OR to WA loop Rd Trip June/July

Old Nov 30th, 2017, 05:20 PM
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OR to WA loop Rd Trip June/July

Trying to narrow down our route and stops. 3 to 4 weeks.
Family of 5 (3 boys age 5,12,14) will be towing and sleeping in our 30ft Travel Trailer so we need suitable roads, Campgrounds are pretty much everywhere but special recommendations appreciated.
Starting point is home, Santa Cruz, CA. Ending in Seattle and back down to home. Prefer a loop where we don't back track too much.

Thinking to start with the inland route. and back down the coastal.

Would like some stops to be for a few days, so we aren't driving all the time. Can sit and enjoy the campground and scenery and maybe some fishing.

Prefer to drive no more than 4 hours but if nothing worth stopping for can do longer days.

Ideas so far:
Stop somewhere about 4 or so hours from home?!?!
Crater Lake,
Mt. Hood/Columbia Gorge area. Is there a central point here to spend a few days? I see there is a year around activities place on Mt hood kids could enjoy? And then fishing in the Gorge lake?
Then Portland few days.
Seattle few days, campgrounds seem to be outside the city and some may have Ferry access to the city?
Would it be crazy to visit the Cascades?
Olympic NP - a good area to base ourselves to explore for 2/3 days?
Then down the Coast, where to stop next? Could go inland a little if coastal route becomes difficult for travel trailer or not too exciting.
Oregon Dunes NP - 2 or 3 days...
Then OR/CA border??
Humboldt Giant Redwoods??? although we have them here, are they more outstanding there?
Then Mendocino (is it boring for kids and a bit fancy) or /Ft Bragg?
then home, probably not Highway 1 have done it from Point Reyes to Santa Cruz before?

There's alot to see, have i missed out anything major? We like easy hikes/walks, good local food (fish or veg no meat), cheap ethnic food. Nice natural scenic campgrounds, wildlife, husband likes fishing (not on a boat), unusual or quirky towns, people watching,cool music festivals. We aren't into wine, art galleries, crazy busy places.

Roads to take, stops to make?

Thank you!!
Loel is offline  
Old Nov 30th, 2017, 06:05 PM
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First stop Mt. Shasta/McCloud area. Next day head up US97 turning off I-5 in Weed and into Crater Lake NP. There are 2 campgrounds inside the park. The quieter one is along the Pinnacles Road.
It is a lot easier and safer to go around Crater Lake while the trailer is off. Two days in and around Crater Lake before going out the north entrance. It is 90 miles from the north entrance to the south end of Bend.
If you liked Crater Lake, you might try Oregon's "other crater" which is the Newberry Caldera northeast of La Pine.
There are a couple campgrounds out near East Lake.
You can drive (without trailer) up to the top of Paulina Peak.
While in the Bend area stop to see the High Desert Museum.
You may want to stay in one of the campgrounds SE of Mt. Hood. There was a horrible forest fire along the Columbia Gorge last summer. It will take years before it gets back to its original beauty.
Don't go into Portland with the trailer on the back. Take a day trip into Portland from your campground east of Portland.
tomfuller is online now  
Old Dec 1st, 2017, 06:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If this winter is anything like last (and the forecasts are that it will be) you're likely to be looking at late openings on roads closed by snow over the winter, possibly including some of the main roads at Crater Lake and maybe even a couple in Mt. Rainier.

In which case I'd probably head north along the coast and back south inland, in order to let the weather catch up.

I'd avoid California Hwy 1 north of SF; while it's not quite as twisty overall as SR 1 through Big Sur, it's very twisty and narrow in parts, and frankly the scenery isn't that different from what you'll experience on the Oregon coast.

The Humboldt redwoods are terrific, but they're not that different from the Henry Cowell or Big Basin trees you can see closer to home. However, US 101 bisects them, so it's not an issue. Nevertheless I'd definitely take the Avenue of the Giants byway that parallels US 101 south of Eureka.

Four hours per day and two or three days in one place might make your scheduling a little tight. This is the route I'd recommend - https://goo.gl/maps/b8DpcE5CYAt . You'd basically head up the coast all the way to Olympic National Park, then over to Seattle, down to Portland, east through the Columbia Gorge to Hood River (your base) then south along the east slopes of the Cascades to Crater Lake, then return to home via US 97 and I-5.
Gardyloo is online now  
Old Dec 1st, 2017, 07:12 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Your post is kind of hard to follow, but will try to help with the OR/WA parts.

Yes, Crater Lake is great, but the rim drive does not usually open until early July, so you may want to juggle your schedule to allow for this. You could swap your route and do this on your way home to be safe.

Bend has so much to offer! Lots of great hiking, a great downtown, etc. If you swapped your route, you could stay here and then hit CL from the north entrance and then exit it from the south entrance and continue on. If you keep your original route, the north entrance is what is normally not open until early July, so you wouldn't be able to just drive through up to Bend.

Mt Hood and the Gorge are beautiful, but the massive Eagle Creek fire this summer was disastrous to the area and many of the trails will be closed for at least a year. So keep that in mind when planning how much time there. What lake are you talking about? Lost Lake? If so, that is a great place. You might also consider over on the WA side and take a look at Columbia Hills State Park. There is a small campground there that takes trailers.

When you ask about visiting the Cascades, I am not sure you realize that Mt Hood and Crater Lake are part of those. Do you mean other places like Mt Rainier or Mt St Helens? If so, yes those are great places to visit, IMO.

Olympic National Park is wonderful, but not a place that you can stay in one central location and go from there. You would need two at least. Plus it is a hikers park, so to see the best it has to offer, you need to get out of the car and do some hiking. The beaches are great, but the highway does not follow the coastline most of the way, so don t'expect beautiful scenery. If you could stay in 3 places, that would be even better. The roads on the OP are like a bicycle wheel where they don't go all the way through. An example is, coming up 101 you cannot just hop on another road to avoid the boring scenery. Take a look at a map and you will see what I mean. From what you have said, it sounds like ONP would be a place that you would really enjoy, so I would add more time and really enjoy it to its fullest.
mms is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2017, 06:14 PM
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Hi, Loel--
Tom and MMS have given you good advice so far. This post will just be campgrounds. I will try to send you some activities thoughts in a separate post.

We can't help you with Washington state. The campground we loved near Seattle is gone.

In Oregon: If you really want a pull-through for your trailer, or for reservations on summer weekends, you will want to get any Oregon state parks reservations in soon. Read the cancellation policies carefully.

My favorites, roughly in the order Gardyloo suggested, going up the coast and then back down 97 through Bend to Crater Lake.

--Honeyman State Park near Florence Oregon. This is a larger campground with ranger activities etc. near the Dunes. We actually did more day-use here because we used to visit people who lived here. We really love the lake and day-use area with oldfashioned diving platform and lodge. Canoes to rent.

If Honeyman is full, the ones near Newport are very good--Beverly Beach, South Beach especially. I am less fond of Nehalem Bay.

Fort Stevens--This is one of our favorite campgrounds for kids and one of the largest in the state. Tons of bike paths, including one out to the old WWII concrete batteries. (Only place fired on by the Japanese in continental USA). Small lake. Old shipwreck down by the shore.

Portland--there's not a lot right near Portland. The nicest is probably the private Pheasant Ridge in Wilsonville. My inlaws used to stay there.

Bend--Basically there are 4 good options and MMS is right-you should plan to stay here longer (4 nights at least?) Tumalo, LaPine or Cove Palisades (locals may call it Lake Billy Chinook). And the best of 1000Trails private parks is in Bend/Sunriver, which has a really nice swim pool and some other perks and a prime location.

Near Crater Lake (and Prospect)--Joseph H. Stewart State Recreation Area. We tend to like state parks better than national parks for camping. This is a good option for near Crater Lake. We liked this park, lots of wildlife, but not a "destination" per se. Just a good solid campground. Note: There are TWO Stewart parks in the Oregon system...be sure you get the right one.

I would definitely agree that you should not drive the trailer around the rim of the lake. Camp here two nights, with one long day at the lake. After checking out, head over to I-5/Grants Pass.

You could go on the Rogue River jetboats (put in is at Grants Pass). Stay one night at the serviceable but pretty basic Valley of the Rogue State Park before heading home on I-5.
5alive is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2017, 06:17 PM
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Edit to add: Gardyloo gave you a great road map....
5alive is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2017, 07:54 PM
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5alive—I’m glad you mentioned Pheasant Ridge in Wilsonville. I had intended to and forgot. The location is ideal and so easy for freeway access etc and right across from Costco.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2017, 10:56 PM
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MMS--yes, the options for camping near the city are slim. It is certainly a changeup for this forum to think of camping related questions.

I wasn't totally sure what the OP was meaning either about the lake. Yours is definitely good guess-- Lost Lake has a private campground and lodge. But there's also Trillium Lake and Timothy Lake for camping. I think Timothy has the most campgrounds--that's where our high schoolers went camping with their cross country team. Timothy is a long ways from the highway though. The OP will have to make sure his vehicle isn't too large for some of these locations.

The year round adventure park he mentions is almost certainly the one at Skibowl. We've taken a pass on that one. They've had issues where people couldn't get off the ski-lift in time. (They use it for the alpine slide). There was a 5 year old stuck on the lift and the mom fell 15 feet trying to catch her kid. And it's summer--no snow underneath to break the fall.

When the OP comes back, I'll post some activities too.
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Old Dec 4th, 2017, 05:51 AM
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5alive--You are right, not many people here ask about camping! I figured Lost Lake since they mentioned the lake in the gorge. Trillium and Timothy I don't think of as the gorge, but rather Mt Hood. We have never camped at Trillium, just snowshoed and fished, but have camped at Timothy numerous times. Only once in a designated campground though, as after that we found we could take our boat and go across the lake and camp there without the hoards of people.
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Old Dec 20th, 2017, 11:03 PM
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I would definitely do the bend trip and if you have time take the cascade lakes byway into bend. From bend I’d take hwy 26 up to mt hood and drop into the gorge at hood river from hwy 35. Then from hood river you can get on 84 and journey though the gorge (keep in mind we had a devastating wildfire rip through the gorge this fall) and into Portland.
kobourqkru is offline  
Old Dec 26th, 2017, 08:19 PM
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Kbourqkru, the OP has not come back...not sure if he has seen any of these posts. The current version of Fodors does not send an email alert when you get a reply to your post. Hopefully he will come back.
5alive is offline  
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