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  1. #1

    Default Two-week Road Trip From Seattle

    my wife and I would have two-week holidays from late Sept to early Oct. Coming from Shanghai, we'll arrive and depart at Tacoma, Seattle.

    Could you guys suggest some great routes (and spots along them) at this time in year? (Canada included, perhaps)

    I'm not familiar with the towns and parks near Seattle and Washington state. I personally have a mileage of roughly 3,000 miles in the US, but most of it was in California.

    Another old question would be, is Yosemite accessible and worth visiting this time in year (let's say early Oct)?

    Thank you very very much :DD
    Last edited by kevin_chn; 08-27-2015 at 09:30 AM. Reason: add some information

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Really, the first thing I could recommend is that you spend some time learning and getting familiar with the Pacific Northwest. As you'll read frequently on this forum, there are not generic one-size fits all "great routes," and when you don't have a good basic idea of what you want to see and do as a starting point, it's hard to get good answers in a forum setting.

    Here are some favorite threads about the region from the RTA Archives, but that should only be a starting point. You should also be taking a look at maps, books, and the many other resources of this site. Once you have a better idea of a plan, then others will be better able to give you useful suggestions.

    Yes, Yosemite is accessible in October, although there is a slight chance that Tioga Pass could be closed if there is an early season storm. However, if you've already spent a lot of time in California, that would seem to be a bit of an odd choice on a trip from Seattle. Are you perhaps thinking Yellowstone?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    A few paces that spring instantly to mind are Olympic NP, Mount Ranier, Portland and the Columbia river Gorge, Mount Hood, Crater Lake and the Oregon coast, possibly the Redwoods on the Cali coast. This could make a nice loop trip and if you were to travel the coast it's best to do so when heading south so that the ocean is on your side of the road. As Michael mentioned, Yellowstone is an option and quite an amazing place that would deserve at least 2 or 3 days of your time. The Grand Tetons and Glacier NP are two other places you could include in this area. There are lots of other great options for you to consider, so as Michael also mentioned, do your research and see what appeals and then we can be of more help.

  4. #4


    Thanks to both for your quick yet detailed replies. I definitely should have done more homework myself. But you could understand the joy right after booking the flight tickets...:D

    I went to California many times for business, and thus never really had the chance to go to Yosemite. Yes, Michael, your words made sense, perhaps I could first go to Yellowstone.

    Anyway, I will do my homework right away before reporting back to you.

    Thanks guys.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Is this trip for this year?

    If so, bear in mind two things: there are many acres burning in Washington State right now, and, in late Sept/early Oct, Yellowstone is going into Winter Mode. That means a lot of the facilities and many (but not all) of the roads will be closed.

    If this is for next year, the fires will probably be history, but the closures remain the same. Normally, Yellowstone starts to close down right after Labor Day, with the main closures around the 20th of September.

    Click here for the list of closing dates for 2015 in Yellowstone.


  6. #6


    Thanks, Donna.

    Yes, the trip is for this year. Very useful information from you. I'll prepare for the closures (and fire fighting :D) if I choose to go to Yellowstone, then.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Two seperate issues.

    I think you misunderstood Donna. Washington state is experiencing wild fires not directly connected to visiting Yellowstone. Yellowstone can experience early winter weather which can cause a different type of disruption, so just keep up to date with conditions. Yellowstone can also be quite majestic at this time of year so don't write it off just yet. ;-) And hopefully those fires will be under control by then !

  8. #8

    Default First Draft

    Here's my first draft of day to day planů
    The biggest doubt I have is, if I put Yellowstone in, then we would spend two days driving to and from there.
    Do you guys think the sceneries along the route are worth it? And any place midway you suggest we can stay for a night?

    Day Date Description Additional Info
    1 9/27 (half day) Sea-tac -> Seattle downtown
    2 9/28 Seattle
    3 9/29 Olympic NP
    4 9/30 Mt Rainer
    5 10/1 Mt Helens, arriving at Portland
    6 10/2 Portland, to Yellowstone, staying midway Columbia River Gorge
    7 10/3 Arriving at Yellowstone
    8 10/4 Yellowstone
    9 10/5 Yellowstone
    10 10/6 Yellowstone
    11 10/7 To Seattle, staying midway North Cascades Hwy
    12 10/8 Arriving at Seattle

    What I miss out:
    San Juan Island
    Hells Canyon
    Coulee Dam
    Crater Lake

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    Your first plan looks reasonable but only you can decide if you think Yellowstone is worth the drive and overall time it will take up of your holiday. It's certainly an amazing and unique place that would top most lists, but on the flip side it takes a big chunk of your time. For example, going to Yellowstone would mean you would also have to consider whether it is worth going to Olympic NP for what would amount to a few hours sight seeing. You plan to drive there from Seattle and then leave the following day to Mt Ranier, a total of 10 hours driving I would expect, and that's if you don't go all the way to the Hoh rain forest which is one of the highlights of the park.

    It will depend on which route you choose between Portland and Yellowstone, but Spokane is the type of distance that will allow a little time to sight see through the Columbia river Gorge but not leave too much to do the following day to get to Yellowstone.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Accommodation.

    If you are planning on going to Yellowstone, you better get on to booking your accommodation first. Even though it is the end of the season, the accommodation is likely to be fully booked.

    West Yellowstone is the nearest outside the park accommodation.


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