DRIVING FROM SEATTLE
Allow at least 3 to 4 hours. Smart phones are invariably incorrect about estimated travel times – take their input with a grain of salt.
From I-5 South, take Exit 59 (Vader-Ryderwood). At the end of the off-ramp is a stop sign at the intersection with Hwy. 506.
At the stop sign, turn left onto Hwy 506 (westbound) and travel 3 winding miles. There is a sign marking the intersection of South Military Road/West Side Highway. Turn left (south) on West Side Highway. (If you enter the town of Vader, you have gone 1/2 mile too far.)
After approximately 2.5 miles, drive over a bridge/overpass. A few hundred yards past this bridge is the right turn to Agren Road. Turn right (a hairpin turn) and drive about 1/2 mile. You will see a large red barn and white picket fence on the right side of the road and a large black mailbox opposite it on the left, marked Cloud Mountain Retreat Center and with our street number, 373. Turn left into the long driveway and proceed to the parking lot. Signs will guide you to the unloading and parking areas.
DRIVING FROM PORTLAND
Allow plenty of extra time on Friday afternoon to get through Portland traffic and to cross the bridges. Smart phones are invariably incorrect about estimated travel times – take their input with a grain of salt.
Go North on I-5 or I-205 approximately 50 miles. Take Exit 48 (Castle Rock business loop). From the off-ramp turn left onto Huntington Ave. Follow Huntington Ave., about 1.6 miles, into the center of Castle Rock.
At the 3-way stop sign with the blinking red light, turn left onto ‘A’ Street. Follow ‘A’ Street approximately 0.8 of a mile through the town and over the bridge across the Cowlitz River, continuing to drive straight until you reach the intersection with the 4-way stop signs. At this 4-way stop turn right (north) onto Hwy. 411 (West Side Highway). Drive north 7 miles.
About 3/4 mile before the turn onto Agren Road you will see railroad tracks running along the right side, parallel to West Side Highway. When you’re driving parallel with these railroad tracks start watching for the street sign marking Agren Road. Turn left onto Agren Road, taking the turn slowly since it curves a bit at the bottom of the hill. About 0.6 of a mile up the road you will see a large red barn on the right side of the road and a large black mailbox opposite it on the left, marked Cloud Mountain Retreat Center and with our street number, 373. Turn left into the long driveway and proceed to the parking lot. Signs will guide you to the unloading and parking areas.
EV CHARGING STATION
We have an Electric Vehicle charging station adjacent to the parking lot. Several parking spaces are marked for priority parking by electric vehicles to allow convenient access to the charger.
Public transportation options to our area are very limited. The closest public transportation stops for Greyhound and Amtrak are 20 miles away from Cloud Mountain to the north and south. Regretfully, Cloud Mountain cannot offer pick ups, so if you choose to take public transportation, you would need to take a taxi/Uber/Lyft the last 20 miles.
If you are having trouble arranging a ride-share and need to utilize public transportation, you might consider taking a bus or train to a major metropolitan area like Seattle or Portland and arranging a ride-share from there.
If you are flying in from out of the area we recommend that you fly into Portland International Airport (PDX). There is door-to-door shuttle service between PDX and Cloud Mountain, but not from Seattle’s airport, SeaTac. Even though people flying in are usually able to arrange ride-shares with other retreat participants, having the shuttle service allows for a back-up plan to get to the retreat center in the event of unforeseen travel difficulties.
Because riding a shuttle carries a cost, we encourage those of you flying in to arrange a ride-share with another retreatant as your first and best travel choice. It would be wise to alert us on your registration form (or as soon as possible if you did not clearly state your need on the registration form) that you will be flying in for the retreat. When you receive the ride-share email we recommend you proceed in one of several ways:
- You may choose to directly contact volunteers on the list offering rides from Portland.
- You may get in touch with others flying in and/or needing rides from Portland and work out a group travel arrangement. You may very likely be able to arrange reduced costs for a shuttle if you put together a group of people traveling to and from CM. Please check with the shuttle service for their guidelines for a discounted rate.
- You may book a solo shuttle. A one-way solo shuttle can be expensive so we encourage you to thoroughly explore options 1 and 2 above.
- You may arrange a rental car individually or as a small group.
- You may explore possibilities with alternative transportation such as Uber, Lyft, etc.
Please note: Cloud Mountain does not make shuttle reservations on behalf of retreat participants or get involved in organizing shuttles. Ongoing policy changes at the local shuttle services and changeability among retreatants’ travel itineraries make it impractical for us to assume responsibility for or have any involvement in shuttle arrangements. Retreatants are entirely responsible for their travel to and from Cloud Mountain.)
NOTE THIS CHANGE: Blue Star NO LONGER provides individual door-to-door service between Portland International Airport and Cloud Mountain. They are still offering charter possibilities, so they are worth calling if you arranging a shuttle as a group.
TIMING INBOUND AND OUTBOUND FLIGHTS
Sometimes people run into difficulties in finding a flight that departs late enough to work well with this schedule on the last day, especially those flying from the east coast or internationally. Based on experience, if that is the case for you we encourage you to book a hotel room in Portland, stay overnight and fly out the next day. Often, hotel rooms can be booked inexpensively when purchased with a plane ticket. If you arrange an earlier flight, and thus must leave the retreat center prior to the scheduled end of the retreat, likely be forced to book a solo shuttle, which at the current rates could cost you over $100 for the one-way trip back to Portland.
It is probably helpful for us to provide you with some understanding of why we request that everyone stay through until the scheduled end of the retreat. On all of our retreats, we ask every participant to commit to daily and final working meditation tasks to support the flow of the retreat and help the retreat center offer retreats with only a tiny residential staff. At the end of retreats, we need the help of all participants to clean up the retreat center. This is true on every retreat. All of the rooms and buildings receive heavy use and need a good, thorough cleaning by the end. We encourage you to make every effort to stay through the end of the retreat, since a departure prior to the scheduled end has a negative impact on the other participants and on the retreat center staff, leaving them all with quite a lot of extra work to do to clean up the retreat center.
Please also bear in mind that you yourself will directly benefit by experiencing the closing of the retreat as part of the group and by ending your retreat and making your re-entry into the world of speech and activity in a calm and relaxed way. You will have just come out of a period of deep practice, and you will give yourself a priceless gift by assuring yourself the gentlest possible transition.
All of this being said, rest assured we understand that sometimes unusual circumstances exist, and that, despite your best intentions and efforts, you may encounter difficulties in making your travel arrangements in accordance with the recommendations above. We are aware, for example, that international travelers may encounter very limited options in booking plane tickets. We encourage you to call the Cloud Mountain office if this is true for you, and we will be happy to explore various options to work out an arrangement that contains kindness, consideration and respect for everyone.