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  1. Default Calgary > Portland > San Fran > LA > Calgary in June

    Hi everyone,

    I am looking for some route advice in regard to an upcoming roadtrip my partner and I are taking in June. I've explored a number of forums and played with google maps to adjust routes, but I figured I'd just come right to the experts. The goal is to travel from Calgary to LA and back within a roughly three week period in mid-June. We would prefer a coastal drive as we are more inclined to nature than cities, so the Oregon Coast & Cali Coast would be ideal versus the I-5. The only real stops we'd have planned would be ~2 days in Portland & San Francisco, and ~3 days in LA. On the way back, we'd likely stay inland and take the most direct route back to Calgary (this would be less of a sight-seeing lag as I have travelled through Yellowstone in the past). Is three weeks reasonable? We don't mind long days of driving, and I realize that the coastal routes tend to be a bit slower. Additionally, we will be bringing a tent for camping along the way; we'd like to utilize this as much as possible to save money and have a bit more flexibility (we have the necessary equipment and camping experience). Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!

    -Max

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,219

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Please note that taking the coast highway (CA-1) from SF to LA is not really feasible due to a downed bridge at Big Sur. This won't be replaced till at least September. You can go as far as Big Sur, but you will have to turn around, go back to Monterey, then take US-101 the rest of the way down. You can cut back to the coast at Paso Robles on CA-46 but it's not really worth it.

    You can take CA-1 in northern California from Leggett to just north of SF. Very scenic but not quite as spectacular as Big Sur.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,697

    Default

    You have a reasonable amount of time to make it enjoyable travelling in both directions and as you have been to Yellowstone, you could head back north through Cali and Oregon on an inland route.(?) Heading south down the coast is the best bet as the ocean and it's scenic pull outs will be on your side of the road. This trip took us from LA to near Seattle and back and although in an RV it might give you some idea of options.

  4. #4

    Default

    Hi, We are from BC near Calgary.. search my trips that I have posted.. we have done part of coast(oregon & cali) also Utah is a hidden gem for route home.. I love everything there.. great short hikes,etc .. we also tent camped or budget motels... we also found if you check out casinos(get their player cards,you don't need to gamble) you can get very nice rooms for $50-$70 instead of $120. Our trips have always been about 14 days, some think we just do drive bys, but we do short hikes see tons! the slot canyon near goblin state park is a great hidden treasure, sequoia Np , the climb up Morro rock there, canyonlands-needles district(cave spring) dead horse sp, monument valley..you could do a loop from calgary-columbia valley gorge-portland-we went inland at Florence-cresent city-eureka-avenue of giants-legget- SF- sequoia Np-La-south rim grand canyon-monument valley-moab-idaho falls- calgary. this is alot but you can add or take off what doesn't interest you

  5. #5

    Default

    Also, first trip we were going to camp but eat out, not a good idea. Bring a cooler with food,drinks,snacks then you can stop & eat wherever as many places off the beaten track do not have restaurants close by.Since then we bring a small BBQ,campstove,cooler .. all set to go. A big double high queen blow up bed makes tenting so much better also. lol. Thermos for your coffee , you can fill that up almost everywhere. keep in touch would love to help if I can, I am not a moderator on here, but have found this site a wealth of information! I can give some info for campsites as well. Don't forget your park pass if you will be visiting NP or monuments. $80 for all for year

  6. Default

    @bctraveler @glc @southwestdave - thanks for the advice (and the heads up about the downed bridge at Big Sur). I've mapped out a tentative itinerary. It seems like hotels/campsites/airbnbs are booking up quickly so I think I'm going to have to have everything somewhat planned out with places booked in advance. I'd love to know your thoughts.

    June 4 - drive Calgary to Spokane, stay overnight in hotel
    June 5 - drive Spokane to Ainsworth State Park, camp overnight and check out the waterfalls (plus its like a 40 minute drive to Portland)
    June 6 - drive to Portland, stay 2 nights
    June 8 - drive to the coast, up to Cannon Beach then drive down and camp 2 nights at Beverly State Park
    June 10 - drive to Wolf Creek/Rogue River area, camp 2 nights
    June 12 - drive back to the coast and head south (stop to see the Redwoods), continue to San Fransico and stay 2 nights
    June 14 - drive down to Monterey, stay 2 nights to explore Carmel and Bixby Bridge area
    June 16 - drive to LA, stay 5 nights (I know this is quite a while, but I love LA and we'll hit up Disneyland for one day)
    June 21 - drive to Vegas, stay 2 nights
    June 23 - drive back towards Calgary (likely camp 2 nights along the way)
    June 25 - arrive back in Calgary

    Where is a good place to see the Redwoods on the northern California coast? I've heard good things about the Avenue of the Giants - is it worth the stop inland? And any suggestions as to where to stop on the way back from Vegas to Calgary would be appreciated. Thanks!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,697

    Default

    You have a good trip plan laid out, good job !

    I was wondering if you have a particular reason for heading inland towards Grants Pass and if not, why not stay on the coast which is a lovely section towards Klamath CA.

    The Redwoods. Just south of Klamath you can detour from 101 and drive through Prairie Creek on the Newton B Drury scenic Parkway among the Redwoods. Just south of Berry Glenn you will see Bald Hills road and a little way along that road you can stroll in the Ladybird Johnson Grove which is lovely. As you continue south to Humboldt State park, drive the Avenue of the Giants, it's amazing.

    There is quite a few options in which you could plan to get home depending on if anything catches your eye, but you don't have a lot of time. Zion NP is a place I would try yo fit in to my plans but it leaves you a little bit much to do with only 2 days left to get back afterwards. You could do a quick visit and stop around Beaver UT and then find a half way point between there and home.

    Another option would be to drive through the Great basin on US93 making a quick stop at Cathedral Gorge State park and stopping over in/near to Twin Falls and the Snake river canyon. The following morning you could visit Shoshone Falls and perhaps even Craters of the Moon and back to 93 through Challis and Darby MT. Here you could camp at nearby Como Lake. And then on through Missoula and Kalispell to home.

  8. #8

    Default

    We did a similar trip to start off with 2 years ago, went to Columbia River Gorge(checked out waterfalls- this is on a side road along highway) nice break in driving. We then opted to take the I-5 to Eugene and then headed to coast at Florence. You could go down to Albany and over to Newport from there if you want to start further up. We found that alot of road you are not driving along the coast and do not see the water even. From Florence to the California border we saw a lot of coast line- my favorite was actually the Brookings to Crescent City-Eureka area. The Redwoods in Avenue of Giants was a bit disappointing to me ( after going to Sequioa NP) it was like driving down a highway. BUT.. The Jedidiah Smith Redwood State Park was AWESOME!Several great short hikes also.. this is a must see I think if you want to see trees! Ladybird Johnson Grove as Southwest Dave suggests was AWESOME! Along with Prairie Creek Redwood SP. this can all be done on route to where you are going or stop and spend the night in area. The Yurts in Oregon SP look amazing if you don't want to set up your tent. Battery Point Lighthouse ( find out when the tide is out first) in Crescent City .. when tide is out you can walk out to Lighthouse, very cool and they take you up into the top of lighthouse. Worth the stop also! I think to miss this area would be a big mistake, personally it was the highlight of that portion of our trip. Also wondering as Southwest Dave, why going back inland to Wolf Creek area? For way home.. after Vegas, we usually fly home also lol ( I mean do all our sightseeing on way down south and then just get home! Vegas- Jackpot NV ( Cactus Pete's is nice place to stay) long drive day and then could make it to Calgary BUT another really long drive day. If you do go thru Great Basin NP( do the cave tour) well worth the stop! Enjoy and post after your trip so people have idea of what you liked and didn't like.

  9. #9

    Default

    I agree also that the route from Twin Falls to Missoula(93) is a nice drive with a stop at Craters of Moon.

  10. #10

    Default

    We camped at Fernwood Resort near Big Sur ( Bixby Bridge) if it is open. Very nice! looks like it is open but not sure.

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