Our epic tour begins in Seattle, Washington with a shuttle to Yakima. From here we launch our assault on Mt. Rainier on Day 2 – the highest of the volcanoes. We’ll follow the Naches River to its source in the High Cascades as we climb Chinook Pass. Just beyond the summit, we’ll ride beneath the historic arch that announces our arrival in Mt. Rainier National Park and catch our first incredible views of magnificent Rainier. We’ll spend the night at Crystal Mountain Resort on the eastern flanks of the mountain, with incredible views of the flower covered meadows up to the snow covered summit.
Day 3 we begin with a climb to Cayuse Pass on the eastern edge of the park, and then enjoy an extensive descent to the Ohanapecosh valley, and on down through the town of Cascade Peaks and westward to Morton. In order to fulfill our quest of giant ascents and descents, we’ll need to van shuttle from here to the town of Hood River. Here we are right in the middle of the Columbia River Gorge and its bountiful fruit farms. The town is a hot spot for foodies, trekkers, historians and adrenaline junkies, like wind surfers who are frequently found on the river.
The climb from Hood River on to Timberline Lodge on the slopes of Mt. Hood, planned for Day 4, is heroic, to say the least – a true classic Timberline climb! The views of Hood as we climb from the gorge are breathtaking and continue throughout this extraordinary day. Our overnight is at the historic Timberline Lodge. Built during the Great Depression, this National Historic Landmark sits at nearly 6,000 ft in elevation and provides a rustic elegance in a beautiful mountain-top setting for an enchanting stay.
The payback for yesterday’s climb will come on Day 5 as we roll downhill to Madras. Our route south and east is smoothly paved and less traveled than the western side providing a very pleasant ride. Some gentle uphills keep our legs engaged as we whiz down to the Deschutes River Valley and back up to Madras.
Another van shuttle will bring us to our next climb on Mt. Bachelor on Day 6. We climb moderately today, up and around three sides of the mountain along the quiet roads of the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway towards La Pine. From there we’ll be whisked to the southern side of Crater Lake National Park for our final mountain ascent. The climb on Day 7 to the lake is full of anticipation until we crest the lip of that crater to look out across the bluest lake you will ever see. Lucky for us, there is a road all the way around the lake, providing views of the crater and the surrounding hills from every angle. Our last night is at the magnificent Crater Lake Lodge, on the brink of the caldera in another historic building. On our final Day 8, we exit the national park to the north, then wrap around back to the south to finish our descent along the Rogue River through beautiful national forest land. Our tour concludes in Medford with a shuttle to the Rogue Valley International Medford Airport, or a nearby hotel.