mesmerizing reflection of the Rainier however, when we visited it was still frozen over.
Across from the Reflection Lake is a Pinnacle Peak trailhead, a quick but strenuous hike. Only 2.4 miles out-and-back with over 1000 ft. elevation gain. Once at the peak enjoy the view of Mt. Rainier and the beauty around you. It is a perfect place to enjoy your lunch if you bring it with you or a celebratory beverage.
After the Pinnacle Peak hike, we made a loop around Mt. Rainier towards WA-123 and from here you have three different options as to what to do:
Naches Peak Loop is a 3.2-mile loop with a 600 ft. elevation gain. The hike begins at Tipsoo Lake with views of Mt. Rainier, Yakima Peak, Naches Peak and valleys with beautiful flowers in July and August.
Take a Gondola to Crystal Mountain for amazing views of Mt. Rainier.
Hike Mount Fermont Lookout Trail is a 5.7-mile out-and-back hike with an elevation gain of over 1000 ft, a heavily trafficked trail.
You will not go wrong with any of these choices.
If you decide to spend more time around Mt. Rainier, Ashford is a town to stay in or Packwood.
If not, head back to Seattle and treat yourself to the Italian fair at Assaggio Ristorante.
Total Driving Distance: 250 miles
Day 16 – Fly Home
After an amazing fifteen days, it’s time to head home or to your next destination.
This may be a packed itinerary for some and there is nothing wrong with picking and choosing things to do and taking a rest day.
If looking to shorten the itinerary eliminate one day in Willamette Valley, two days would be sufficient to experience the wine country. Another option is to skip the hike to the Rattlesnake Ledge and Twin Falls.
If looking to add more days to the itinerary add more days in North Cascade and Olympic National Park, and visit Lake Chelan.
Other helpful links:
Ultimate Hike to Colchuk Lake In Alpine Wilderness
Amazing Hikes in Washington State
Three Unique Wineries in Columbia Valley
10-Day Oregon Itinerary
How to Hike God’s Thumb
Winter at Crater Lake National Park