Freddie, dburchfield, and LOALTD,
Thanks for posting such stunning images. I might have to check out the Pacific Northwest first, then Colorado This probably gets asked a million times, but what are the pros and cons of the Portland area vs. Seattle for this type of trip? It seems like the weather might be better in Portland?
Haha, oh man, it probably has, but it’s no less controversial!
Just to get my bias out of the way: I lived in Portland for 5 years.
There is a lot of Seattle vs Portland nonsense in the NW. As far as which one to make your base of operations? That really depends on what you want to shoot most and what your travel style is.
Personally, I’d probably try to wing it and just get places to stay as I shot. I’m not much of a planner though, and I’m very much a seat-of-your-pants style traveler.
It’s definitely much easier to find cheap places to stay in Portland, that is for sure.
People from Portland will exaggerate how much better the weather is there, but really, it’s pretty much a wash. In the summer (July-Sep is what is often considered the summer in the NW) they both have incredible weather. 70’s and sunny just about every day. As you move further away from this window, you chance of overcast skies and drizzle increases. Seattle is slightly colder and slightly more drizzly, but not enough to really notice. If it’s overcast in one city, it’s very likely overcast in the other!
Depending on where in it you go, the Columbia River Gorge is 20min-1hr from Portland. Mt Hood is about 1hr 20 min from Portland. My old climbing club has a lodge on Mt Hood that is VERY cheap (about $22/night), you can stay right on the mountain for next to nothing. You’ll be sleeping in a bunk with other people though, it’s very much like a hostel. Hood River is a very fun/party town in the Gorge that’s about 30-40 min from Mt Hood as well. If you like breweries, there are a lot of great ones there. (most well-known would be Full Sail, best ones to check out in town would be Double Mountain and Pfriem)
There is some incredible stuff in Washington though: Mt Rainier, North Cascades National Park, Palouse Falls, the Palouse wheat fields, Olympic National Park (only temperate rainforest in lower 48), Washington Coast (much better than Oregon coast, don’t tell anyone I told you that!). I also think Seattle is probably one of the most gorgeous cities I’ve ever been to in the states.
In my opinion, Washington’s scenery is even more incredible than Oregon’s, but you have to work much harder to see it. Long drives and in some cases, long hikes.
If you had a limited amount of time, Portland would be a better call. If you had over a week, I might start considering Washington.
If you plan on constantly running-and-gunning, you could probably see a ton of both in a week.
Clear as mud?