The day trip is something that’s mastered through carefully crafted itineraries. Visit Vancouver USA, the agency promoting tourism in Vancouver, recently updated its website with itinerary ideas. Locals and visitors alike use the city as a home base for exploring the region.
“Generally speaking, the visitors we’re seeing, they’re staying the night here and they’re using Vancouver as a jumping-off point,” said Jacob Schmidt, director of marketing and communications.
East along the Columbia River Gorge, north to Mount St. Helens and west to the Oregon Coast can be explored within a day’s drive of Vancouver. It’s just a matter of picking a direction and hitting the road.
Mount St. Helens views and trails
Total drive time: 4 hours
Johnston Ridge Observatory is open through October, so if you want to visit this year, fall is your last chance. It usually doesn’t reopen until sometime around May 18, the anniversary of Mount St. Helens’ 1980 eruption.
“It’s just in our backyard, so it’s easy to take for granted,” Heather Ibsen, public affairs specialist with the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. “Johnston Ridge really quiets down after Labor Day.”