I barely travel within the states and was blown away by Oregon’s natural beauty. I had tons of the same recommendations from different people, to visit Portland and Multnomah Falls. But to be honest, I didn’t want to do and see the same thing that the majority visit for. I found an interest to explore Mt Hood/Hood River and so that’s exactly what I did for my 2 days trip. So worth it! I can’t believe there’s no state tax here either!
We landed at PDX and waited for the shuttle to take us to the Thrifty car rental. Thrifty required a shuttle since it was off the airport terminal. Each car rental company has its own free shuttle and come at different times and operating 24 hrs. If you book a car rental that is off the airport, make sure to plan extra time when dropping off the car. You don’t want to miss your flight because of this.
Everyone we met from the beginning to the trip was so friendly. The employee at the car rental asked if we wanted to upgrade to an SUV for free since we we’re visiting Mt Hood National Forest. However, we declined since it was the summertime and there was no snow. A small car is sufficient – a small car means less wasted fuel.
We stayed in Portland for the night at a random cheap motel and got breakfast at a last-minute-decision brunch place the next morning. I highly recommend Little Griddle. Their shakshuka and eggs benedict are amazing! We spent a few hours in downtown Portland hanging out. shopping, riding electric scooters and eating ice cream before heading to our Airbnb for the remainder of the weekend.
There wasn’t much of a selection of Airbnb in our price range since we booked kind of late. So we ended up booking a place across the Columbia Gorge River in Bonneville, not realizing that it’s part of Washington. This meant, every time we needed to cross the bridge to Oregon and back, it’s $2 one day for the toll. It really adds up, but we had lots of scenic drives along the River on both Washington and Oregon’s side, so that makes up for it.
Along the scenic route to our Airbnb, we stopped at the easiest and one of the underrated waterfall to access, Latourell Falls. All I can say is, amazing. I loved how close I got to the falls and the sound of it hitting the rocks. Easy, safe, and not as remotely crowded as Multnomah Falls.
After settling into our home away from home, we got ready to get visit the lavender field I’ve been so badly wanting to visit. It didn’t work out for us and you can read all about it on my recent post about this lavender field. With whatever time remained before the sunset, we drove into Mt Hood National Forest. The drive itself is just phenomenal with a different view of Mt Hood along the drive. We stopped at Trillium Lake where we enjoyed the last minutes of daylight.
We started our last final day pretty late by sleeping and enjoying our Airbnb. After breakfast, we drove to Rowena View Point and drove back to Lavender Valley to do some test shots. I booked a private sunset shoot which you can read about it here. After the shoot, we basically packed up and prepared to leave to Portland early morning (like 3AM early).
Some takeaways from the trip:
- Definitely rent a car if you plan on going outside of Portland to do the waterfalls along the Columbia Gorge. Latourell Falls is one of many many waterfalls along the Columbia Gorge River. People typically spend a whole day doing the full waterfall “tours”. So if you have more time or prefer waterfalls more, this would be it for you. There’s a reason why Multnomah Falls is full of tourist – it’s well known for its beauty and the height of the falls. So don’t skip that as I did.
- No need for an SUV upgrade when traveling in Mt Hood area during the summertime. The more compact the car, the cheaper in terms of renal prices and gas prices. Why pay more something unnecessary. I’m speaking in terms of 2 people, a small car was perfect. We got a Kia Rio.
- Gas prices are so cheap! It makes renting a car so worth it. Also at the gas stations, there are designated employees who will pump your gas for you! Do not be alarm when someone is running to your car to get the gas pump before you do late at night. That’s what happened to us but it was just the employee ensuring he was doing his job. Haha.
- No state taxes in Oregon! So do plan some time to go shopping in Portland. A little fact about this state is that everyone pays a higher income tax because there’s no state tax. Do you think that’s fair?
- For any lodging either hotel or Airbnb, make sure to book your stay on Oregon’s side of the Columbia Gorge River. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay the $2 Toll Fee per way when crossing between Oregon and Washington. However, the drive across the river itself is so scenic and was worth the amount (for the first few times in the day).
- The drive along the Columbia Gorge River on both sides of Oregon and Washington is stunning.
- Driving into Mt Hood National Forest is phenomenal and a must-do!
- Non-fast food restaurants and gas stations close by 9PM. So if you need to eat and get gas before a long drive, plan wiser and do it before 9 PM. We ended our day so late not realizing everything closed so early and ended up with McDonald’s every night.
Overall, it was short, relaxing, and scenic trip. It goes into the books of one of my favorite places. I’ll definitely be visiting again and maybe then, I’ll visit the more commonly recommended places in Oregon. Let me know what you think!