Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. Default Sacramento to Seattle

    Hi,

    How is everyone doing? I've been trying to get ideas on this website for a roadtrip I am taking between 5-19 and 5-24 and it's been really helpful. Thought I'd take a shot at getting specific advice on my trip.

    My plan is to leave on 5-19 and stay somewhere (scenic and pretty) on the Oregon coast (or Portland, since it's a Saturday night) that night. On 5-20 our goal is to make it to Mt. St. Helen's by 1-2 pm and stay at Lake Quinalt that evening.

    From here our plans get a bit hazy again. On the 21st and 22nd we'd like to explore/hike the best scenery in the area. For example, we would like to hike the next day in Lake Quinalt and maybe make our way up to Cape Flattery. From there, we'd also like to see the Hall of Mosses but we're not sure how to do so. Basically I need a plan for these two days with enough time to make it back to Seattle's waterfront on the evening of the 22nd. Is this possible?

    On the 23rd, we'd like to start by experiencing a bit of Seattle in the morning and then making our way out midday (to avoid traffic) to head back to Sac. At that point, we are just going to take the I-5 down to Sacramento because we need to be back in Sac by 1 pm on the 24th.

    Last note; we are young and would like to do as much as we can but want to be realistic about our plans as well.

    Any advice/thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you and hope you are all having a great weekend.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Red Flag

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I haven't traveled much in this part of the country, but I do see one big red flag with your trip.

    There is no way you can drive along the Coast and make it from Sac to Mt. St. Helens in a day and a half. The distance is far too long and the route is far too slow to even attempt that.

    The coast is a very slow curvy road with lots of traffic, so 2 full day would really be the minimum that you could even attempt to get from Sac up to the Portland area via this road.

    Now if you just want to get up to the Portland area, you can do that without much problem. Just remember, even via the interstate that is still a solid 10 hour drive.

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

    Default Can you add a day or two?

    Michael's right. You're cutting the time way too close. I'm not sure how you'll do this trip and still get some sleep. Even us road warriors that love a good speed run now and then wouldn't be able to do this trip.

    My plan is to leave on 5-19 and stay somewhere (scenic and pretty) on the Oregon coast (or Portland, since it's a Saturday night) that night. On 5-20 our goal is to make it to Mt. St. Helen's by 1-2 pm and stay at Lake Quinalt that evening.
    You can get a good view of Mt. St. Helen's by taking the road west at Castle Rock up to the Johnston Ridge VC. It's about an hour drive to get to the VC. I figure you'll want a minimum of 3 hours for this. An hour will give you a quick look into the crater, a chance to walk a short part of the trail and/or a look-see in the very nice VC with good displays.

    Castle Rock is only about an hour from Portland so, if you stay in Portland on Saturday night, you'll get there far before 1-2pm. Unless, of course, you've really had a wild and crazy Saturday night. :-)

    It's about 3 hours from Castle Rock to Lake Quinault. You'll want to go up I-5 to exit 88-B, then take Hwy 12 until you get to Hwy 8 at Elma. Then go west on Hwy 12, through the towns of Aberdeen and Hoquiam. You'll take 101 out of Hoquiam to Lake Quinault. It's about 45 minutes north of Hoquiam.

    Lake Quinault is lovely. There are some great trails that start in the parking area across the street from the Lake Quinault Lodge. There is a forest service office next door to the lodge and they're very helpful with trail info. There are numerous other trail-heads along the South Shore Road worth checking out, too.

    Where are you staying at Lake Q? There are several national park campgrounds but they do tend to get pretty filled up. Especially if the weather is nice. Lodging can be quite expensive so you might want to poke around that link to find a good value.

    If you have time, but I doubt you will, the drive along the eastern side of the lake, from the south shore to the north shore, is quite nice. Don't be surprised if you have to stop for Roosevelt Elk.

    On the north shore there is a small ranger station with a cool interpretive trail that is only about a mile long, if that. This trail is quite different than what you'll see on the south shore trails and is more evocative of the rain forest itself with nurse logs, huge ferns, lots of moss. Like a prehistoric forest. If you don't have time to go to the Hall of Mosses, this is a nice alternative.

    You can also get there by going back out to the 101 from the South Shore Road, and drive just a few miles north up to the North Shore Road. Look for the sign, it's easy to miss. It's right past JJ's Restaurant and a small grocery store whose name escapes me right now. Turn right and drive for....oh, 5 miles, or a bit more. It's a lot faster than the eastern drive but nowhere near as lovely.

    From here our plans get a bit hazy again. On the 21st and 22nd we'd like to explore/hike the best scenery in the area. For example, we would like to hike the next day in Lake Quinalt and maybe make our way up to Cape Flattery. From there, we'd also like to see the Hall of Mosses but we're not sure how to do so. Basically I need a plan for these two days with enough time to make it back to Seattle's waterfront on the evening of the 22nd. Is this possible?

    The Hall of Mosses is really a great thing to do. Beautiful and worth the detour. Figure at least 1.5 hours to drive out there, do the short hike, and get back to the highway. The Hoh River Road, a/k/a Upper Hoh Road, is about 14 miles south of Forks. The last time I was up that way, I noticed that some signs were down so it wasn't well-marked. If you get to the Bogachiel roads and park, you've gone too far. If you have time, don't hesitate to turn around and go back to it because it's really gorgeous.

    On your way between Lake Q and the Hoh, it's worth it to stop in Kalaloch. Beautiful beaches. My favorite one is on the last beach approach you'll come to before the road turns inland, called Ruby Beach. Terrific tidepools and haystacks on a very wild beach.

    Cape Flattery is very cool. The Makah Indian Reservation's scenery is breath-taking. But I don't think you'll have time for this if you really want to get to Seattle.

    Let's put it this way....
    * Lake Quinault-Hall of Mosses-Cape Flattery-Seattle is about 310 miles
    * Lake Quinault-Cape Flattery-Seattle is about 275 miles
    * Lake Quinault-Seattle is about 200 miles
    And you can't count on driving at normal highway speeds on all the roads along here. Some parts are quite windy, narrow, and have limited passing options if you're behind slow traffic. An RV in front of you that doesn't take advantage of pull-outs to allow traffic to pass can really slow you down. I'd figure an average of 45mph along this route, with parts at 55-60mph and others at 30mph.

    And this doesn't even count the time you'll need to catch the ferry to get to Seattle. If you drive onto Bainbridge Island and catch the Winslow-Seattle ferry, you're looking at a 30-minute ferry ride. Add at least another 30-40 minutes to load and debark.

    I would figure at least 3.5-4 hours from Lake Q to Winslow and then another 1-1.5 hours for the ferry. Add plenty of extra time for the Hoh and/or Cape Flattery. If you decide to do those stops too, you could leave Lake Q in the early morning and still not actually make it into Seattle until evening.

    You'll want to be out of Seattle by 2pm in order to avoid the traffic jams there. Highlights to see, imho, are The Farmer's Market, the waterfront with The Olde Curiousity Shoppe, Pioneer Square, and the Space Needle. Farmer's Market is cool any time of day but it's best in the early morning so go there first. Watch for flying fish!

    You're going to have to make some choices. There is no way you can do it all.

    Oh, if you do drive the coast highway (101) on the way north, I would suggest staying on 101 all the way from Oregon to the Olympic Peninsula. It's a waste of time to veer inland to see Portland and Mt. St. Helens at this point. Stop there on the way home.

  4. Default Thanks everyone. Does this plan work?

    Hi Judy,

    Thanks for the advice. It was very helpful. I had a question about the advice your provided. It sounded like you thought the Lake Quinalt to Seattle tour would be done in a day but I was actually hoping to do this in two days (including doing the Lake Quinalt drive from South to North and hiking on the north side). We were going to stay in Port Angeles on the second night and then make our way towards Seattle and getting into Seattle on the second night. Is this not possible to complete from Sunday to Tuesday night? We can add on an extra day in the north Washington area, if it is needed.

    Also, we are going to take the I-5 up to Portland on the first day. Our goal is to have the majority of our road trip in Washington. Portland is our stop on the way up and we'd like to go to a bar there.

    So, in short, our plan is as follows....

    5/19 - Drive to Portland (if needed we can get to Portland on the 18th to add an extra day in Washington)

    5/20 - Mt. St. Helen's in morning --> stay at MSH for 3-4 hours. Drive to Lake Quinalt and stay at Rainforest Lodge

    5/21 - Drive Lake Quinalt (south shore road to north shore road) --> hike on trail on north side --> make our way to Hall of Mosses (stopping by Kalaloch) --> walk Hall of Mosses --> make our way to Cape Flattery --> stay at Port Angeles

    5/22 - we just wanted to see as much as we can on our drive from Port Angeles to Seattle. Do you have any suggestions? Stay in Seattle waterfront.

    5/23 - Stay in Seattle until 1 pm. Do you know of drives from that point where we can make it to Sacramento by the evening of the 24th (we were thinking of driving down the Oregon coast for a while before cutting back to the I-5 at some point for the California portion) Is this possible?


    By the way, my name is Edward.

    Take care.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default A well-planned speed run!

    hey Edward!

    Yes, I did think you meant to go Lake Quinault-Seattle in one day. Staying in Port Angeles for the night totally changes things. Good plan. You'll still want to be up early to get on the road in order to have time for your hiking but with that overnight stop, this is very reasonable.

    The Sacramento-Portland leg is very do-able as well. (For some reason, I had it in my head you were coming all the way from San Diego. I guess I better read more closely next time, eh?)

    So is the Portland-MSH-Lake Quinault leg.

    From Port Angeles to Seattle ideas:
    * In Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge for views (if the skies are clear) and some hiking. There's a nice waterfront area here, too.
    * In Sequim, the Dungeness Spit NWR. It's a very cool and unique environment with lots of sea birds and other wildlife.
    * If you like architecture and antiques, you might enjoy a swing into Port Townsend. Many Victorian homes are still standing. Also the downtown is mainly well-preserved, older buildings. Port Townsend is similar to Eureka, CA.
    * Port Gamble: This is a former "company town" with all housing for employees built by the company. Many are still standing. It's kinda cool to check out.
    * Poulsbo...I love this town. It's on your way to the Winslow ferry to Seattle. Veer off the main highway into the Scandinavian-themed downtown with it's nice waterfront. They've done a nice job. It's not tacky.
    * Winslow is a very nice town but a bit upscale for me. But they have some great restaurants on the waterfront. But so does Poulsbo so I guess it depends on what you find.
    * Enjoy the 30-minute ferry ride into downtown Seattle from Winslow. You'll see the famous views of the Seattle skyline from here. And, if you're lucky "The Mountain" will be out. Nobody up here calls it Mt. Rainier.

    I don't think you'll really have much time to do the coastal drive if you're leaving Seattle by 1pm and want to be in Sacramento by evening. You'll want to leave Seattle no later than 2pm due to traffic. It's about 3 hours from Seattle to Portland. Seattle-Sacramento is about 750 miles. I don't think you'll make it home until the wee hours of the morning as it is. If you add the miles to get out to the coast, you'll need at least one more day to get home.

  6. Default winter trip?

    I'd like some advice concerning a winter trip from Sacramento to Seattle. In late December I'm planning to make the drive, and I've been told that there is normally too much snow to safely drive up highway five in the middle of winter. Since any snow is too much for me, I'm curious about the weather/driving conditions during that time. Please let me know if you've driven that route in the winter and what it was like. Thanks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    there is normally too much snow to safely drive up highway five in the middle of winter.
    No, that is not a normal condition. It's quite possible, but not normal and the road gets cleared quickly when it does happen.

    Since any snow is too much for me
    If that's the case, you may need to head for the coast and take 101.

    Watch the weather reports and watch the road reports on the CALTRANS website - and Oregon and Washington's equivalent.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default beyond extremes

    Welcome to the RTA Forum Stacy.

    I've got to say, you've got yourself a bit of an extremist position here.

    Thousands of people drive I-5 every day during the winter, so its rather absurd to say that the road can't normally be driven safely during 1/4 of the year. The road does see snow, and it occationally sees so much snow that they shut down the road for a day or so while the weather clears and they get the road back into passable shape.

    On the other side of the coin, if you absolutely will not drive anyplace there is a chance of snow, then you've got a bit of a problem. Northern California and Oregon see snow, its just a fact of life. Going along the coast would pretty much eliminate that chance, but it is a much slower road, and instead of making the trip in one long day, you'd basically need at least three.

    The ironic part of course, is that by taking the coast, you'd actually be taking a more dangerous route, because statistically speaking, there are far fewer incidents on 4 lane, well engineered, controlled access interstates compared to 2 lane, curvy roads that go through many small towns of the old US federal highway system, like US-101.

Similar Threads

  1. 18 days.. from Seattle to LA or San Diego or Las Vegas
    By Ricardo in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-09-2007, 02:57 PM
  2. Driving from Vancouver to Seattle
    By lotusrjy in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-06-2007, 09:43 AM
  3. Redwoods to Seattle – ten days on the North West Coast
    By Peter Thody in forum RoadTrip Field Reports
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-18-2007, 04:17 PM
  4. Sacramento to Seattle
    By packman in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 12-24-2005, 02:39 AM
  5. Seattle - Cheyenne(WY) - Little Rock(AR)
    By Srinivas in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 09-07-2004, 01:02 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES