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Northern California/southern Oregon trip ideas


May 25th, 2010, 07:45 PM
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Northern California/southern Oregon trip ideas

We are a group of 4-5 planning a trip to northern California/southern Oregon mid July, trying to come up with an itinerary. Our main interests are day hikes, views, sightseeing, wildlife and outdoors...no shopping, fine dining, etc. This is one itinerary we are considering. It involves a moderate amount of driving, but we have a few drivers to share it.

Day 1 Evening flight into Sacramento airport, stay overnight.

Day 2 Drive to Mount Shasta with sightseeing along way, maybe a short hike that day. 212 miles (3 hours) Overnight Mount Shasta area.

Day 3 Daytime in Mt. Shasta area. That afternoon, drive to Crater Lake NP. Overnight in area. 145 miles (2.75 hours)

Day 4 Day at Crater Lake. Overnight Crater Lake area.

Day 5 Drive to Gold Beach via Coos Bay. Overnight Gold Beach. 240 miles (4.5 hours)

Day 6 Raft Rogue River. Overnight Gold Beach.

Day 7 Hike Gold Beach area, drive to Redwoods NP that afternoon/evening. 98 miles (1.75 hours). Overnight near Redwoods NP.

Day 8 Hike around Redwoods NP. Overnight Redwoods area.

Day 9 Drive to/Fly out of Medford airport. 152 miles (2.75 hours)

Any suggestions? Flying into Sacramento is done because of flight costs and timing, plus being able to drive through the Mount Shasta area (seems like lots of viewing/hiking possibilities there). Flights into Portland/Eugene would not work as well.

If there is any part that is more or less inviting, we could certainly cut out something. The only thing we are hard-core about keeping in the trip is Crater Lake NP.

Any recommendations re lodging at any of the areas? This is all done as guesswork having never been to any of these areas, and not knowing what is worth more time, what is not. We did a trip to Portland-Hood River-Bend-Yachats-then back to Portland a few years ago, and it was awesome (sounds like a lot of driving but it wasn't bad).

Thanks in advance for any/all suggestions/comments!
philsbert1 is offline  
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May 25th, 2010, 08:02 PM
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It looks like a good itinerary, if this is what you want to do.

I'm not certain there are many sightseeing options between Sacramento and Mt. Shasta unless to go to the Napa or Sonoma Valley or over to the coast.

Also, I'm not sure about the accuracy of the drive times you state.

For instance, I think it will take longer than 4.5 hours to drive from Crater Lake to Gold Beach. Why via Coos Bay?

To spare you disappointment, Gold Beach lacks the charm of Hood River and Yachats.

IMO, a visit to the redwoods should include Humbolt Redwoods State Park.
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May 25th, 2010, 08:09 PM
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Just back from a trip to the Redwoods - this is what we did

Eugene to Oregon Caves- stayed in the Lodge there 1 night- did cave tour and there are a couple of hikes to do from there.

Oregon Caves to Trinidad - stayed at Trinidad Inn for 2 nights- very nice place to stay with helpful employees with lots of local info - nice motel- some have kitchens and fireplaces.

On to Scotia and stayed at Scotia Inn- VERY nice restored Inn - furnished with antiques - has a restaurant with excellent food- fun place to stay- stayed 2 nights.

Next night Crescent City- stayed at Curly Redwood Motel - kind of retro 50's - wit lots of redwood panel and siding. Its "well used" but was OK.

Great restaurant down the street- Great Harvest- try the abalone steak.

Nice hikes in all the areas- plus shorter walks through redwood groves. Favorite was an ocean view hike from Patricks point- lots of wild flowers, whales feeding down below , spectacular views.

Crescent City has a great information center with rangers who will give you lots of info on what to do in the area.
sunbum1944 is offline  
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May 25th, 2010, 11:12 PM
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I'd pretty much ignore your drive times. For instance -- sure, you can drive from Sacramento to Mt Shasta in 3.5 hours --but that is straight up I-5 w/ next to no sight seeing possibilities. To travel to/through scenic areas like Lassen, or Burney Falls, would add hours to your time in the car.
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May 26th, 2010, 06:07 AM
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I was going to suggest the Shasta Caverns... a great, interesting way to spend an hour and a half when in that area. It amazes me that an entire city was covered by water when they made the lake. Great for history buffs and the formations are incredible!

When seeing the redwoods, you will want to stop and walk among them, to smell them and to really get a feel for their towering strength...just driving past wont do them justice.

To me this seems like you're spending a lot of time in the car...even thought you have drivers... you will be missing time out in nature. I'd skip maybe the beach and spend an extra day at Crater Lake or among the redwoods. Beaches are cold and foggy in Oregon anyway! lol

Enjoy the trip!
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May 26th, 2010, 12:08 PM
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From Sacto you could detour to the Gold Rush towns of Placerville, Auburn and Grass Valley before turning north.

Or, as janisj recommends, leave 5 at Red Bluff cut through a corner of Lassen NP then take 89 north to Mt. Shasta.

I just did the drive from Sacramento to Medford a month ago on I-5 and all I can say is thank goodness for audio books. It only gets interesting north of Yreka.

Sacramento itself is interesting if you don't want to make detours off I-5. Old town is right on the river, the capital building is interesting to visit. Lots of CA history nearby. Maybe you'll even see our "Governnater"
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May 26th, 2010, 12:22 PM
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We spent several nights last June in Mt. Shasta. On the way up, we stopped at Shasta Dam and took a tour. We spent one day touring the various waterfalls along the river outside of McCloud. We toured the caverns at Shasta Lake. On the way home, we stopped in Redding and toured Turtle Bay, McConnell Arboretum, and Sundial Bridge.

We stayed in Mt. Shasta at Mt. Shasta Resort. Very nice, but not cheap.
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May 26th, 2010, 05:15 PM
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You don't say how strenuous you like your hikes. If you want a challenging but highly rewarding hike in the Shata area, it's hard to beat the Crags Trail in Castle Crags State Park. This is about a four hour r/t trek that leads to probably the best views of Mt. Shasta anywhere.


If that one is not for you, there are several beautiful hikes on the McCloud River that feature views of highly scenic waterfalls.


In Gold Beach, I assume you are talking about the jet boat tours. Make sure you take the 104 mile trip. This one is about 8 hours but it takes you into the Wild and Scenic region which is the most beautiful part of the river.

In Redwood National Park, there is another really great, moderately strenuous hike in Del Norte State Park. It's the Damnation Creek Trail.


If that's too much hiking, then drive out to Fern Canyon and take the hike along the bluffs next to the ocean. You should do this anyway, of course, even if you do the Damnation Creek Trail. Fern Canyon and Gold Bluffs is one of the most scenic places in the area and a great place to find the elk herd.

There are also many other great hikes in this region. You can find out all about them at the Visitor Center in Crescent City or by doing some research on the web.
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May 26th, 2010, 06:19 PM
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The Fern Canyon is great- was just there a week ago -
We saw a giant bull elk coming across the road and a bear - plus all the other beautiful sights!
sunbum1944 is offline  
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May 26th, 2010, 07:48 PM
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Otis-B: " . . . the Crags Trail in Castle Crags State Park. . . ."

My Mom grew up where the park is now. Her family had a 90 acre homestead on Little Castle Creek from the late teens until sometime in the 40's. It was pretty isolated and 3 or 4 years they moved into Dunsmuir during the winter. I've seen photos of the old house w/ icicles reaching from the eaves to the ground.

Castle Crags is an amazing place . . .
janisj is online now  
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Jun 9th, 2010, 07:21 PM
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Thanks for all the replies and suggestions. Unfortunately, the long drive from Sacramento to Mt. Shasta was due to flight requirements/prices. We are trading a long haul in the car for some considerable savings in airfare X 5 people. We had considered (and still are) the side trip through Lassen on the way up, but we have so much available to see and do, hard to know where to cut corners. A boring but fast trip up I-5 was our way of getting to a destination, allowing us to spend more time in the Shasta area once we arrive. I have jotted down the Crags Trail and Black Butte hikes to ponder. We can handle a 5-6 mile moderate-to-strenuous hike, but not sure at those elevations. We'll find out.
As far as going from Crater Lake to the coast via Coos Bay, well, that is not set in stone. We want to drive along the North Umpqua R. to Roseburg. From there, to get to the coast, figured the easiest way was via Coos Bay. We had decided to stay in Bandon as opposed to Gold Beach. If Coos Bay to Gold Beach/Brookings along the coast is an expendable portion, we could bypass that. I had heard good things about the jetboat trip up the Rogue, and thought that was a nice way to break up the hiking. Is it a good way to view wildlife? Also, we are weighing staying in a smaller area such as Trinidad or Klamath vs. Crescent City, but concerned there won't be much availability for meals.
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Jun 10th, 2010, 08:29 AM
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I agree with the posts about the drive from Crater to the coast, why coos bay? and it is going to be a lot longer than 4.5 hours! I am in Grants Pass and would highly recommend crater lake to grants pass. Rafting here, either rent one and start floating the rogue on your own or the jet boat, then drive down to the redwoods, be sure and stop at the Oregon Caves, well worth the extra drive. As you get closer to the Redwoods do not miss Stout Grove! old one lane logging road thru the huge redwoods with no crowds, starts in the Redwoods and ends near Crescent City. From there visit all the sites that were mentioned for the northern California coast. The Southern Oregon coast is not nearly as scenic as the Northern California coast and is a bit boring and tired looking (sorry Oregon, and I live here!).
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Jun 10th, 2010, 01:28 PM
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In Trinidad we ate at the Seascape Restaurant - nice views of the water, food was great- large servings, I didnt think it was terrible expensive - but I shared with a friend.

The next night we ate at the Larrupin which was very good but more expensive.

If you stay at the Trinidad Inn some of the rooms have kitchens so could do your own cooking if you wanted - I think they had a grill available for guests as well .
sunbum1944 is offline  
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Jun 10th, 2010, 06:38 PM
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The drive from Crater Lake to Coos Bay is a nice one. I've done it several times and have always stopped at the Steamboat Inn on the North Umpqua for either breakfast or lunch. It's a classic old style fishing lodge with great food.


You might even consider staying there for the night if you left Crater Lake in the late afternoon. It's less than a 90 minute drive.

Along the North Umpqua, there are a number of nice waterfalls. So take your time driving through here.


If you are thinking of staying in Bandon, is it because of the golf courses? If so, you will not be disappointed. This is golf heaven.

There's plenty to see on the Southern Oregon coast. There are lots of parks you can stop at and beaches to explore. This area often has good weather, usually warmer than the weather along the Northern California coast.

The jet boats out of Gold Beach are fun and if you take the longer tour as I suggested above, you get to stop for a meal at a rustic lodge in Agness. It's not gourmet cooking, but the family style meals are a lot of fun.

You probably won't see much wildlife. The jet boats scare them away but we did see a sea lion upriver once and you might see some eagles. You would have a much better chance on a rafting trip but these are several days in length. We've seen bear, otters, bald eagles, and deer when we've gone down the river.

In your initial post you said that your plan was to spend two nights in the redwoods. If this is still true, then one night in Crescent City and one in Trinidad would be a good choice. There is considerable distance between them. Crescent City is not a large town and it's near Jedidiah Smith State Park and several coastal walks.

Trinidad is at the southern end of Redwood National Park and is near Patrick Point State Park. There are good places to dine in both places. In Trinidad Bay, there are also a couple of outfitters who offer kayak tours.
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Jun 10th, 2010, 07:02 PM
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When I did the Gold beach jet boats we saw bears (up on the hill) eagles, river otters - love the jet boat ride, especially on a hot day.

One time I hiked in along the Rogue River trail to Paradise Lodge , spent a night and then took the jet boat back - that was quite an experience!
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Jul 21st, 2010, 06:44 PM
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We are planning a similar trip with four people at the beginning of August and wanted to know any lessons learned from your itnerary. We have one additional day but are visiting many of the same spots.
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Jul 22nd, 2010, 12:28 PM
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We'll be doing the Crater Lake and Mt. Shasta portions of this trip at the begiinning of August, on our way to Yosemite. One night crater lake (hike down to th elakeshore and swim) and two at Mt. Shasta City. We'll explore the Castle Crags and do the dayhike up Mt. Eddy (from the PCT trailhead to the north, not the longer and more strenuous hike from Lake Siskiyou.) Are there any short dayhikes on Mt. Shasta itself where we might see wildflowers?

We just scored a lakeview room at Crater Lake Lodge, so I'm very excited!

And I apologize for a piggyback on Philsbert's thread, but we are interested in nice dining. "Nice" can mean anything from a picnic with food bought at the grocery store, to a full-on dining room, as long as the food is good quality. I'm a bit worried about Crater Lake. Any recommendations or favorites in the area, there or at Mt. Shasta? (We love the Billy goat Tavern, but probably won't eat there both nights).
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Jul 22nd, 2010, 01:33 PM
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You could drive over to the Prospect Hotel - in the beautiful town of Prospect

They have great food - am sure you would need a reservation
They may only have a few choices each night - but every meal I have eaten there is good

Also, not sure how far Steamboat Inn is - but would be another nice place for dinner - but might be more of a drive than you want also.
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