San Fran to Portland, OR in early April
Has anyone ever driven the Trinity Scenic Byway (Hwy 209) in Northern California during the first few weeks of Spring?
Are the roads generally passable in the winter time, and if not, does the snow and ice tend to dissipate by then?
Also, if anyone has any other ideas for SHORT stops or other scenic drives between SF and Portland, OR, please let me know.
Angus, I looked at the CalTrans road conditions site and it shows this road as open today but with construction restrictions in a couple of places maybe. I drove it last year in May and had no problems, so based on these things, it looks like MAYBE this could be an "all-weather road." I didn't see anything on the Trinity County website that suggests it is subject to frequent closure because of weather. It is a pretty drive, but slow going, especially in the western stretches. There were some places where the roadway was single lane around hairpin turns! By the way, please watch for my cell phone along the shoulder -- it fell out somewhere on that road when I pulled off the road and got out of the truck. :)
For other scenic drives, the obvious answer is US101 Oregon coast -- but you might also find the Rogue River area to be a beautiful place. You can drive along the river from Gold Beach, on the coast, or get onto the upper stretches north of Grants Pass or northeast of Medford. Of course, almost anywhere you go in N CA or Oregon is going to be spectacular.
I couldn't find CA-209 anywhere -- but I have driven CA-299 several times and have kayaked portions of the Trinity River. It is awesome stretch of roadway ... and riverway.
On your way north -- if you are going to go by Mendocino -- take a few hours and ride the tidal surge upstream on the <a href = "http://www.stanfordinn.com/canoes.html">Big River</a>. It is a truly amazing experience -- about the time the paddling starts seeming like work, you simply turn the canoe around and ride the flow back to the sea and the launching dock. Just be forewarned, you gotta make that final eddy cut or the river's rush to the sea is going to make you burn some calories. There is nothing like the terror of meeting those Mendocino breakers unprepared! Plus the vegetarian fare at <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/eats/ravens.htm">the Ravens</a> (just up the hill from the canoe docks) may be the best in California.
It is 299 -- if I'm not mistaken CA209 is the scenic route in San Diego out to the end of Point Loma.
Thanks for your help so far.
We don't have much time for this drive. We're leaving from Oakland at 6 or so in the morning, and what we're really looking for is a scenic detour so we can get off
I-5 for a few hours. I've heard the stretch of road between Lassen and Crater Lake is pretty incredible, but we don't know how many hours it would add to an
If any of you have driven that "All American Road" before, or know of another scenic byway or the like, hit me with as many different ideas as possible.
It is an awesome road
County road 89 to US-97 to Oregon 62 and up into Crater Lake NP is truly awesome, but it is not a fast drive. Realistically, if you were start at Lassen NP and drive to Crater Lake NP it would take just about the entire day. There is a <a href = "http://www.volcaniclegacybyway.org/oneday_plan.html">great site</a> dedicated to this route.
I don't suppose you have time to explore Oregon's Outback region? <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/places/hot.htm">Summer Lake hotsprings</a> is a pretty cool get-away!
Back to the route... Portland -- How much time do you really have? The Oregon coast is really great and if I knew more about the time constraints I could toss in my two cents worth of sidetrip info.
We're willing to make them long days, but we only have a day to get up there, a day to spend at a wedding, and another day to get back here. We know it's a 10+ hour drive, but we're willing to make it more like 13-15 hours if we include a short stop or two.
Anything too far from I-5 isn't really going to work.
We're hoping that there are some good spots in the Shasta-Trinity Area or the like.
Short Stop is tricky
Much of your route is bisecting some serious mountains and it relatively hard to maintain highway speed on the smaller roads. That being said, I would say go for Crater Lake. There is not particularily fast way to reach it and even a slower route back to I-5 but it is a near-mystical place.
The views don't exactly strike people dumb, but close. I have witnessed folks stop chattering when they see Crater Lake for the first time.
Other than that, there are some good prospects for funny sign procurement in Weed, California...
We have never taken the time to stop at the Lake Shasta Caverns, but the trip across the lake and into the caverns might be a better match for your timetable.