PACIFIC NORTHWEST EXPLORER

SELF-DRIVE

13 DAYS / 12 NIGHTS

Portland | Columbia River Gorge | Mt. Rainier NP | Seattle | Olympic NP | Oregon Dunes

Redwood NP | Napa Valley | San Francisco

This tour takes you through the unmistakable landscape of Seattle to the Oregon Coast and introduces you to the cities of Portland and other coastal gems like Seaside and Newport. Enjoy the wonders of Mt. Rainier, Olympic, and Redwood National Parks on the way to Wine Country and the glorious Napa Valley. Conclude your journey in the exciting metropolis of San Francisco

 

INCLUSIONS

  • 12-night accommodation

 

Not included

International and domestic airfare · Car rental · Tolls · Parking fees · National Park admission · Meals · Gratuities to hotel personnel, guides · Beverages · Optional excursions

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DAY 1 PORTLAND OREGON

Arrive at Portland International Airport (PDX) and proceed to your hotel. Known as the “City of Roses” Portland is a big city which retains many small town charms. But its true beauty can be found in one of the local public gardens or parks within the city. Visit the International Rose Test Garden. Covering more than 5 acres of hillside in the West Hills above downtown Portland, these are among the largest and oldest rose test gardens in the United States. The gardens were established in 1917 by the American Rose Society and are used as testing grounds for new varieties of roses. Though you will probably see some familiar roses in the Gold Medal Garden, most of the 400 varieties on display are new hybrids being tested before marketing. Visit Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square, here a mechanical sculpture called the Weather Machine forecasts the weather every day at noon. Dine and shop in the many neighborhoods of Portland. With a strong artistic and musical community, unique boutiques and eateries can be found easily. Two overnight stays have been arranged here.

Accommodation: Portland for 2 nights

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DAY 2 PORTLAND · COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE · PORTLAND

Take a drive today along the scenic Columbia River Gorge. The Columbia River Gorge is a spectacular canyon of the Columbia River. Up to 4,000 feet (1300 m) deep, the canyon stretches for over 80 miles (130 km) as the river winds westward through the Cascade Range forming the boundary between the State of Washington to the north and Oregon to the south. The Columbia Gorge American Viticultural Area is located in both states. Another worthwhile visit is the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center; this is the official interpretive center for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Geology and other natural history are featured, as is the history of early white explorers and settlers in the region. Visitors can experience a recreation of the Lewis and Clark campsite at the Living History Park. Also consider visiting Mt. Hood, the highest mountain in Oregon, the fourthhighest in the Cascade Range and home to twelve glaciers. Mt. Hood is considered the Oregon volcano most likely to erupt, though based on its history, an explosive eruption is unlikely.

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DAY 3 PORTLAND · MOUNT RAINIER NP · SEATTLE

Via a scenic route the tour continues towards Mount Rainier. Mt Rainier is an active cascade volcano encased in over 35 square miles of snow and glacial ice. The 14,410’ mountain is surrounded by lush old-growth forests,  spectacular subalpine meadows and a National Historic Landmark District. There are a variety of hiking trails available for all skill levels. Visit the Longmire Museum. Pioneer James Longmire discovered mineral springs here in 1883 and built Mt. Rainier’s first hotel; his ads for miraculous water cures helped generate early tourism and a constituency for the creation of the park. Take time for the easy 0.5-mile (0.8-kilometer) Trail of the Shadows that starts on the opposite side of the main road. While in Longmire, also visit the Wilderness Information Center for trail and weather information. Drive by Mt. St. Helen where an earthquake in 1980 preceded her eruption blanketing towns, hundreds of miles away, in volcanic ash and permanently altering the mountain’s face. Plants and animals in the blast zone were destroyed instantly. For the last two decades visitors have been able to see the volcanic cone and surrounding area for a personal look at the damage and recovery process. After visiting the National Parks continue towards Seattle where you will stay 2 nights.

Accommodation: Seattle for 2 nights

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DAY 4 SEATTLE

Today, enjoy all the sights and sounds of Seattle. Much of modern Seattle began in 1962 with the World’s Fair. It helped spark the creation of the Space Needle, the Seattle Center, the Coliseum, and other local landmarks. The fair prompted the further development of parks, roads, and transportation systems. One of the city’s major attractions is the Waterfront. Here you will find shops, restaurants and the Seattle Aquarium, Odyssey Maritime Discovery Center, and Ye Olde Curiosity. Take the time to visit Pike Place Market. The Market, which opened August 17, 1907, is one of the oldest continually operated public farmer’s markets in the country. After a long day of walking, relax on a tour boat and enjoy the views of the city from the waters of Puget Sound.

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DAY 5 SEATTLE · OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

Depart early in the morning toward Olympic National Park. Often referred to as “three parks in one”,  Olympic National Park encompasses three distinctly different ecosystems; rugged glacier capped mountains, over 60 miles of wild Pacific coast and magnificent stands of old-growth and temperate rain forest. Take a scenic drive to Hurricane Ridge; spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains can be found here. Trails offer an adventure for the climber, or simply capture a photo from afar. The Olympic Coastal Strip is a 57-mile-long expanse of rock, seawater, and sand, and holds some of the most rugged and picturesque coastline anywhere. Consider a hike along this wilderness coastline. Visit the Hoh Rain Forest, this rain forest receives over 150 inches of rain per year and is part of the only temperate rain forest in the United States. Make a stop at Lake Crescent, a popular recreational area in the Olympic National Park. At 660 feet (201 m) deep, it is one of the deepest lakes in the state of Washington. There are raft and kayak rentals available. Several hot springs can also be found in this park. Slip into a hot springsfed pool at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. The hot mineral waters that rise to the surface along the Sol Duc Riverbanks have here been channeled into tiled pools. A more rustic option is Olympic Hot Springs; the six sandy pools here are set amid lush deep-emerald lowland forest. Much wildlife can be found in the park, including Roosevelt elk, cougars, black bears, sea otters, and marmots. Enjoy an overnight stay in the Olympic National Park area.

Accommodation: Olympic National Park Area for 1 night

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DAY 6 OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK · OREGON COAST · NEWPORT

The tour continues today toward Newport, by way of Seaside and Cannon Beach. The town of Seaside is a popular Oregon costal destination. Seaside lies at the end of the Lewis & Clark trail, where the two explorers reached the Pacific Ocean. A monument celebrating the discovery stands at the circular loop drive where Broadway Street ends and the stairway down to the beachfront begins. Along the promenade, a two-milelong boardwalk, there are plenty of shops and restaurants. Just a few miles further you will encounter Cannon Beach, recognized by its well-known landmark, Haystack Rock, located southwest of downtown. This igneous rock has an elevation of 235 feet, and is often accessible at low tide, especially in the summertime. There is a small cave system that penetrates the rock and can be seen from the coastline. Continue to Newport where the picturesque Yaquina Head Lighthouse welcomes you. This town is known for its Dungeness crab and glorious harbor under the graceful Yaquina Bay Bridge. Visit the Yaquina Head Lighthouse; this 93-foot-high tower is the tallest on the Oregon coast. The historic Bay Front offers a mixture of shops, galleries, canneries and restaurants that serve fresh clam chowder, shrimp, oysters, crab and salmon.

Accommodation: Newport for 1 night

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DAY 7 NEWPORT · OREGON DUNE · COOS BAY

Explore the second part of Oregon’s Pacific coast today. Make a stop at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Wind-sculpted sand dunes towering to 500 feet above sea level provide numerous recreational opportunities including off-highway vehicle use, hiking, photography, fishing, canoeing and horseback riding. But the most exciting thing to do is ride the Dune Buggies in the dunes! Enjoy thick “tree islands”, open dunes, marsh-like deflation plains and beaches. Continue to Coos Bay. In downtown Coos Bay, there is an attractive waterfront boardwalk, complete with historical displays, and what was once a huge lumber mill is now the site of the equally large Mill Resort & Casino.

Accommodation: Coos Bay for 1 night

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DAY 8 COOS BAY · CRATER LAKE · MEDFORD

The journey today leads you through fascinating volcanic Lava Lands to Crater Lake National Park. The Park encompasses Crater Lake’s caldera which rests in the remains of a destroyed volcano called Mount Mazama. The lake is 1,949 feet (594m) deep, making it the deepest lake in the United States. The impressive average depth of this volcanic lake is due to the nearly symmetrical 4000 foot (1220 m) deep caldera formed 7,700 years ago during the violent climactic eruptions and subsequent collapse of Mt. Mazama and the relatively moist climate that is typical of the crest of the Cascade Mountains. Crater Lake has no streams flowing into or out of it. The lake’s water regularly has a striking blue hue and is filled entirely from direct precipitation in the form of snow and rain. Continue to Medford for an overnight stay.

Accommodation: Medford for 1 night

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DAY 9 MEDFORD · REDWOOD NATIONAL PARK · EUREKA

Depart Medford this morning and consider stopping at the Oregon Caves National Monument. Although small in size, this national monument offers the opportunity to explore a cave. Guided tours are offered for visitors of all ages and skill levels. Above ground, you will see a coniferous forest which harbors a fantastic array of plants, including a Douglas-fir tree with the widest known girth in Oregon. Below ground, is an active marble cave created by natural forces over the course of millions of years. Continue your journey to Redwood National Park located along the coastal northern California. This Park protects 45% of the remaining groves of coastal redwood, the tallest and one of the most massive tree species on earth. Here, banana slugs, gray whales, Douglas-fir, black bears, and sea anemones are equally at home with redwoods. Take a serene hike one of the fascinating trails and discover the wonder of these ancient trees. Continue to Eureka for an overnight stay.

Accommodation: Eureka for 1 night

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DAY 10 EUROKA · WINE COUNTRY · SANTA ROSA AREA

Depart Eureka and up the stunning Pacific Coast into wine country. Many of the wineries offer tastings and tours of the facilities. A unique experience can be found on the Wine Train, which tours the Napa wine making region aboard elegant Pullman lounge and dining cars. Circa 1915, the Honduran mahogany, polished brass, imported linens, and etched glass hark back to a time when such luxuries were reserved for the rich. Passengers may elect for brunch, lunch, or dinner trips, all of which include seasonal gourmet dishes and opportunities to sample the finest Californian wines. Continue to the Santa Rosa Area for an overnight stay.

Accommodation: Santa Rosa Area for 1 night

Today’s Suggested Optional Experience (at an additional cost, contact our VIP service)

NAPA VALLEY WINERY TOUR (STS-TAST):

Enjoy touring a century old winery and taste the wide diversity of Award-Winning Wines. Learn about the rich wine-making history of the area and relax among beautifully landscaped grounds.

*Persons under 21 years of age are not allowed to consume alcohol in the US. They will be given an alternative beverage.

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DAY 11 SANTA ROSA · MUIR WOODS · SAN FRANCISCO

Depart Santa Rosa and drive on to San Francisco. Along the way, visit Muir Woods National Monument. Muir Woods, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is a park which is great for hikers. Hiking trails vary in the level of difficulty and distance. Picnicking, camping, and pets are not allowed in the park. The star attraction of the Muir Woods is the Coast Redwood. These relatives of the Giant Sequoia are known for their height. While redwoods can grow to nearly 380 feet (115 m), the tallest tree in the Muir Woods is 258 feet (79 m). The average age of the redwoods in the Monument are between 500 and 800 years old with the oldest being at least 1,200 years old. After visiting Muir Woods, drive by Sausalito. Located at the North end of the Golden Gate Bridge this town is a nice place to stop. Enjoy the views at the harbors and stroll along the Bridgeway, the city’s main street. Continue to San Francisco. San Francisco is home of majestic wine country and the Golden Gate Bridge. The term “melting pot” is used to describe many American cities and towns, but it is most appropriate for San Francisco. Rows of elegant houses, the famous cable cars, clusters of ethnic neighborhoods, and the colorful waterfront all add to the distinctive international flavor of the city.

Accommodation: San Francisco for 2 nights

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DAY 12 SAN FRANCISCO

Today you are free to enjoy the many sights and sounds of San Francisco. Take a cable car ride to the many attractions around this city. Visit the infamous island of Alcatraz located. Located in the middle of San Francisco Bay, through the years, this island has served as a lighthouse, a military fortification, and finally as a federal prison until 1963. The rangers give excellent guided tours detailing the history and legends surrounding “The Rock.” You may also choose to spend the day in Golden Gate Park which offers dozens of fun things to do. Top sights are the Conservatory of Flowers and the Japanese Tea Garden. Don’t miss the local resident buffalo herd. This evening dines in one of San Francisco’s many distinctive neighborhoods. From Chinatown to the very Italian flavored North Beach, each offers its own distinctive culture and cuisine.

Today’s Suggested Optional Experience (at an additional cost)

ALCATRAZ ISLAND CRUISE & TOUR (SFO-ALCA):

Alcatraz and history go hand in hand. Once home to some of America’s most notorious criminals, the federal penitentiary that operated here from 1934 to 1963 brought a dark mystique to the Rock. The presence of infamous inmates like Al “Scarface” Capone, and the “Birdman” Robert Stroud helped to establish the island’s notoriety. To this day, Alcatraz is best known as one of the world’s most legendary prisons. Many people, though, are unaware of the wealth of other stories to be learned on the island. Alcatraz is now home to rare flowers and plants, marine wildlife, and thousands of roosting and nesting sea birds.

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DAY 13 SAN FRANCISCO

Depart at leisure for the San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

**Prices in this document are for information only; they were issued at press time, for the current year. Please note that due to exchange rates and temporary promotions, they can increase or decrease at any time. Contact your travel agent for the price and promotion of the moment The prices indicated exclude the contribution to the Customer Compensation Fund of $3.50 per $1,000 of tourism product or service purchased from a travel agent in Quebec.