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  1. Default From Portland to Las Vegas

    What do you think is the most beautiful route you can take between Portland, Oregon and Las Vegas? We will have 2 nights on the way down and after a few days in Las Vegas, we will have 2 nights on the way back up to Portland. We would like to take 2 different routes to enjoy different views.
    Also any suggestions where to stay during the trip on the way down and on the way back? We plan on camping during the trip. Or we could just stay at motel. Since we don't know how far we will drive each day, we have no clue as to whether we should reserve a motel or camp site. Thanks a lot for your valuable information!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Two days transit + camping?

    Quote Originally Posted by sk7
    What do you think is the most beautiful route you can take between Portland, Oregon and Las Vegas?
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Most beautiful? That is tricky without knowing what constitutes "beauty" to you. The bigger issue is that even if you by the shortest possible route, it is still ~1200 miles, which means that have to drive a minimum of 600 miles per day on each of the transit days. That is doable, if you can maintain Interstate highway speed all day. If you start traveling on scenic two-lane highways, that gets tougher. When is this trip planned for?

    At simplest level you could do part of the coast route on south-bound leg and part of the Sierra Nevada/Oregon Outback on the way back.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default one idea.

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I haven't made the trip myself, but Rand McNally recommended taking an All-Interstate Route via Boise and Salt Lake City as the fastest route. It seems a little out of the way, but it would be a pretty drive.

    I might take that one way, and then go back via US95 to Reno, then US-395 and CA-299 to Redding, and then I-5 back to Portland.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Odd but true.

    Having done it, I can tell you that the Boise-SLC way is actually a bit quicker. It does seem odd though, doesn't it?

    Another option is to drive north from Vegas through Winnemucca, NV; Burns, OR; etc. I think this area is lovely in it's desolateness. I enjoy the contrast from the greenery of the coastal areas. However, this landscape is not for everyone so I don't know if sk7 will find it scenic or not.

  5. Default

    Thank you guys. We are planning on this trip starting next weekend on June 17th. Actually we will have 3 days of driving since we will spend 2 nights on the road down to Vegas. It will be the same 2 nights and 3 days of driving coming back up. I was thinking, considering your advise and the past forum from last year I have read, going down the outback of Oregon (we have gone down the coast many times in the past) by using Hwy 97 to Weed instead of using I-5 which we've driven many times, and then using Hwy 89 to Hwy 44 to Susanville. Is Lassen national forest worth the drive? How about the condition of the Hwy 44? Is it going to take a lot of extra time by slow drive? Anyway, from Susanville down to Reno by using Hwy 395. At this point, my question is this: I see Hwy 44/89 that runs thru Lassen Volcanic National Park down to Hwy 36/89 and down Hwy 89 all the way down to Lake Tahoe. Since we have never been to Lake Tahoe, but is it worth extra drive? Going around the lake Tahoe to Carson City. By going east with Hwy 50 to Hwy 95 all the way down to Vegas.
    Now, coming back up to Portland: Since we have never been to Death Valley National Park, we will go up from Vegas Hwy 95 north to Hwy 373 to Hwy 190 all the way thru Death Valley to Hwy395 north. Is Death Valley worth the extra and probably slow drive? Is it going to take too much time? We love seeing new things and this great country that is why we want some adventur like this. Anyway, then going up north and somehow we need to get over the other side of the Sierra Nevada. Which route would you recommend? We have been to Yosemite many times so we won't have to go through there. Are there any other routes that is worth seeing thru the Sierra Nevada? How about thru Kings Canyon National Park. But looks like there is no thru hwy according to the map I have. And then back to boring I-5 depending on how much time we have left. I would appreciate your any advise or suggestions. Thank you for reading kind of a lengthy plan I laid out to you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default The only scaracity is time!

    Quote Originally Posted by sk7
    I was thinking, considering your advise and the past forum from last year I have read, going down the outback of[ Oregon
    A good choice and if you have time -- a really nice place for a quick soak is Summer Lake Hot Springs. I will address some of your points below -- but everything mentioned is "all worth it". Your problem is the same we all face, an insufficiency of time. You simply won't have time to cover the distance and spend much time at any of these interim destinations. You can probably speed through most of them -- but it will be like watching a movie -- a darn good movie because you won't have time to get out and explore much. It can still be an awesome trip, but it is a dilemna.
    by using Hwy 97 to Weed
    If you are going to drive through the Outback you won't be anywhere near US-97 -- you will be on US-395
    and then using Hwy 89 to Hwy 44 to Susanville.
    That is a pretty road, but a rather serious zig-zag when you can just drive south on US-395, check out the hang-gliders at Lakeview and the shoe trees.
    Is Lassen national forest worth the drive? How about the condition of the Hwy 44? Is it going to take a lot of extra time by slow drive?
    SR-44 is open, it is a pretty drive, but it will slow you down to an average speed of 50-55 mph.
    Anyway, from Susanville down to Reno by using Hwy 395. At this point, my question is this: I see Hwy 44/89 that runs thru Lassen Volcanic National Park down to Hwy 36/89 and down Hwy 89 all the way down to Lake Tahoe.
    US-395 will be a faster run, SR-44/US-89 between Mt. Shasta and Lake Tahoe is long day -- Lassen NP is an awesome drive -- but it is going to be slow. You might be able average 40 mph inside the park. I am not positive the road is completely open -- you will need to check.
    Since we have never been to Lake Tahoe, but is it worth extra drive?

    You tell me -- does this look inviting and worthwhile?
    Now, coming back up to Portland: Since we have never been to Death Valley National Park, we will go up from Vegas Hwy 95 north to Hwy 373 to Hwy 190 all the way thru Death Valley to Hwy395 north.
    Death Valley is just about my favorite national park, there are several dozen posts here about my suggested routes -- use the search function to find them.
    Anyway, then going up north and somehow we need to get over the other side of the Sierra Nevada. Which route would you recommend?
    I just drove Sonora Pass -- SR-108 and it looked like scenes from Narnia after it began to melt. Just do it!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-10-2006 at 09:17 PM. Reason: fixed wrong verb usage

  7. Default

    Mark,
    Thank you for your expert advise.
    I still have one more week to chew on what you gave me so far.
    It is very valuable info you gave us! Thanks a lot.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Excellent post, Mark, but a question?

    Mark gave you excellent advise and recommendations. And his advice is usually spot on. However....and this is a rare occurrence...I have to question this statement:

    US-395 will be a faster run, SR-44/US-89 between Mt. Shasta and Lake Tahoe is long day --
    US-395 may well be faster but Shasta to Tahoe on 44/89 is not a long day. In April 2005, we drove that route from Weed, CA, to Sparks, NV, in about 5-5.5 hours. The distance is roughly the same as Shasta to Lake Tahoe. We left Weed at about 8:00am and still go to Sparks, checked into our hotel, and had plenty of time to get up to Virginia City for the rest of the day. I think we left the hotel, after checking in and taking in our bags, etc. at about 2:30pm. And there was snow on the ground through the entire Shasta forest and we stopped numerous times at viewpoints t take pictures and to play in the snow. In good weather with clear roads, You should be able to make better time.

    It was an easy, beautiful drive. I highly recommend it. MS Streets & Trips says it's only 271 miles from the I-5/89 intersection to the town of South Lake Tahoe.

    I've also done the drive to Vegas a few times. My starting point is up on the Olympic Peninsula in WA (about 3 hours from Portland). I have done this drive in 2 days several times. (From my home to Reno is 12 hours.) In 2 days, there's very little time for sightseeing but we also squeeze a few quick stops in. But, with 3 days and 3 hours less driving to do, you should be able to do some sightseeing along the way without any problem. You just won't be able to spend hours sightseeing.

  9. Default

    Judy,

    It was very helpful! You have actually driven those routes so that is really helpful. Thanks a lot.

  10. #10

    Default More possibilities

    As Mark knows, we've been just about everywhere -- especially in the west. We've driven Portland to Las Vegas (or other areas in the South) many times.

    You might want to consider "boring I-5" into N California, stopping in Redding to see the Sundial Bridge and then continuing on over to Lassen - take the loop. From there catch 99 for an alternate route through Sacramento and head up 80 to Placerville - from there take 49 S through the old Gold Rush country - Angel's Camp, Sonora, etc. on through Yosemite to highway 395 south into Death Valley via 190. We loved Death Valey NP -- and we've seen ALL our National Parks! Consider staying at the Furnace Creek Inn - a little spendy, but fabulous. Great food also. From Death Valley, it's an easy drive in Las Vegas.

    If you have a little time down there, tear yourself away from the slots and head to St. George. If you are golfers, it is paradise. If you are not, the scenery in spectacular. A short drive from St. George (about 1 1/2 hrs from Vegas) has you in Zion NP - stunningly beautiful.

    On the way back take the almost deserted drive from Vegas up 95 to Reno - vast open spaces and not much traffic - you can make pretty good time. We left St. George around 8 am and arrived in Reno around 4 pm -- stopped several times for food, gas, and other essentials! If you want to see S Lake Tahoe, cut over to Carson City and on into Tahoe. We also think Truckee and N Lake Tahoe are equally pretty.

    We really like the drive up through Susanville, and 139 into Klamath Falls, up 97 through Bend and your choice of routes home from there. We also have traveled over the Lake of the Woods highway and caught I-5 at Medford. We've also gone up to Crater Lake from Klamath and over 138 to Roseburg - a beautiful highway.

    Just more fuel for your thoughts!

    Carol White
    www.roadtripdream.com
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-11-2006 at 12:37 PM. Reason: add link to Carol's article about the Bridge!

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