Redwood National Forest

Old Feb 1st, 2016, 03:43 AM
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Redwood National Forest

Me and my Wife will be visiting the Redwood National Forest this year. Probably flying into Portland and picking up a rental car. Not sure on which Month we are traveling. At this time we are thinking of going in the fall. We want to visit places on the way down. We would prefer to not guess where to get a motel/hotel reservation at. Is it safe to drive down without reservations and get a room as we drive. We have a total of 7 to 8 days for this trip. The reason for Portland is because we like small towns, not a ton of traffic and like to visit small shops.
I also read that Rent a Car companies don't like if you rent from Portland and drop car at San Francisco. Is this true?
We would also like to visit some wineries. Are they some near where we are going?
How many days should we visit the park? We will be walking some of trails and don't want to rush through the park. We will make reservations for lodging somewhere outside the park ahead of time.
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Old Feb 1st, 2016, 05:34 AM
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Foreign visitors get a pass on the drop off fees that US residents do not usually get.
The coastal area of northern California has several sections of the Redwood National PARK. There are private groves of the big trees and some state parks as well.
My suggested route: Rent your car (either PDX or downtown).
Cars downtown may be enough cheaper to warrant taking the TriMet red line from the airport to downtown.
Drive west on US 26 all the way to US 101 between Seaside and Cannon Beach. Stay in one or the other. Cannon Beach is known for Haystack Rock but is a bit more expensive.
The next day head south on 101 with a stop at the Tillamook cheese factory for great cheese and ice cream.
There are many small towns down the coast.
You may want to stop at the Oregon Coast Aquarium just south of Newport.
One of my favorite hotels on 101 is the Red Lion at the north end of Coos Bay.
See what you want of the Oregon coast before you head down to see the Redwoods. You should be able to find a suitable motel without reservations after September 10 in either Crescent City or Eureka.
After seeing the big trees in the National Park, you might want to visit the "Trees of Mystery" for a view from a gondola car to the top of the hill.
Take US 199 back into Oregon. It hits I-5 south of Grants Pass. Take the Gold Hill exit and take Rt. 234 east to Rt. 62 toward Crater Lake National Park. If you can't get a night in the Crater Lake Lodge, The Prospect Inn is a good choice. After seeing Crater Lake go out the north entrance and turn right on Rt. 138 to get to US 97 north to Bend.
Bend is 90 miles from the north entrance. Bend has a lot to offer including the High Desert Museum.
Leaving Bend, go north through Madras and take US 26 west to the turnoff of Rt. 35 on the east side of Mt. Hood.
The town of Hood river is at the bottom in the Columbia Gorge. See Multnomh Falls and several others on the way back to the airport or downtown where you rented the car.
This loop should take a minimum of 8 days and 10 would be better.
If you really want to see San Francisco, just fly there from PDX
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Old Feb 1st, 2016, 06:15 AM
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> we are thinking of going in the fall
> we like small towns, not a ton of traffic
Then don't go in the summer -- that area is jammed.
Spring is my favorite time to travel, but doing so might cause you to drive through some wet areas.

> Car companies don't like if you rent from Portland
> and drop car at San Francisco.
> Is this true?
I wouldn't say, "Don't like," it's more accurate to say that they charge a large drop-off fee for doing so. It's quite possible to fly into either Portland or SF, rent a car in either city, drive the coast into Redwood National Park, and then return via I-5. I'd at least check into the grand total cost of flight and car rental for each option (Portland only, SF only, and Portland to SF).

> Are they some [wineries] near where we are going?
The Napa Valley, just north of SF, is the original "wine valley as a tourist destination" spot. There are also wineries in Oregon.
http://visittheoregoncoast.com/activities/wineries/

> Is it safe to drive down without reservations
> and get a room as we drive
This is how I normally travel, and USUALLY I can get an adequate room each night. Fall SHOULD be a "safer" time to do this, but there are NO guarantees. One night we ended up staying a campground because there were no rooms in the entire city of Madison, Wisconsin; another night we got (most likely) the last room in Brainerd, Minnesota; and still another night it took us twelve stops before we found a vacancy.
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Old Feb 1st, 2016, 10:30 AM
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The site went down just as I was posting a long response so I lost it. Here is most of what I tried to post:

OK -- first of all >> The reason for Portland is because we like small towns, not a ton of traffic and like to visit small shops.>I also read that Rent a Car companies don't like if you rent from Portland and drop car at San Francisco. Is this true?
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Old Feb 1st, 2016, 11:12 AM
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If you do include San Francisco in your trip (I would) be sure and check the convention calendar, think Oracle World starts Sep. 19 for example, and it is huge, not sure about Dreamforce.
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Old Feb 1st, 2016, 11:53 AM
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I would be more inclined to fly into Portland than San Francisco or Sacramento, since I find the drive up I-5 in California less than pleasant. tomfuller's agenda would make for a very scenic drive down the coast. I'm also in agreement about renting the car downtown - we have saved a substantial amount doing that in both Portland and Seattle. The TriMet is very convenient, and there is a stop just a block or so from the parking garage used by several car rental agencies.

Although Portland is a big city with the usual traffic congestion, you will be able to get away from that and see more small towns on your drive to the Redwoods.

As to hotel reservations - I would urge you to make those reservations. You would be going at a time of year that has the best weather and is our favorite time to travel. It is also the National Park System's Centennial celebration year, and they are predicting larger crowds at the parks.

We stayed in Crescent City at the Curly Redwood Lodge when we were there last; retro but charming and affordable. There are a number of other franchises there as well. Next time, I would rather stay south of the park, as we would like to spend more time in that area, but lodging is a bit scarce. Either way, you will have to do some driving.
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Old Feb 1st, 2016, 12:02 PM
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>>I would be more inclined to fly into Portland than San Francisco or Sacramento, since I find the drive up I-5 in California less than pleasant
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Old Feb 1st, 2016, 02:15 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. Hope it continues. We will fly out of Portland. When I mentioned small towns, I was not talking about Portland but the towns on the way to the Redwood forest. Sounds like I should work on reservations on the drive down. I am not sure how long this will take if we stop at scenic areas and visit some towns. We love wild- life so we would stop to see this if possible.
As far as staying somewhere near the Redwood Park, can I get some ideas.
Also some ideas on places to sleep on way down. First day we will not go real far.
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Old Feb 1st, 2016, 02:55 PM
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Seaside or Cannon Beach night 1
Tillamook cheese factory 1-2 hours
Cape Meares and Cape Lookout (great ocean views)
Oregon Coast Aquarium (south of Newport bridge) 2-3 hours
Waldport or Yachats (ya-HOTS) night 2
Oregon Dunes National Rec. Area 2-3 hours
Dean's Creek Elk Viewing area 5 miles east of Reedsport on 38 1 hour returning to US 101
Bandon or Port Orford night 3
Crescent City or Eureka for night 4 including a few hours among the Coast Redwoods.
Even if you don't have time for a visit to Bend at least see Crater Lake.
Hood River is famous for the sailboarding on the Columbia River. See as much as you can of Mt. Hood and the waterfalls off I-84 on the old US 30 route. Multnomah Falls is the tallest in Oregon
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 05:01 AM
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Thanks everyone. Looks like we will visit the park 3 to 4 days. I see where some stay at one location like Curly Redwood Lodge and others where people stay at different locations so they see more. Which is best way to go. For sure we want to visit trees in Myers flat, Eureka and Arcata, Trinidad, Fern Canyon,and Prairie Creek State Park.. I've seen where people stay in Cresent City a couple nights, Fortuna one night and Orick a couple nights
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 05:13 AM
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The town of Orick struck me as a run-down dump with a really scary sorta motel. It's in a great location, but I wouldn't stay there on a bet. Other than stopping at one of the burl places, I was afraid to get out of the car..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESX9ghivck4
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 06:28 AM
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I'm planning a trip to the same area in late September, so I'll tag along to follow this thread. Good information here.

So far, after a night in Crater Lake we are planning 4 nights in Crescent City, before moving south. Still trying to decide whether to book hotels from there to Mendocino (we can spend a week or more in the area), or to wing it as we go.
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 06:51 AM
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P.S. sludik, Orick did look like a funky place! Thanks for posting that link.
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 07:22 AM
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I personally wouldn't stay in Orick nor Fortuna nor Crescent City. There are much better areas.

Look at these places instead:

Klamath/Requa: http://www.requainn.com
Trinidad: Several good properties
Ferndale: Several but especially http://gingerbread-mansion.com
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 09:41 AM
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When I did this trip, we stayed at the lodge at the Oregon Caves for 1 night- did a tour of the caves.
Next night we stayed at the Curly Redwood. It's OK, clean, well used. I think there might be better places to stay.
Just south of Crescent City you could stay at the Requa Inn. Great area, they have a nice restaurant. Just up the road from there is one of my favorite spots- the Klamath River overlook. Whales frequently come and play there, there are some hiking trails accessible from there.

The next night we stayed at the Trinidad Inn- nice spot, clean, some rooms with kitchens, helpful staff. Short drive to restaurants.

Next we stayed in the historic town of Scotia at the Scotia Inn. Another nice spot. Scotia is a historic logging town, once company owned.

Four days in Crescent City might be too much- not much going on there.
The Tree of Mystery is a disappointing tourist trap I thought.
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 10:47 AM
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Agree, Crescent City is nothing exceptional. I believe the Requa Inn was closed at the time we were traveling for some reason, but would like to stay there on the next trip.

Make sure you don't miss the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park that adjoins the National Park. http://www.redwoodhikes.com/JedSmith/JedSmith.html
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 11:28 AM
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Re sunburn's post: If Ferndale doesn't pan out, Scotia would be great. Both are much better than Fortuna.
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 12:29 PM
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Fortuna does have a great brewery though - Eel River is a cool place.
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 01:29 PM
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Oh -- for sure. Drink there, don't stay there
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Old Feb 6th, 2016, 06:11 AM
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Don't mean to hijack the OP's thread, but thanks for the info and hope this is useful to you too, bone.

We are planning Crescent City partially because of proximity to Jedediah Smith Park. Also we are about 2 miles south of town and right on the beach, which has appeal to us, not really staying in town. But I hear what is being said and will certainly check out the other places. Going to send my wife the Gingerbread Mansion link right now, she's going to love that one. Thanks janis.

Also great to know about good breweries. I'm hoping to drive home with a case of Belching Beaver Stout, which I discovered on a trip to the central California coast last month, unavailable in Colorado.

Back to you, bone!
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