Boise to Portland Road Trip

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The drive from Boise to Portland is one of the most beautiful and underrated routes on the West Coast. With stunning mountains, rushing rivers, and expansive plains right outside your window, you don’t even have to leave your vehicle to be impressed!
We’ve put together a guide of a few unique places to stop between Boise and Portland—just in case you have some time to meander.
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Whether you prefer waterfalls or Wild West history, we’ve got you covered with the best places to stop between Boise and Portland.

Start—Boise, ID

Why you should go: Formerly known as a university town and agricultural center, the city is now nationally recognized as a major art and industry hub.
Locals know how walkable the area is, both in the urban development areas and in the countryside. Boise is full of good food and boasts endless outdoor activities for nature lovers.
What you should do: Before you leave town, explore a few places that are unique to Boise. Start at Julia Davis Park to clear your lungs. This beautiful park offers 89 acres of gorgeous, flat walking trails on the river and it’s right smack in the middle of downtown. Parking is reserved for park patrons, so make sure to get a pass when you arrive.
Boise’s art galleries are bursting with incredible paintings and sculptures that reflect the wild landscape of Idaho. The Boise Art Museum is worth visiting, but the artist-owned Art Source Gallery cooperative is also a good choice.
The Old Idaho Penitentiary housed some of the most brazen criminals of the West during its day—and you can tour it.
Finally, peek into the Basque Museum and Cultural Center to learn about the history of Basque communities in Idaho.
The Boise Depot stands with white siding, a red tile roof, and a bell tower. Snow is on the ground but a small river still flows down rock slabs nearby.
Boise, Idaho

Stop in—Baker City, OR

Why you should go: Only two hours from Boise, Baker City is a lovely Oregonian town on the edge of some stunning wilderness. If you want to enjoy some natural beauty, you have plenty of choices—but you can also wander around the town for an education in the earliest days of the state’s history.
In Baker City, you can learn more about the Oregon Trail, as well as the history and heritage of the state of Oregon. The town’s museum is brimming with artifacts that will make you feel like a true pioneer.
What you should do: For a good hike, head to Rock Creek Butte. McEwen Depot & Museum is another good option, especially if you’re interested in railroads.
Just east of town is the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Here, you can go for a short walk in the brush and imagine the pioneer life of the 1800s. There’s also an engaging living history activity, plenty of dioramas, and well-designed postcards in the gift shop that feature art about the Oregon Trail experience.
Key Takeaway The early history of Idaho and Oregon is fascinating—don’t miss the chance to learn more about it on your drive.
An old white building facade at the corner of Court Ave. in Baker City, Oregon
Baker City, Oregon
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Stop in—La Grande, OR

Why you should go: An hour and a half north is La Grande, home to stunning wetlands and outdoor activities that don’t require a ton of sweating.
You can fish, bike, or walk the wetlands and get back in the car, no problem. A visit to La Grande requires no deviation from your route, and yet a stopover will reward you with a ton of natural beauty just off the highway.
What you should do: If you have some time to spare, La Grande is perfect for casual fly fishing on the nearby Grande Ronde River. The Ladd Marsh is another lovely area to catch some fresh air and stretch your legs, either by bike or by foot. The wetlands are home to many coveted bird species—just make sure to bring a rain jacket.
Don’t leave without stopping by the Elgin Opera House. It’s an unassuming building in the center of town but it produces amazing community-run concerts, shows, and other performances.
The Grande Ronde River winds through a mountain valley made up of alternating patches of pine forest and bare stone in Oregon.
Grande Ronde River, Oregon

Stop in—Boardman, OR

Why you should go: After two more hours on I-84, you will arrive at the Columbia River—and it’s worth a stop just to appreciate the incredible vista. The town itself doesn’t have a ton of cultural attractions to offer, but you can fill up on farm-fresh food to fuel the rest of your trip here.
Boardman’s proximity to nearby farmland means it’s overflowing with fresh, local agricultural bounty. Doesn’t that sound like a better road trip food stop than another gas station?
What you should do: The old Union Pacific Railway Depot is an interesting 10-minute excursion, and a true relic of days gone by. But Boardman’s real point of pride is the SAGE center, its bold architecture visible from the highway.
For a $5 admission fee (includes free parking), you can learn about sustainable agriculture and energy projects in the area.
Walk Marine Drive and breathe in some fresh air beside the rumbling Columbia River before you continue onto the final stretch of your drive.
Pro Tip The SAGE center also sells Tillamook ice cream onsite!
A field of sunflowers in bloom, with the Columbia River flowing horizontally in the background, in Oregon.
Columbia River, Oregon

Stop in—Multnomah Falls, OR

Why you should go: Multnomah Falls is famous worldwide, and it’s just off the highway. You can enjoy picture-perfect views after a short (but moderately challenging) two-mile round trip hike. There’s a restaurant and bathrooms onsite, too.
What you should do: Hike the trail up to the waterfall viewing point or stop at the bridge to take a photo. Pop into the lodge for hot cocoa (or an iced coffee) and grab a postcard from the gift shop. Note that parking can be tricky here, especially if it’s a sunny weekend day.
Key Takeaway Oregon’s natural beauty is famous around the globe. Don’t snub your nose at the hotspots—they’re popular for a reason!
A wooden bridge arches over Multnomah Falls, Oregon, with lush greenery on either side of the rushing white water.
Multnomah Falls, Oregon
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Arrive in—Portland, OR

Why you should go: Portland has everything: great food, stunning hikes, rivers, forests, art, and more. Plus, it’s a city that doesn’t stop when the weather gets bad—it’s a rainproof road trip destination!
What you should do: Spend time in nature in Forest Park, the Japanese Garden, or the International Rose Test Garden.
When you’re ready to eat, take your pick from hundreds of food carts in the city. From Vietnamese to gourmet grilled cheese, you’re bound to find something you love. Pip’s Doughnuts is a well-loved stop in the east end with chai flights and seasonal flavors.
It’s definitely worth exploring the art museum and theatre scene in Portland before you skip town.
The mint green St. John's bridge is visible from between two trees during sunset in Portland, Oregon.
Portland, Oregon

Tips for road-tripping in the Pacific Northwest

In fall, winter, and spring, your chances of driving through rain in the Pacific Northwest are pretty high. Stay safe by ensuring that your tires are in top condition before you go: check the tread, check the air pressure, and rotate them.

Why you need roadside assistance

You can prepare for a lot of things on your Boise to Portland road trip, like choosing your perfect hike, but you can’t prepare for stuff like a surprise flat tire or locking your keys out of your car. That’s why you need roadside assistance.
Join the roadside assistance program with Jerry and you’ll get towing assistance, jump start help, fuel delivery, winching, and even Uber credits so you don’t have to miss a beat of your trip.
"Much cheaper than my current premium. And the app was really easy to use." - Satisfied Jerry user


Is the road in eastern Oregon dangerous?

No, the highways are well maintained and it’s safe to drive in eastern Oregon. You do need to exercise caution while driving in the wind and rain along the Columbia River, as minimal visibility makes it harder to see the road.

Is there public parking in Portland?

Yes, but it’s not free. Plan to pay for parking during your visit to Portland, or leave your car at your hotel and explore the city by foot or public transit.
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