San Francisco to Seattle in 1 week

Old Jul 8th, 2016, 11:32 AM
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San Francisco to Seattle in 1 week

Hi everyone! I'm planning a road trip with my fiance in September. We are flying into San Francisco day 1 and flying out from Seattle day 9. My current itinerary is as follows:

Day 1: Arrive in San Francisco --> Sonoma (WINE)
Day 2: Sonoma --> Redwood National Forest (day trip up the Coastal Highway, Ave of Giants -- long day!)
Day 3: Redwood National Forest (hiking/ camping)
Day 4: RW NF --> Crater Lake (hiking/ camping)
Day 5: CL --> Mount Rainier (hiking/ camping)
Day 6: MT R --> Olympic National Park (hiking/ camping)
Day 7: ONP --> Seattle
Day 8: Seattle
Day 9: Depart Seattle

Obviously it's a lot for 9 days! Does this seem realistic? If we were to skip one site, which would you suggest?

Thanks all first-timer here
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Old Jul 8th, 2016, 12:06 PM
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Welcome to Fodor's!

Your itinerary is unrealistic for the time you have. With the drive times between your destinations, you'd basically spend the whole time in the car with no chance of actually seeing the places you're visiting.

Data points -

- You need at least two, and preferably three days for Olympic National Park - there's just too much driving between the various sites in the park.

- The inland detour to Crater Lake is at the expense of the entire Oregon coast, one of the highlights of the region.

- You're skipping the Columbia River Gorge, another highlight of the trip.

I would actually propose a rather drastic reworking of your plans. This is just a suggestion, of course...

Drive the coast into Oregon, include the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood, and end the trip in Portland.

Northern California and Oregon coast - six days
Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood - two days
Portland - one day

Map -

This will still give you tremendous variety - redwoods, rocky coast, mountains, waterfalls, the big river - but will allow you enough time to visit these places rather than flying past them.
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Old Jul 8th, 2016, 12:56 PM
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Thank you Gardyloo! I had calculated travel times too and that's why I decided it was time to reach out to someone who may have more experience with this type of trip... (it seemed too busy). We are willing to be flexible but definitely want to spend time in Seattle over Portland. I'll do more research on Mount Hood and Columbia River Gorge. Thank you so much for the advice, very helpful!
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Old Jul 8th, 2016, 01:23 PM
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Okay, here's a route that would give you time for both:

This would have you see the most scenic part of the Oregon coast, the southern 70 miles or so, then you'd swing inland to the Willamette Valley using OR Hwy 38, a very scenic route along the Umpqua River.

Travel north to the Portland/Gorge area, then I'd continue east through the gorge to Maryhill. Stop and see the funky Maryhill Museum and Stonehenge replica, then continue north on US 97 through great cowboy country to Yakima.

Then follow US 12 over White Pass to the (amazing) Stevens Canyon Road leading to the Paradise Inn on Mount Rainier. Finally head from Rainier into Seattle.

Possible time line -

Day 1 SF to Napa
2 Napa to Trinidad
3 Trinidad to Bandon
4 Bandon to Hood River
5 Day in Gorge
6 Hood River to Rainier
7 Rainier to Seattle
8 Seattle
9 Depart

This is still very high speed, but touches a lot of bases.
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Old Jul 8th, 2016, 02:45 PM
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Gardyloo's plan is a 1000000% improvement

. . . but it is still waaay to ambitious for me.

Skip the Sonoma stopover -- yes there is 'WINE' but you have so little time I'd high tail it as far up the coast as you can the first day. Trinidad would be good but that is a looooong haul (nearly 7 hours) so maybe Garberville. The next morning drive a portion of the Avenue of the Giants and then start Gardyloo's plan w/ the next night at Brookings, Gold Beach or Bandon - Bandon is the farthest @ about 5 hours so a long day w/ a couple of hikes in the redwoods -- so maybe Brookings @ only about 3.5 hours.
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Old Jul 8th, 2016, 05:22 PM
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Save ONP for a future trip when you can devote at least three full days to it exclusive of travel to and from.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 07:20 AM
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Hi all! Thank you everyone for the advice, definitely very helpful and valuable to plan out our trip. We finally mapped out our route, including San Fran --> Mendocino (1 night), --> Redwood National Forest (2 nights) --> Siuslaw National Forest (coastal, 1 night) --> Mount Hood (2 nights) --> Seattle (2 nights). Any suggested hikes or stops along the way appreciated!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 08:56 AM
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One of my favorite stops is the Klamath River Overlook- which is maybe 20 miles south of Crescent City, Ca.
Great views, sometimes whales feeding down below. There is a trail down to a covered viewing station. There is also another hiking trail there- goes for miles along the ridge. We did it as a one way hike to Hidden Beach and had someone pick us up and shuttle us back.

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