A Grand Tour in Yamhill Wine County

On a recent trip to Newberg, I noticed bus schedules for Yamhill Country Transit Area [YCTA]. There was a route connecting Newberg and McMinnville with Tigard! When I got home, I discovered YCTA also had a connection to Forest Grove. So, I in my mind I visualized a 'Grand Tour' starting in Tigard that would visit Newberg, Dundee, McMinnville, Carlton, Forest Grove, and Hillsboro.

Topological Schematic of The Yamhill Loop

Before the trip, I studied YCTA routes and schedules and determined that I couldn't just hop off the bus at each town for a short layover till the next bus came along because there were some long gaps in service. This called for planning to select the towns where I wanted to spend time on the ground.

Some Possible Transit Tours in Yamhill County

My July 25th excursion used Yamhill County Transit lines #44 and #33, which are intercity connectors with McMinnville as their hub. Here are route summaries from the YCTA website:

Summaries of YCTA Routes 33&44

Before the trip, I studied YCTA routes and schedules. See data section below. I came up with a diagram that I could use to help make choices and avoid getting stranded. The RED path is the tour (actually) taken on July 25. Other tours are discussed in Advice below.

Space-Time Diagram

This particular Tour uses YCTA 44 to begin, then uses YCTA 33 to finish, with obligatory change and layover in McMinnville.

To begin any of these tours, you need to get to the Tigard Transit Center via #12, #45, #78, or other Trimet line. Your arrival time needs to be before the YCTA bus #44 leaves. (If you get there with some slack time, cross the tracks and go to Symposium for an Espresso.)

You can buy a Day pass from the Driver or from person behind a bullet-proof westside window in the Tigard Transit Center. $2.50 cash.

YCTA Day Pass

July 25th, 2019 Grand Tour (Proof of Concept!)

My July 25 tour is RED on the space-time diagram, interpreted in words as:

8:44a — Took YCTA 44 to McMinnville. GREAT SCENIC RIDE on 99W. Went through Sherwood, Newberg, Dundee, Dayton, and Lafayette on some back roads! Arrived 10:02a. Spent 135 minutes in McMinnville.

12:45p — Took YCTA 33 to Forest Grove. Another Scenic ride, passing through Carlton, Yamhill, and Gaston! Arrived 1:27p. Spent 165 minutes in Forest Grove.

4:12p — Took YCTA 33 to Hillsboro (Same driver). Arrived 4:27p. Spent time in Hillsboro before taking Blue Line MAX to Portland.

This allowed me to have: espresso at Symposium in Tigard; a Tapa for Lunch at La Rambla and a beer at the Rooftop Bar on Hotel Oregon in McMinnVille; a shot of Billy Whiskey at The Grand Lodge in Forest Grove; dinner at Ochoa's Mexican Food in Hillsboro; and a shot of George Dickel Rye when I got home less than twelve hours after I left!


I would rather have spent 165 minutes in Carlton than in Forest Grove. That option is in Green. Another possibility (in Yellow) is to spend 328 minutes in McMinnville, and then ride all the way to Hillsboro on the 33 just for the scenery,

These are just some of the possibilities. Note if you leave Tigard at 8:44 and get off in Newberg, you'll be there for at least 200 minutes (3+ hours) before continuing to McMinnville. You could also get off in Dundee for the same kind of layover.

You could of course, go to McMinnville, and return to Tigard. Or you could go to McMinnville on YCTA 44 and to Carlton on YCTA 33 and make return trips, but Caveat Emptor! I have not worked out the return times... You may also spend additional time in McMinnville when returning to Tigard.

If you want to stop in Forest Grove, the YCTA bus drops you near the Grand Lodge, which is OK, but the good stuff (oldtown Forest Grove, Pacific U) is all a big walk from there. I suggest using Trimet 57 to get Hillsboro (or BVTRN transit station) from there, instead of walking back to the HWY 47 YCTA 33 stop.

YCTA also goes to Grand Ronde and Salem. From Grand Ronde, you can get a Costal Connector, and so on.

It's up to you what you visit! I hear there is great Ice Cream at the Pharmacy in Hillsboro. HorseRadish in Carlton is highly recommended restaurant.

A Tour could depart from Hillsboro and go to Carlton and McMinnville. Times from Hillsboro would be different, but similar. Not my project!

A Tour could possibly use WES to get back to Tigard Transit Center from BVTRN transit station, but you'd have to figure the timing. Likewise, someone could come up from Wilsonville on WES to Tigard, do the tour, then return to Wilsonville via WES!

Other things to know

  • There are two kinds of YCTA routes: Intercity Connectors and Local Service. McMinnville Transit Center (TC) is a Hub for both kinds of routes.
  • YCTA has no Arrival Time Tracker
  • YCTA has no Trip Planner, but Google can show a single point-to-point trip involving Trimet and YCTA or combinations of other transit providers.
  • The YCTA stop in Tigard TC is not in the TC per se, it's on Commercial Ave, just south, on the sidewalk. Board there.
  • Pay $2.50 cash for a Day pass. No Hop card. No Senior fare.
  • McMinnville TC is east and south of downtown about 6 and 2 blocks respectively.
  • When you get off in McMinn, head west 6 blocks and north a few blocks..
  • Hillsboro TC is not at Hatfield Center. The TC is the next (first) MAX stop inbound. The YTCA stop looks like a temporary curb pull-up spot. Note that Trimet Line 57 also goes to Forest Grove from here.
  • You could take your bike! YCTA buses have bike racks. #44 can carry three bikes. #33 rack carries two. The 44 I rode picked up bikes in diff towns on way to McMinnville. MAX allows bikes too.

References ( UNDER CONSTRUCTION 7/29/2019! )

A [LINK] indicates an external references.

  • YCTA - [ycbus.org].
  • #44 map/sched - need link
  • #33 Map/sched - need link
  • Grand Rhonde & Costal Connector
  • Salem
  • ?

My initial diagram

This diagram simply compiled snippets from schedules for places around the Loop. Dundee not included. As you can see, there is a big gap in Tigard... my bus left at 8:44a. The next departure would have been 12:02p, over 3 hours later. This diagram didn't show me the amount of time available on the ground in each town between buses. (I will eventually move this history to a separate page.)

Yamhill Grand Tour - early space time diagram