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Roadtrip between CA and Oregon? [moved from California forum]

Roadtrip between CA and Oregon? [moved from California forum]

Old Sep 24, 14, 9:30 pm
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Roadtrip between CA and Oregon? [moved from California forum]

Has anyone ever driven from NorCal through OR?

I've been meaning to drive up to Shasta and Lassen for a couple of nights in the fall and I'm somewhat tempted to keep pushing north up to Oregon Caves and Crater Lake. Can anyone tell me what the drive is like? Are there any scenic routes or byways to consider? Looks like it's only 4 hours between Shasta and Oregon Caves and another 3 to Crater Lake. I suppose this would probably be better suited for the Oregona Forum but would a night in each suffice or should I really plan to spend two? It looks like there's more to do at Crater Lake than the Caves.
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Old Sep 24, 14, 9:51 pm
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. . .Might be helpful if we know where you will be departing from & how many days you have to spend on the trip before you *need* to be back; and when you plan on going - weather will change things. . . Benchmark Maps - available on Amazon - makes some GREAT map books if you plan on doing it frequently. . .With the drought, Shasta ( and most CA lakes ) are very low; also there has been quite a haze up in that area with the fires. . .( I have made about 6 flights from O22 to O46 this month & was IFR near Beale AFB Saturday, because of the smoke; if fires go out thing will change ) Crater lake is a great experience; there last year. . .Camping or lodging?. . .Also look at Hwy 395 & Hwy 89 thru Lassen Park; Hwy 5 is BOR-ING!. . .Hope you have a wonderful trip
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Old Sep 24, 14, 10:23 pm
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The last time I did that I used 395 and continued north through Lava Beds National Monument and on to Klamath Falls for the night before going on to Crater Lake. That back road area was MUCH nicer than I-5.

That said, I don't really think this is the time to do that trip. The fires in the northern part of the state have covered a lot of the area in smoke. It will not be very scenic and breathing will be unpleasant.
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Old Sep 24, 14, 10:31 pm
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Crater Lake is spectacular. The Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR can be fun, too.
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Old Sep 25, 14, 5:06 am
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Originally Posted by OliverB View Post
Has anyone ever driven from NorCal through OR?

I've been meaning to drive up to Shasta and Lassen for a couple of nights in the fall and I'm somewhat tempted to keep pushing north up to Oregon Caves and Crater Lake. Can anyone tell me what the drive is like? Are there any scenic routes or byways to consider? Looks like it's only 4 hours between Shasta and Oregon Caves and another 3 to Crater Lake. I suppose this would probably be better suited for the Oregona Forum but would a night in each suffice or should I really plan to spend two? It looks like there's more to do at Crater Lake than the Caves.
We have lots of " Shastas" in NorCal (don't be decieved by my LHR location as I'm from Redding). Are you referring to Old Shasta, Shasta Lake, Mt. Shasta, etc.? Mt. Shasta is (roughly) an hour north of Redding while Lassen is 75-90 minutes east.

From Mt. Shasta to the Oregon Caves, parts of I-5 are scenic while others are less so. I think the drive between Weed and Yreka is quite boring. But I grew up driving it.

Absolutely recommend Crater Lake!

Another very pretty drive is 199 over to Crescent City and along the NorCal/Oregon coastline.

You may also take interest in Shasta Caverns (just off I-5 north of Shasta Lake)
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Old Sep 25, 14, 9:07 am
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Another for Crater Lake. The season there is short, though. Check with the park to find out which areas will be open during your visit.

There are plenty of scenic drives. Basically anything other than I-5 is really nice. And even I-5 is not that bad; it's dull by comparison to the byways in the area but it's still a world apart from the are-we-there-yet tedium of I-5 through the Central Valley.
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Old Sep 25, 14, 9:13 am
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Originally Posted by BOONDOCKER View Post
. . .Might be helpful if we know where you will be departing from & how many days you have to spend on the trip before you *need* to be back; and when you plan on going - weather will change things. . . Benchmark Maps - available on Amazon - makes some GREAT map books if you plan on doing it frequently. . .With the drought, Shasta ( and most CA lakes ) are very low; also there has been quite a haze up in that area with the fires. . .( I have made about 6 flights from O22 to O46 this month & was IFR near Beale AFB Saturday, because of the smoke; if fires go out thing will change ) Crater lake is a great experience; there last year. . .Camping or lodging?. . .Also look at Hwy 395 & Hwy 89 thru Lassen Park; Hwy 5 is BOR-ING!. . .Hope you have a wonderful trip
Thanks so much!

We're coming from SF but that doesn't matter since we'll be driving up to Shasta anyway, so that's our jump off point. Thanks for the route tips. It sounds like we'll likely put this off until the spring with the combo of fires and drought; probably not an ideal time to visit based on everyone's feedback.
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Old Sep 25, 14, 9:16 am
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Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
The last time I did that I used 395 and continued north through Lava Beds National Monument and on to Klamath Falls for the night before going on to Crater Lake. That back road area was MUCH nicer than I-5.

That said, I don't really think this is the time to do that trip. The fires in the northern part of the state have covered a lot of the area in smoke. It will not be very scenic and breathing will be unpleasant.

Thanks, I hadn't thought about the impact from the fires. You're right and we'll probably hold off until next May as a result. Is the winter snow usually melted and gone by early May that far north?

Thanks for the tip on the Lava Beds and Klamath Falls. We'll almost certainly cut east and take that route when we make the trip. Perhaps we'll make a full week of it and add a couple of nights in one of the towns around Tahoe in the Sierra foothills (Carson City, Kit Carson, Soda Springs, Sierra City, Graeagle, Blairsden, Cromberg, Quincy, etc) or perhaps a night in Reno, then continue up to Mount Shasta and push north through Oregon.

Last edited by OliverB; Sep 25, 14 at 9:46 am
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Old Sep 25, 14, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by rwoman View Post
We have lots of " Shastas" in NorCal (don't be decieved by my LHR location as I'm from Redding). Are you referring to Old Shasta, Shasta Lake, Mt. Shasta, etc.? Mt. Shasta is (roughly) an hour north of Redding while Lassen is 75-90 minutes east.

From Mt. Shasta to the Oregon Caves, parts of I-5 are scenic while others are less so. I think the drive between Weed and Yreka is quite boring. But I grew up driving it.

Absolutely recommend Crater Lake!

Another very pretty drive is 199 over to Crescent City and along the NorCal/Oregon coastline.

You may also take interest in Shasta Caverns (just off I-5 north of Shasta Lake)
Indeed, Mt Shasta - near Dunsmuir! I've seen photos from a friend's roadtrip years back and it looks beautiful. I've never been up there and it's been high on my list of Northern California weekend roadtrips for a long while.

I have done the 101 Redwood Hwy through Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park and on to Crescent City and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park before. It's indeed spectacular!
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Old Sep 25, 14, 9:47 am
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Originally Posted by darthbimmer View Post
Another for Crater Lake. The season there is short, though. Check with the park to find out which areas will be open during your visit.

There are plenty of scenic drives. Basically anything other than I-5 is really nice. And even I-5 is not that bad; it's dull by comparison to the byways in the area but it's still a world apart from the are-we-there-yet tedium of I-5 through the Central Valley.
Thanks!
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Old Sep 25, 14, 1:40 pm
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This thread had me contemplating some other road trips between CA and OR as well; particularly driving north along 101 coastal route and then cutting east from Cannon Beach through Hood River and Columbia Gorge all the way accross to Joseph and Wallowa Lake, ending in Portland and flying home.

Ideally I'd like to kick it off around Eugene but there doesn't seem to be any easily accessible way of getting there. I could drive all the way upstate but I'm trying to be efficient since I want to focus on the Oregon part of this roadtrip. There are direct flights from SFO on United Express but since it's a regional airport, we'd be looking at $500 for a one-way fare! I suppose we could possibly do a connection through PDX on Alaska but it seems kind of silly to connect in Portland, fly back south to OTH, then drive back North up towards Cannon. The Amtrak or Coastal Starlight (I forget which rail runs up the coast) is like 12 hours and I've gotten horrible feedback from those that have taken it south down to LA. I'd rather drive in less time. Are there any other nearby airports that are serviced by SFO or Oakland that I might consider? I'd like to set off up the coast somewhere around the Siuslaw Nat'l Forest; near Yachats or thereabouts. Any suggestions? This wouldn't be for several months btw, I'm just thinking about it now...

Last edited by OliverB; Sep 25, 14 at 1:46 pm
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Old Sep 25, 14, 5:40 pm
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Originally Posted by OliverB View Post
Thanks, I hadn't thought about the impact from the fires. You're right and we'll probably hold off until next May as a result. Is the winter snow usually melted and gone by early May that far north?
It's hard to predict this far in advance what the snow conditions will be like come May; it depends on the depth of snowfall throughout the winter and whether April weather favors melt-off or further accumulation. That said, I would plan on there being significant snow cover above 4,000' elevation in early May. Major roads above this elevation would be clear but scenic areas may not be cleared.
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Old Sep 25, 14, 6:16 pm
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The Crater Lake Rim Visitor Center indicates that they open in Late May, and close in Late September. The restaurant in the Lodge opens a bit earlier and closes a bit later than the visitor center, so it may be passable by mid-May next year.

http://www.nps.gov/crla/planyourvisit/hours.htm

That website also has alerts that will let you know the specifics when they've worked it out themselves!

Pro-Tip: Stay at the Lodge if you can - the park doesn't open until 10am(?) but if you're at the lodge you can get the whole place to yourself for several hours before the tourists show up!
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Old Sep 25, 14, 9:49 pm
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Oh we're definitely staying at the lodge, that's the impetus for this trip!

Thanks everyone!
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Old Oct 2, 14, 9:15 am
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The Crater Lake visitors center and lodge may open in May, but the rim road - which is the real draw - usually isn't fully open until July, sometimes mid-July.

For any trips to Oregon in the spring or early summer, I really recommend continuing up to the Columbia Gorge if at all possible. In the spring, the many waterfalls along the gorge wall are fabulous with spring runoff, the Hood River Valley (between Hood River and Mount Hood) is full of flowering orchards, and there's still skiing and fabulous views on Mount Hood itself. IMO it's one of the best spring destinations in the west.
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