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eznmomma Mar 14th, 2017 06:10 PM

San Fransisco to Seattle Drive
I have checked out the trip info but I want to know if traveling April 2-8 is a good idea considering the weather. Too wet? Also we want to drive the coast but is there a point we can reduce the mileage and time by cutting over to the faster road without losing too much of the scenery?

marvelousmouse Mar 14th, 2017 07:38 PM

April isn't typically a bad time to drive the coast but it's been a weird year. So I'd probably check the weather a few days before, and if it looks really awful, you can always do more time on I5 then you had planned.

Unless you have time/want to see the ONP, you can cut inland around Astoria. Then you'd have the chance to drive some of the Columbia river gorge (on the Oregon side) which is really scenic. 101 isn't actually coastal in WA and mostly it's an annoying drive- but you'd want to drive it if you want to see Olympic National Park. The ONP is a hiking park- so the beauty is not "drive through" like the gorge.

NorthwestMale Mar 14th, 2017 07:42 PM

The weather then could go either way... but I wouldn't hesitate to make the trip and just hope for the best, weather-wise.

Myyyyyyyyyyyyy sense is that you should stick with the coast all the way up through Oregon, and then cut over, but of course that usually (clashes with some other, singular plan/idea/priority that causes people to cut over earlier).

Your <I>wanting</i> initially to drive the coast says to me that we here would be better off endorsing what you <I>envision</i> than we would trying to tell you that the sky is green and the grass is blue, <b>OR</b> assuring you that <i>our trip</i> is somehow better than your vision.

I'm not hesitant to distinguish right from wrong, or good from not-so-good at this forum, but there is <I>nothing amiss</i> with your wanting to drive the coast. (Though I will say that the Washington coast is a considerable step down both in immediate proximity and in scenic appeal, <I>generally speaking</i>)

happytrailstoyou Mar 15th, 2017 02:34 AM

Highway 101 is scenic most of the way, and most of I-5 is not.

I would drive 101 as far as Cannon Beach before connecting up with I-5.


Gardyloo Mar 15th, 2017 05:22 AM

Is this a one-way or round trip?

<i>Also we want to drive the coast but is there a point we can reduce the mileage and time by cutting over to the faster road without losing too much of the scenery?</i>

Yes. My preferred route (after more times than I can recall) is north on US 101 through the redwoods and the southern Oregon coast to Reedsport, then OR 38 through the coast mountains to I-5 near Cottage Grove, then I-5 north from there.

The most scenic part of the Oregon coast (IMO - others may disagree) is the first 60 or 70 miles after crossing into the state from California. Take your time along this extraordinary length of the highway.

OR 38 is the most scenic and also the quickest route through the Coast Range. Right after Reedsport you're likely to see numerous Roosevelt elk grazing in a wildlife reserve just south of the highway, then the road goes through a beautiful little canyon carved by the Umpqua River. It's a nice way to cut several hours off the drive time between the redwoods and Portland.

If this is a one-way drive and you have a full six days, I'd also suggest you think about a more roundabout, but immensely satisfying alternate route between Portland and Seattle:

From Portland head east through the Columbia River Gorge (use the "historic highway" between Troutdale and Cascade Locks) with stops to see some of the waterfalls, which in April are likely to be full of water. Continue to Hood River, with maybe a short side trip into the Hood River Valley, where the many orchards might be in early bloom, with Mt. Hood looming above.

Then continue east - through increasingly dry and probably sunny conditions - to Maryhill, maybe with a visit to Maryhill Museum and/or the weird Stonehenge replica on the cliff above the big river, then north on US 97 through terrific "old west" scenery - pine forest, sagebrush and cottonwoods - through the Yakama Indian reservation to the Yakima Valley. From there it's a quick run on I-82 to I-90, over the Cascades and into Seattle. There will still be snow at Snoqualmie Pass (I-90) but the road will be bare and open. It's a dramatic and very scenic alternative route from Portland to Seattle, far more rewarding then the boring drive up I-5.

Map -

tomfuller Mar 15th, 2017 07:24 AM

Do you have to start from San Francisco? Is this a round trip?
Fly to PDX and then see the Columbia Gorge and the waterfalls east of Portland.
See some of the Washington coast and all of the Oregon coast and see the Coast Redwoods near Crescent City California.
Come back north on US 199 to get back to I-5.
If you have an extra day consider coming back to PDX via Bend, Madras and Hood River.

eznmomma Mar 15th, 2017 08:17 AM

This is a one way trip. I had thought to come from San Francisco in order to see the California coast. I heard Mendocino is beautiful as well as travel through the redwoods. We are ending in Seattle for a family event so that is non-negotiable. Do you think I can accomplish this skipping SF-north and just doing a round trip with Portland as a starting point. I thought to see SF for one day ( have been before) and then start up the coast but if there isn't enough time I woild consider rethinking this.

Gardyloo Mar 15th, 2017 08:57 AM

I think you have plenty of time. You need to remember that early April is likely to be wet on the coast, so while it's beautiful it can be unwelcoming for strolls on the beach and all that. In my view the redwoods are terrific in misty weather - it's why they're there in the first place.

Here's a timetable that in my view is easy, involving 5 hours or less wheels turning on any one day.

2-Apr SF
3-Apr SF to Eureka area via Avenue of the Giants, US 101
4-Apr Eureka area to Bandon OR via US 101
5-Apr Bandon to Portland via US 101, SR 38, I-5
6-Apr Portland to Hood River via Columbia Gorge Hwy.
7-Apr Hood River to Seattle via WA 14, US 97, I-82, I-90
8-Apr Seattle

In the Eureka area the little towns of Ferndale (south of Eureka) or Trinidad (north) are picturesque; however this is definitely the off-season, so I might opt for Eureka itself, or the abutting college town of Arcata, for more accommodation and food choices. On that subject, a meal at the Samoa Cookhouse, a lumber mill mess hall, is a hoot.

I'd suggest skipping the Mendocino coast, not because it isn't scenic, but because the southern Oregon coast, along with the redwoods, is the real draw in my view. If you want to take an extra day frankly I'd allocate it to the Columbia Gorge/Hood River area, for better weather and more options in early April.

eznmomma Mar 15th, 2017 09:25 AM

Thank you so much. There is so much to see, that for all my reading, I still didn't know what to prioritize.

happytrailstoyou Mar 15th, 2017 04:11 PM

<i>There is so much to see, that for all my reading, I still didn't know what to prioritize.</i>

I've always wondered how folks decide which suggestions to use. For instance, eznmoma would not know that Gardyloo has offered an ideal itinerary unless he/she has made the trip previously.


eznmomma Mar 20th, 2017 03:25 AM

I have done more reading since Gardyloo's suggestions and I'm inclined to go that route. Now I'm looking for a hotel in San Francisco. I'm also wondering if it is more cost effective to stay outside the city and take the BART in or I'll lose too much time for my short one day there. I was also hoping getting in one sight seeing stop one my second morning in SF before heading out on my road trip. Thoughts?

tomfuller Mar 20th, 2017 07:14 AM

With your one way trip are you paying a big drop fee when you drop the car in Seattle?
If you have seen enough coastline or rain by the time you get to Crescent City CA, take US 199 to Grants Pass and continue up I-5 to Portland and Seattle.
If you do go north on US 101 on the Oregon coastline, go through Cannon Beach and see Haystack Rock.
Just north of CB, take US 26 east to Portland to get back to I-5. There are some good things to see in the west side of Portland including the zoo and the World Forestry Center.

sunbum1944 Mar 20th, 2017 09:36 AM

While I agree the area around Bandon is beautiful, I think the area between Florence and Lincoln City is spectacular too. I know, too many choices.
There is not much to see between Coos Bay and Florence - too many trees

There is a website- the Oregon Coast Mile by Mile- which can be helpful in planning.

Hope it won't be too rainy on your travels.

eznmomma Mar 26th, 2017 12:23 PM

Thanks everyone. So many decisions. I'm booking hotels right now.since we will be on the road so much and not relaxing, I'm looking for cheap and clean.

tomfuller Mar 26th, 2017 01:05 PM

Many of the Oregon State Parks have yurts. One of my favorites is William Tugman SP near the Oregon Dunes.

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