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Old 01-25-2018, 07:13 PM   #1
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Columbia river route

Looking for some input on route selection - We will be traveling with our granddaughter (8yo) from Walla Walla to Portland this June. Which side of the river is best for views and interesting stopping points etc. - the Washington side (route 14) or the Oregon side (route 84) ? Thanks
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Old 01-25-2018, 07:24 PM   #2
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I'm an Oregonian... what can I say... of course the Oregon side is better But truthfully it is if towing a trailer. You can make the entire trip from Walla Walla to Portland in one day... easy. Do you plan to spend the night somewhere and want to do something while you're there? I've got at least one good idea if you do. Otherwise, there's plenty of rest stops and view points on I-84 to stretch, relax a bit and views too.
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Old 01-25-2018, 07:28 PM   #3
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We took the WA side on the way back from picking up the trailer.. I didn't think there's a big difference in views.. (We did the OR side before, without trailer) The WA side seems to be a little less traveled.
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Old 01-25-2018, 08:10 PM   #4
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The waterfalls are all on the Oregon side, though the area was ravaged by wildfires last fall. Memaloose State Park is a really nice overnight stop with great views of the Columbia from the park.

If you are coming from Walla Walla I would take the Washington side to Maryhill (nice state park but pricey) and then cross over to the Oregon side there.
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Old 01-25-2018, 09:35 PM   #5
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We planned on a two day trip so we would have some time for a side trip especially if we could leave the trailer at a campground.
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Old 01-25-2018, 09:47 PM   #6
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Wellll, one of the nicest parks is actually on the Washington side (IMHO). Maryhill State Park. You take the bridge right over the Columbia River off I-84 at Biggs Junction. The park is about 1/4 mile off the bridge on the right along the Columbia River. https://parks.state.wa.us/543/Maryhill

There's a May gathering every year at Maryhill. I've gone 3-4 times. Wonderful park! And LOTS to do in the area.
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Old 01-25-2018, 10:28 PM   #7
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An 8 year old might enjoy visiting Bonneville Dam with its visitor center and fish ladder viewing windows. There is also a fish hatchery nearby(Oregon side) with huge sturgeon and trout cruising a big pond (also with viewing windows).
An 8 yo can walk up Beacon Rock on the Washington side for great gorge views.
Why not cross the river a few times to get the best of both?
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Old 01-25-2018, 10:59 PM   #8
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By an amazing happenstance, while waiting to go into The National Museum of African American History and Culture, I found myself in conversation with a woman who turned out to be film biographer and friend of Maya Lin (designer of DC Viet Nam Memorial). She told me about Maya Lin's installations along the Columbia River.
Check out: Confluence
I'm planning on using the info to plan a few trips of my own
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Old 01-26-2018, 05:20 AM   #9
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Peach Beach Campground next to Maryhill State Park is our favorite.
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Old 01-26-2018, 12:12 PM   #10
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I've done both sides, and as an impartial (New Yorker) reviewer, I have to say "it depends". If you are in a hurry, I 84 is the way to go. There are lots of waterfalls, although Multnomah Falls is the only one you will see directly from the Interstate.

The Washington side is mostly 2 lane, and has some interesting attractions. I spent an afternoon at the Maryhill Museum of Art. Very surprising to find a number of Rodin sculptures well away from a large city. There is also the Stonehenge WWI Memorial. Both are within a short drive of the Maryhill Campground.


As I said, I've done both sides. While I enjoyed the stops along the Washington side, I usually end up on I 84 heading to the eastern parts of Oregon.
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