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  1. Default West Coast Road Trip

    Hello! I am planning a roadtrip from TX to the West Coast. I plan on leaving from Austin then heading West to California. I have the beginning part of my trip up the coast planned with stops in SD, LA, Big Sur, San Fran all the way up to Seattle. From Seattle, my friend and I would like to head to Napa then the Grand Canyon. We would like to camp in Oregon and I'm not sure where we could stop from Napa to the Grand Canyon, other than Vegas. What stops do you recommend for the route from Seattle to the Grand Canyon?

    Any other Texas to PCH roadtrip suggestions are welcome, too.

    Additional question: How bad (icey) will the roads be on the west coast in february/march?

    Thank you

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    How much time are you planning for this trip?

    Between Napa and the Grand Canyon you've got several National Parks - including Yosemite, Sequoia, and Death Valley - Lake Tahoe, even parts of Utah would be a possibility. A good study of paper maps would be quite helpful in your planning here.

    It's impossible to say what road conditions you will see when you are traveling. Snow and ice certainly is a possibility, especially in the many mountain areas it appears you'll be heading through. I can say that you're almost certainly going to need high-end cold weather gear if you hope to camp almost anywhere along your trip at that time of year.

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


    I am a little confused as to why you would not visit Napa while heading along the coastal route rather than heading all the way back there from Seattle before going to Grand canyon. Any reason why ? Reversing your route so that you head south along the coast and have the ocean on your side of the road is worth considering, although in your particular case going through the mountains later in your trip might be an advantage. I will also be interested to see how much time you have available for this trip, without knowing makes it impossible to make recommendations.

  4. Default

    Thank you both! I was recently laid off so this trip doesn't necessarily have a strict time limit. I'm thinking a little under 4 weeks. A friend will be flying from Houston to meet me to do 6-7 days of the trip with me. She won't be flying in until around the time I get to Seattle. So basically, I have two weeks to drive West and up the coast solo. I am taking my time as I drive up and it's been somewhat easy to plan. However, the return trip (with an added outdoorsy friend) has been difficult to plan. (due to weather and my lack on knowledge of the West). I had Vancouver in the plan, too but decided to cut it out.

    San Diego
    San Luis Obispo Area
    Big Sur
    San Francisco
    Crater Lake
    Seattle---- Probably pick up my friend?
    Red Woods
    Napa Valley
    Las Vegas
    Grand Canyon

    I wanted to be able to experience some sort of the California wine county with her but we wanted to camp somewhere too. I figured camping the Red Woods or Yosemite would be iffy this early in the year but possibly we could camp the Grand Canyon. From there, I will be taking her to the closest airport and finishing out the rest of my trip solo.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Crater Lake is very limited in winter. The rim village is really the only area that is open. The roads around the lake are closed, as the area sees a lot of snow.

    If you're looking to camp, the coast/redwoods would probably be your best bet - or Death Valley, which you didn't mention on your list. The area near coastal redwoods typically doesn't drop much below freezing. Average highs around 50 and lows around 40 are typical. You could probably get by with 3 season gear, as opposed to being full out winter camping.

    The Grand Canyon would not be a spot where I would look to camp, again, without serious cold weather stuff. At an elevation of 7,000 feet, the average low temperature there in February is around 20 degrees.

  6. Default

    Good to know. I need a stop inbetween San Fran and Portland so I just figured I'd get a hotel near Crater Lake area and see as much as I can see. We will look into camp sites along the Red Woods Coast. We talked about going to Death Valley inbetween Napa, Yosemite and Las Vegas. So, that's an option. Looks like we would probably only need 1 night at/near the Grand Canyon, if camping isn't much of an option.

  7. Default

    I've also been looking into pit stops like Crescent City on the coast. My friend really wants to the beauty of Oregon as we head south.

  8. #8


    Be mindful of the weather during this Super El Niño year along the Calif-OR-WA coasts not to mention the normal fog. There have been some very heavy rains during the past 4 to 6 weeks.

  9. #9


    I done trip from DFW to southern CA and seprate trip from DFW to Seattle area via California, Navada and Idaho routes..

    I recommend I10/I8 all the way to San Diego... Ft. Stockton, TX, El Paso, TX, Part of Arizona near Tucson great for spending couple days. This time of year on I10/I8 should be very nice.

    I would do PCH 1 from LA all the way up to Golden Gate Bridge. The only issues will be you will have to cross road for scenic pull overs. That can be tricky on weekend day or busy part of PCH1 or HWY101.

    I also done HWY 101 between Eureka, CA all the way up to Aberdeen WA. I highly recommend this route however this time of year may be bit chilly as you go up north. It's long way and may take up to three days depending on how many stops.

    Enjoy... I wish I did not have a job...

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