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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Sarasota, Florida

    Default 5 days to drive PCH from Olympic to Morro Bay - enough?

    I'm in the midst of planning The Big Trip Out West, and the heart of it is driving the Pacific Coast Highway from the vicinity of Olympic National Park to Morro Bay. I've alloted 5 days for that. Sure, more would be better but we're pressed for time as it is (it's a long ways from St. Petersburg to Olympic). We like to drive and watch the road go by, not go to "attractions", but of course we will want to stop for photo ops &tc. Thoughts by those more familiar with this trip? Will this be enough time or do we need to shorten our goals?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Go for it!

    Yes, it's possible. But you might be in for some long driving days. Of course, this can be part of the fun, too, right?

    There's so many fascinating things to see and do along the coast. Since you're not into "attractions", I'll list a few great attractions from nature:

    * Cape Flattery on the Makah reservation (the farthest NW point in the continental US). And it's a breath-taking short hike.
    * Hall of Mosses in the Hoh area just south of Forks, WA
    * Ruby Beach, just north of Kalaloch (about 1/2 hour south of Forks)
    * Kalaloch...another beautiful beach
    * Lake Quinault: lots of wonderful hiking trails, some quite short but still breathtaking, and a few interpretive walks. The drive around the lake takes about an hour and is gorgeous.
    * Take the Moclips highway, just south of Lake Quinault and the "town" of Neilton, and head over to the coast. Some breath-taking scenic views and several places where you can drive down onto the beach. Beach driving can be fun but watch out for soft sand! Roosevelt Beach is one of my favorites.
    * When you go through Aberdeen, WA, go to Westport and follow the coast down to the Raymond/South Bend area instead of going straight south on 101. More breathtaking views. Westport is a lovely, little fishing village with a fun marina to walk around to check out the fishing boats. Nice lighthouse. There are a few places along the way to Westport where you will see boggy fields with dead snags. These are some of the geological features which intrigued geologists who wondered about the changes in topography that led to this phenomenon and led to the research which resulted in our knowledge of the Cascadia Plate and the devestating earthquakes and tsunamis that have rocked this area about every 300-500 years. Interesting stuff.
    * Ask for directions to Washaway Beach which is about a 1/2 hour south of Westport. The building of jetties at Westport and other man-made changes to our coast, including some things done at the mouth of the Columbia River, have resulted in a change in where silt from the rivers deposits and other changes that I don't understand. This has resulted in the ocean literally eating away at this area. Many acres of land have been "washed away". Homes have been lost. The road that used to go along this part of the coast just ends. FEMA will no longer reimburse property owners for their losses. It's really been quite devestating but it's interesting to see.
    * Tokeland area and the Shoalwater Indian Reservation. Very pretty. Fun to drive down to the cannery. Just real pretty.
    * The sloughs and wetlands between Raymond/South Bend and the Long Beach Peninsula are quite pretty to drive through.
    * The Long Beach Peninsula has many interesting little areas. I especially like Oysterville. It's worth a side-trip if you have time.
    * The bridge that crosses the Columbia River from Washington to Oregon into Astoria is a great drive. I love the way it's low to the water. You almost feel like you're driving right on the water and it's about 5 miles long.

    The entire Oregon Coast is gorgeous and there are numerous lighthouses that are worth a looksee. Some highlights:
    * Tillamook Cheese Factory
    * Devil's Punchbowl
    * Depoe Bay (the smallest harbor in the world)
    * Oregon Dunes NRA
    Gosh, I'm leaving lots of Oregon stuff out but the whole coastline drive is awesome. You'll love it.

    I haven't been on the California part in years so I'll only point out that the Redwood NF is worth a drive-thru. Amazing. Eureka, CA, has awesome architecture.

    You will have a terrific time. Just drive careful on these curvy roads and try to actually keep your eyes on the road and off the great scenery so you don't run off the road. Believe me, the views are breath-taking and that can be hard to do.

  3. Default

    5 days is probably cutting it pretty close but if you do go you'll love the views! In California, Crescent City is a cool little town, it has a great old lighthouse and is right next to Del Norte state park which has some great hiking trails through the forest and down to the beach. You'll also want to stop in Fort Bragg, it's kind of a tourist trap but has some great seafood restuarants and little shops.

    Also FYI portions of Hwy 1 have been closed due to heavy rain and roads breaking up. That might put a snag in your plans.

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