Crater lake to San Fran

Old Aug 6th, 2021, 09:43 AM
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Crater lake to San Fran

Hello all,
We will be driving up the coast from Berkely to Portland and back again (I know stupid me should have gone out of Portland)!
When we leave Portland I want to stop at Crater Lake and then stay somewhere after that on the way back to San Francisco (fly out the next day).
Where should we stay? Mt Shasta? Ashland? We don't have anything planned in San Francisco so we can take our time driving back if there are some cool things to see on the way.

Oh and We will be there second week in Sept.
Thanks,
Kris

Last edited by rivermama; Aug 6th, 2021 at 09:49 AM.
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Old Aug 6th, 2021, 10:46 AM
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Go south east of Crater Lake and stop by Mt. Lassen NP.


On the way, for another volcanic experience, visit Lava Beds National Monument (assuming that there are no fires in the area):

https://www.nps.gov/labe/planyourvisit/caving.htm
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Old Aug 6th, 2021, 11:24 AM
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I wouldn't plan on Lassen now -- (you can decide at the time) this is the height of a very VERY bad fire season in both Oregon and northeastern California. In fact Lassen NP is currently closed due to fires off to the southeast. If there are new fires, or if some of the huge fire complexes now active are still smoldering the air quality could be awful.

Ashland is great but that would leave a very long drive to SF - like 7-ish hours - more if there is construction or fire fighting/evacuation traffic. Mt Shasta or Dunsmuir are better but would only cut the SF drive by less than 90 minutes and has the same potential traffic issues. I'd pretty much wait until the day before to see what the fire situation is (could be totally fine but I suspect otherwise). If things are copacetic - try for Mt Shasta. If things are awful -- I'd just try to get as far south as I could manage and stay in any chain hotel along I-5.
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Old Aug 6th, 2021, 01:00 PM
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What is Mt Shasta like this year? We drove from Sacramento to a wedding in Weed in September or October and it was a drought year. The view of the lake was really disappointing with the low water level (it was pretty countryside otherwise). This is another bad drought year.
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Old Aug 6th, 2021, 05:21 PM
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"What is Mt Shasta like this year? We drove from Sacramento to a wedding in Weed in September or October and it was a drought year. The view of the lake was really disappointing with the low water level "

Shasta Lake is essentially unrelated to Mt Shasta City. In the very best of years the Lake is not very attractive -- and this year it is painfully low/ugly. The lake is just north of Redding which can be a dreadfully hot place. (When it's 100 in Sacramento it can be 110+ in Redding). Mt Shasta City is an hour north of there on the lower slope of the mountain and 3000 feet higher elevation than Redding/the lake - its a totally different world up the hill.
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Old Aug 7th, 2021, 07:57 AM
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I would take I-5 south to Eugene, over Willamette Pass (SR 58) and down to Crater Lake via US 97, then back across to I-5 and out to the coast on US 199 to Crescent City. I'd then just head south on US 101 through the redwoods all the way to the Golden Gate. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/RKpT4sBEbXvcetRu9

This will take a couple of hours (wheels turning) longer than using I-5 through Redding etc., but - if it was me - I'd be happy with the extra time. The route is likely to be much cooler and (hopefully not) less smoky, and - my opinion - way more scenic. If you're not in a terrible hurry, the time savings will be more than worth it.
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Old Aug 7th, 2021, 09:22 AM
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I agree the coastal road would be MUCH more scenic, definitely cooler, and likely less fire danger. But places like Trinity, Lake and Sonoma counties would definitely dispute the 'less fire danger' bit. since in recent years they've been decimated in August/September. But in the OP you say you are taking the coast on your drive north.

It would be a much longer drive. Its not clear to me if you are planning two overnight stops - 1 @ Crater Lake, and 1 @ some unknown mid point . . . or just one overnight mid way between Portland and SF with just a scenic stop at Crater Lake. That makes a huge difference.
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Old Aug 8th, 2021, 06:20 PM
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When we were in Crescent City two weeks ago there was major roadwork on 101 that caused the road just south to be closed for hours at a time. Just something to be aware of.
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Old Aug 9th, 2021, 11:03 AM
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Yes I had heard that Lassen was closed.
I think that sounds like a good plan, will play that last night by ear.
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Old Aug 9th, 2021, 11:05 AM
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Gardyloo Our route on the way up to Portland is San Fran to Arcata (I used to live in both of these places). We were going to drive all the way to Florence on the coast but now with all the closures have decided to go to the Oregon Coast out of Portland (Astoria etc) bummer to miss south Oregon but have to roll with it.
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Old Aug 9th, 2021, 11:07 AM
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nylilly I had just read that on a trip report and then looked into it! Looks like it is only open before 8am and after 7 pm and noon-3p and that is only one lane...
We've decided to avoid that at all costs! Thank goodness for trip reports on Fodors!
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Old Aug 9th, 2021, 11:08 AM
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janisj Just one stop with a scenic drive at Crater lake. Thanks.
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Old Aug 9th, 2021, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by rivermama View Post
janisj Just one stop with a scenic drive at Crater lake. Thanks.

That's a tough trek. You say you've lived out here previously so probably have a decent handle on how long things/drives take. Portland to Ashland with just a couple of hours at Crater Lake would take about 9 hours plus meal/rest stops. Then Ashland to SFO is another 6+hour drive plus stops. Medford/Ashland would be about as far south as I could manage if I had to stop at Crater Lake. That would leave another 6+ to 7 hour drive plus stops down to SF. (Given that any drive time estimates are thrown out the window if there are nearby fires, and on what time of day you hit 505/I-80)
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Old Aug 9th, 2021, 06:28 PM
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Thank goodness my son was reading up on things! We got on the road early and completely skirted the problem. Incidentally, after getting advice here, we decided to abandon going to Crater Lake on our recent trip. It just felt too far out of the way and I was trying to limit my driving to 4 hours a day as we drove from Gig Harbor, WA to San Francisco over 4 days.
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Old Aug 10th, 2021, 04:07 AM
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janisj Well that sounds like 2 days of driving hell! Well maybe with the fires and drive times we'll stick to the 5 on the way back and save Crater for another trip.
As I said before stupid me for not flying out of Portland!
Thanks!
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Old Aug 10th, 2021, 04:08 AM
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nylilly I think we'll have to skip it too, I hate driving so 9 hrs plus 7 hrs in 2 days sounds horrible to me!
Thanks!
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Old Aug 10th, 2021, 06:53 AM
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Long shot . . . Has your return flight time been changed? Many have had schedule changes. If so, most airlines often allow changes without fees so maybe you could change your reservation to fly out of Portland?? Or, even if there are fees/fare increase, I'd look into changing my return flight. Worth asking anyway. If a change can be done at a reasonable cost it would save you '2 days of driving hell'.
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Old Aug 11th, 2021, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
Go south east of Crater Lake and stop by Mt. Lassen NP.

https://flic.kr/p/2jgXEzQ

On the way, for another volcanic experience, visit Lava Beds National Monument (assuming that there are no fires in the area):

https://www.nps.gov/labe/planyourvisit/caving.htm
The Dixie fire is the second largest fire in California history. It just burned the Harkness lookout tower in Lassen NP. The lookout stood there for 91 years.
It is easy enough to drive from Crater Lake NP to SFO in a day. Northern California is a smokey mess for the next several weeks.
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Old Aug 11th, 2021, 07:30 AM
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"It is easy enough to drive from Crater Lake NP to SFO in a day. Northern California is a smokey mess for the next several weeks."

Doable but not 'easy enough' IMO. It would be a 7 to 7.5 hour drive plus rest/meal stops. And that is only if the construction zones aren't too congested and there isn't a lot of 'fire traffic'

(Absolutely infuriating aside - it was just announced that a part time Sonoma State professor has been arrested for setting most of the NorCal fires since mid July. The Dixie fire wasn't listed but he is also suspected of starting that one)

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Old Aug 11th, 2021, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
I would take I-5 south to Eugene, over Willamette Pass (SR 58) and down to Crater Lake via US 97, then back across to I-5 and out to the coast on US 199 to Crescent City. I'd then just head south on US 101 through the redwoods all the way to the Golden Gate. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/RKpT4sBEbXvcetRu9

This will take a couple of hours (wheels turning) longer than using I-5 through Redding etc., but - if it was me - I'd be happy with the extra time. The route is likely to be much cooler and (hopefully not) less smoky, and - my opinion - way more scenic. If you're not in a terrible hurry, the time savings will be more than worth it.
I hate to tell you but there is currently a complex of about a dozen fires scattered from east of Lowell to east of Oakridge with a large amount of smoke which is coming across the Wilammette Pass (Rt 58).
Probably less smokey going over 138 from Roseburg to get to Diamond Lake and the north entrance of Crater Lake NP.
If you didn't want to drive as far as San Francisco from Crater Lake, you could stop in Willows, Williams or Sacramento.
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