Pacific Northwest Without a Car. Possible?
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Aug 20, 2012 10:26 AM Last Post By: fdbaz
Aug 17, 2012 5:51 PM
Pacific Northwest Without a Car. Possible?So I'm planning a trip with two friends to visit the PNW (mainly portland, seattle, vancouver). We live in southern california and thought about making it a road trip, but it's a LONG way and we only have about 12 days. Flying is cheap and I know all 3 cities have amazing public transportation, but I was hoping to do some day excursions to the Columbia River Gorge and Olympic National Park, and we are not old enough to rent a car. Would those places be worthwhile or even possible to visit without a car? Or if we flew would you recommend that we just stick to the cities? If those places aren't possible, any recommendations for hikes, national parks, etc. that can be reached more easily without a car (or any other must-sees and tips at all for that matter) would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Aug 17, 2012 5:56 PM
Aug 17, 2012 6:44 PM
2I think what #1 was trying to say - not very helpfully - is that you really need a car to get out of town, at least in Portland and Seattle.
In Portland, you can visit Forest Park without a car. It's right "in town" but you'll feel worlds away after you hike a few minutes. The Gorge and Olympic are pretty much impossible without a car or tour.
Aug 17, 2012 6:46 PM
Aug 17, 2012 7:26 PM
Aug 17, 2012 11:14 PM
Aug 18, 2012 12:15 AM
Aug 18, 2012 6:02 AM
7Philosophically speaking, NoCal and the Pacific NW are probably the most 'non-car friendly' area in the country. What I mean by that is that you're much less likely to be regarded as an alien low-life scumsucking bottomfeeder homeless vagrant go get a job you bum type in that region than anywhere else in theshe Yoo-nited Shtatesh.
In other words, you're not automatically a subhuman if you walk or bike.
From a practical standpoint, however, you're going to need a lot more than 12 days for doing what you're planning on doing without a car.
Picking one of those cities and exploring it and its' surroundings by bike would be doable.
Aug 18, 2012 7:25 AM
8This thread on Your Choice does wander all over the place, but it does give some ideas for getting to Crater Lake.
Aug 18, 2012 10:27 AM
Aug 18, 2012 11:12 AM
10Just a few added considerations:
Seattle doesn't have particularly good public transit--definitely not "amazing." Portland has better. Vancouver, better still. None of them are so good that you can easily get out of town for those wilderness experiences you say you're after.
Best bet for an accessible city experience with easy access to mountains, coast and more is Vancouver. Lots of neighborhood pubs and food options, city buses to the north shore,that sort of thing. It's also easy get up to Squamish or Whistler, to Victoria, to a variety of other places with mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, climbing, mountaineering, etc. etc. etc. Even the city parks are a step or two above anything you'll find in Portland or Seattle, comments above notwithstanding.
Any of your destinations would be better with a car unless you really just want to hang in the urban centers, in which case a car would just get in the way.
Hope that's helpful.
Aug 19, 2012 6:11 AM
11Portland, Seattle and Vancouver BC are linked by AMTRAK train service and busses. Youcan also take a ferry from Seattle to Vancouver BC.
The Columbia Gorge would be difficult to visit without a car, but there are busses from Portland to places like The Dalles or Hood River; however, getting out of those towns to hiking and stuff would be hard.
It is possible to access Olympic National Park by public transport, but it would be time consuming. You could take a bus from Seattle to Port Angeles. Once in Port Angeles you could take local busses on the Clallam County Transit system http://www.clallamtransit.com/ These busses will get you to Forks, Hoh River, Lake Quinault, but getting anywhere from the bus stops means hitchiking or walking.
Aug 20, 2012 10:26 AM
12It is possible to access some hikes by short walks from Metro Transit stops in the Seattle area. There are a couple of such with around 2000' elevation gain in the "Issaquah Alps" (Squak and Tiger Mountains) and, with a bit more walking, in the North Bend area. These are not "destination hikes" like the many great ones in Rainier / Olympic / North Cascades National Parks, Glacier Peak / Alpine Lakes Wilderness Areas, etc.; no one would ever travel more than 40-50 miles to get to them. However, they do climb through nice (mostly second-growth) forest to decent views.
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