There are many modes of transportation that take you from Portland to Reno. These two cities are about 530 miles apart, with about half a day’s worth of travel if you’re going by car. However, you can take the fastest travel by plane if you need to reach the destination quickly. Whichever way you choose, it’s always a good idea to make memories as you go.
Quick travel information
Portland is a city in Oregon and has the largest population within the state. Most of the area is flat land, although the “West Hills” or the foothills of the Tualatin Mountains form part of the city, too. Several bodies of water surround Portland, including the Willamette River flowing through the middle of the city.
Nevada’s largest city, Reno, boasts excellent weather that allows travelers to enjoy various outdoor and indoor recreational activities.
The breathtaking Lake Tahoe is within fifty miles from the city, along with the world’s most outstanding ski facilities. You can go hunt, bike, camp, and go mountain climbing in Reno!
Flying by plane- fastest route at 1 hour 38 minutes
You can catch a commercial flight to Reno from Portland, which is by far the quickest way to reach the city. Several airlines service this route, such as Alaska, Delta, and United. You can save a few hours off your travel time if you book a flight. However, it’s not the cheapest option unless you have frequent flyer points to spare.
The flight takes approximately an hour and 38 minutes, covering about 440 miles. Alaska Airlines is the only airline, for now, that offers direct flights on this route. The first flight AS2171 departs the Portland International Airport (PDX) at 7:00 am and lands at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) at around 8:36 am. The second flight AS3334 leaves PDX at 4:10 pm and arrives at RNO at 5:38 pm. You can expect to pay about $80 if you’re taking these options.
Other flights also service the Portland-Reno route, although they operate on a one-stop basis. To get to PDX, you can book a car for hire or take the 30-minute MAX Red Line tram ride costing about $2.50. Once you arrive in Reno, you can hire a car or ride the bus.
Traveling by train and bus—over a day
You can reach Reno from Portland by taking the train, although it’s not the best option if you need to get there as fast as possible. Two Amtrak trains service the route daily. Both trains leave Portland’s Union Station at around 2:22 pm with one transfer from Valley Station in Sacramento, CA. The first Amtrak Coast Starlight Train arrives in Reno at around 3:56 pm, while the second train arrives at around 5:50 pm.
The trip costs around $100-$200 and lasts for an average of 25 hours and 30 minutes. Along the way, you can pass by some stunning scenery and roads that make the long trip worthwhile.
If you want to travel by bus, you can take the daily Greyhound bus that departs the Portland Union Station at 6:45 pm. This trip runs for around 19 hours and 20 minutes and arrives in Reno, NV at around 2:05 pm the next day. The bus fare is around $109, which is somewhat like train prices. The difference is the number of stops when you choose this mode of transportation.
From Portland, OR, the Greyhound bus makes a 20-minute stop at RS Roseburg, OR, with four additional stops between these two points. The next stop is at Redding, CA, which lasts for about 30 minutes.
You will then have to transfer to another bus in Sacramento, CA, and you can rest for around 2 hours and 15 minutes during this leg of the trip. There is another short 11-minute stop at Colfax (E), CA until it finally makes its arrival at the Reno Amtrak Station.
The best thing about traveling by bus is that you can stretch and get a quick snack during the designated stops. If you are not in any hurry to reach Reno, then a bus ride can fit right into your itinerary.
Driving by car—almost 11 hours
If you bring your car or think of booking a rental for your Portland to Reno trip, you can make a schedule that lets you enjoy some scenic escapades during this approximately 11-hour travel. You can start your journey from Portland and head south to Salem by the I-5 S, which lasts roughly an hour.
From Salem, you can drive to Eugene, OR then go straight to Chemult, OR via the OR-57 or the US-97 that passes through Klamath Falls. You can take a rest and plan an overnight stay to get you ready for the next leg of your trip. From Klamath Falls, OR, you can head to Susanville, CA via CA-139 and drive for about one and a half hours from there to reach your final destination, Reno, NV.
You can enjoy much of the ride if you get a chauffeured ride from Portland. Some companies offer several choices for vehicles such as a town car, coach, or limo. This way, you can sit back and focus on the scenery while someone else handles the wheel.
Creating an itinerary with a few scenic stops can make your journey a more meaningful and fun time. Here are some places to squeeze into your schedule!
Hendricks Park in Eugene
After driving for about two hours from Portland to Eugene, OR, you can visit its oldest park, the Hendricks Park. It covers 78 acres and lies on the city’s southside. There, you will see a rhododendron garden that boasts 6,000 plant varieties.
The park is also home to Douglas fir trees that are over two centuries old. What’s surprising is that you can witness this wonderful sight right within the city limits. Additionally, Hendricks Park has the Ridgeline Trail northern trailhead. If you’re up for a hike, the 12-mile trail can take you to Eugene’s southern part. This park is open all year round.
McCredie Hot Springs
About 50 miles from Eugene, you can put in another stop near Oakridge, OR—the McCredie Hot Springs that lies within the Willamette National Forest boundaries. This natural wonder boasts several hot spring pools, which are found on each side of Salt Creek right next to the Willamette Pass Highway.
It’s easy to spot two to four pools with rock walls and silt at the bottom when you’re in the area. Depending on the season, you might find bigger and more pools especially if Salt Creek flows strongly. You should check the water temperature before jumping in since it could get too hot and may irritate your skin.
This stop is free to take and available during the daytime. The hot springs destination has a paved parking lot and bathrooms that you can use for a quick change and toilet break, too.
Crater Lake National Park
After taking a refreshing time at the hot springs, you can make another stop after an hour and a half drive at the Crater Lake National Park. It is situated on the southern side of the state and is the US’ fifth oldest national park. The main attraction is the Crater Lake caldera and its surrounding area.
Crater Lake came about because of Mount Mazama, an ancient volcano. It is the deepest lake in the country at 1,949 feet deep. You can plan a quick hiking trip among Crater Lake National Park’s numerous trails. If you want to spend a few nights outdoors, you can set up your tent on the campgrounds and marvel at nature before you.
You can also go on a boat tour if you want to explore the lake. If you want a majestic view of the lake, you can take the “Rim Drive”, a 33-mile-long path that gives you access to several observation points across the rim.
Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge
The Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge is in northern California close to the state’s border with Oregon. It is a 39,000-acre land lying within the Tule Lake Basin. It was created to preserve wildlife and provide habitat for birds. The water resources are also home to some endangered fish species.
You can head to the refuge’s visitor center and ask about the wildlife trail that’s a 10-mile auto tour route. From July to September, you can also try the summer special’s canoe trail on the lake. You will also enjoy the Discovery March, where you might catch a glimpse of the area’s wildlife including deer, geese, greater yellowlegs, and more.
Lassen Historical Museum
During your stop in Susanville, CA, you can visit the Lassen Historical Museum, which displays the rich history of the area. You can find unique items and rare photos that date back to the days of the gold rush.
The town’s oldest structure, Roop’s Fort, is right next to the museum. It is a ranch and trading post built in 1854 and referred to as Fort Defiance, signifying its key role in the 1863 Sagebrush War.
The journey from Portland to Reno shouldn’t have to be uneventful. If you travel by land, you can create more memories with your family or travel buddies when you make worthwhile stops along the way!
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Gary is an award winning full time professional photographer and videographer with too much wanderlust for his own good. Fuelled by strong coffee, you’ll often find him wandering well off hiking trails in search of interesting photographic subjects or scenery to video. Self taught and with the use of pioneering digital techniques, he quickly built up a strong client base and has worked with many prestigious organisations, including GQ, BBC, London Fashion Week, Grazia, Sky, Metro, Vogue Italia. He specialising in evocative images of people, places and cinematic videography and his goal is to make the viewer look twice and engage. As well as a penchant for good design, the ketogenic diet and Hungarian Vizslas, he also has a huge affection for Chicago, Bucharest, Scandinavia, Croatia and absolutely everywhere in Italy. Find him on Instagram @garynansome, Twitter @garynansome and his website https://garynunn.co.uk/