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  1. Default San Fran to Seattle Road Trip

    Hi, we will be flying to San Fran from UK on June 17th and flying back home to UK from Seattle on July 3rd. We will be hiring a car for the road trip. We have made reservation for two nights at Crater Lake arriving June 22nd. Would appreciate suggested scenic itinerary for routes taking in lakes, forest and Oregon coast and Maybe Portland. We have been to San Fran before a couple of years ago, and did Alcatraz when we did a road trip from there down to San Diego, so won’t need to do that again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default So much to see.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Have you booked your flights ? I only ask as this makes a wonderful loop trip taking in the Cascade range on the way north and the coast heading back south, putting the ocean on your side of the road. If you are locked in as you are then you will have to pick and choose between coast and mountains and maybe zig zag a bit on the way to Seattle. You have a lot of great options and you won't be disappointed with any of them, it's just a case of what appeals to you the most. On an inland route you could start of in Yosemite then Lake Tahoe, Lassen Volcanic NP, Burney Falls and Crater Lake. From Crater Lake you could head through Mt Hood National Forest (Lost lake resort?) to Hood river and then follow the Historic Columbia river Gorge into Portland. On route to Seattle you could detour to Mt St Helens and Mt Rainier NP and you could even head further to the North Cascades NP. Along the coast from SF you first have the Golden Gate bridge and the Marin headlands with great views of the bridge and SF, weather permitting. As you head north you will pass Point Reyes National Seashore, Bodega Bay, Fort Ross, Port Arena and many more as you head towards the Redwoods in Humboldt (Avenue of the Giants) and the Redwoods National/State parks with areas like the Ladybird Johnson grove and the Newton B Drury scenic parkway in Prairie Creek. Then you would head towards Crater Lake from Crescent city and then decide to head back to the many features of the Oregon coast and perhaps to Olympic NP, or continue inland. Of course you can mix it all up to suit you, so take a look at your options and when you have your first go at an itinerary sorted we can look over it and help with details and offer a few 'tweaks'.

    Even if you are not doing a loop, you may find this trip report helpful as it covers a lot of the places mentioned above, once you get to the Lake Tahoe part.

  3. Default

    Thank you for your suggestions. We are tied in to our flights. We’ve done Yosemite before a couple of years ago on our last road trip. The coastal route up to Crescent then detour to Crater Lake sounds like a good plan. We just need to work out time and distances to decide on where to stay and for how long. We don’t mind zig zagging inland and back to coast as long as it’s scenic routes. I’ll check out the link for inspiration too :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    A couple things to keep in mind:

    First, while you may not mind zig-zagging, from a practical perspective, you're going to need to minimize it just to avoid sucking away all of your time. For example, Crescent City to Crater Lake is a solid 4-5 hour drive - so if you go from the coast to crater lake, and back, you've used up at least a full day of your time just driving back and forth. Doing that once is no big deal, but if you try to do it a couple times, that starts to become a big part of your trip.

    Second, don't forget that summer comes very late in the mountains. There is a good chance that in late June only a portion of Crater Lake will be open. It's still worth visiting, but you may not be able to drive around the whole lake and many trails will likely still be closed. You could find similar restrictions in other mountain areas and parks, like Lassen Volcanic, if you were thinking of going there.

  5. Default

    Hi, thanks for advice. We’ve decided we’ll just head up and spend more time along the coast from SF with just the one detour to Crater Lake. Not sure if we’ll do Portland before Seattle and surrounding area. We’re still researching. Just read your blog. Enjoyed it, and very inspirational:)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A nice amount of time for exploring.

    You certainly have a nice amount of time to travel between SF and Seattle at a relaxed pace while having time to take some detours. The coast is beautiful all the way, but so is the Cascade Range and other inland atractions, so personally I would look at more than just Crater lake as a detour from the coast.

  7. Default

    Yes, we've realised we can do the coast and still have quite a few days left. Just have work out what are best detours. We've brought our Crater Lake stay forward to the 20th for two nights.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    Have you actually booked Crater Lake ? Although you will have enough time to arrive on the 20th if you leave SF on the 18th, it will be quite a tight schedule if you want to explore the coast and Redwoods at a relaxed pace. If you plan on resting in SF for a day and leave on the 19th then you really are pushed for time. I wouldn't panic on booking places until you have decided what you want to do and have a full itinerary laid out with a timeline. Crater Lake is close to half way to Seattle yet you are planning to arrive just 3 days into your trip, that could work if it fits in with the rest of your plans. I would start by listing places and see how you can make it with the time you have and at a pace you are happy with. More often than not the itinerary changes more than once. If you make a start and post up what you are thinking we can then help you 'fine tune' your trip and make alternative suggestions.

  9. Default

    We could change our Crater Lake reservation. We were planning on leaving SF morning of 18th and staying overnight somewhere around Mendacino. Then overnight Crescent City then to Crater Lake, but not set in stone. Its knowing best places to stop over and for how long.

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