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  1. Default Need Help Planning Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon road trip in DECEMBER

    We are planning to drive north from LA right after Christmas. We've got 7 or 8 days. We're keen to experience Portland but also see redwoods and explore the gorgeous coastline. Has anyone done this drive in winter? Will there be snow? We plan to take Highway 1 for at least part of the trip - heading inland for forests (do we do Yosemite? Are there other parks that are better at this time of year?) Also any tips on accommodation would be hugely appreciated. We've got two teens, we like to hike and love a well-priced hotel. And we are huge fans of diners. We also aren't skiers but like the snow (as much as any expat Aussies living LA like snow - we have ZERO gear!)

    Any tips for planning this trip would be much appreciated.


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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm assuming that you'll be doing this as a round trip, returning to LA after getting to Portland?

    While a week is enough time to make this trip, it's actually not a lot of time for it. It takes close to 2 full days on the Interstates just to drive from LA to Portland, assuming good conditions. If you start zig-zagging between inland attractions and the coast, you're going to end up spending all of your time driving, and won't end up with any time to actually see anything!

    What I would probably do is plan to drive straight to Portland on I-5, spend 1 night somewhere along the road, 2 nights in Portland, and then spend the rest of your time making your way down the coast back to LA.

    It is very unlikely that you'd see any snow near the coast, but tt is nearly a certainty there will be snow on the ground over the mountain stretches of your drive on I-5, but it's also impossible to say if there will be any falling snow that impacts your drive. What you could do is watch the forecast just before you leave, and if it looks like there will be snow that impacts travel on I-5, you could reverse your trip, head up the coast first, and then hope that the weather is better by the time you start making your way back to LA.

    Yosemite is a great place, and can be fun to explore in winter, but I don't think you really have time for it this trip, and would be better off saving it for when you have a long weekend available in the future.

  3. #3


    I done winter trip of OCH. The Oregon coast has its own scenic views not same as California PCH in IMHO. Anyway it's fun ride. I recommend take I5 to Portland and to Astoria OR. Astoria down to northern California via OCH 101 be more suitable as pullovers are on your right side makes it easy to exit and enter HWY 101 OCH. It's busy highway with many small coastal towns hence good options for food/Inn services along the way.

    As far as snow goes. There are more possibilities of snow/ice in northern part of Oregon state including but it can snow anywhere at any time in winter on that route.

    Yosemite from PCH is good 1 day drive so you will likely spend two to three days for that detour.

    As far as the hotel, Seaside OR has resorts, golf courses and likely good dinner places.

    If you like homely dinner there are some "Outback Statehouse" in Portland area but none on OCH.

  4. Default

    This is super helpful - thanks so much! Yes - we are making a loop. I like the idea of getting straight to Portland and hanging out there for a few days. Looks like such a fun city. And then meandering back...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks jm98!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    I would agree with Michael and also point out why you should drive the coast road heading south and not north. It will put the ocean and many of it's scenic pull outs on your side of the road.
    Save some time to see the coastal Redwoods with a drive along both the Newton B Drury scenic parkway through Prairie creek and the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt State park. You can also get some great views of San Fran and the Golden Gate from the north side of bridge.

    You'll need to know what's happening with the issues around Big Sur.

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