Any hiking suggestions for short Oregon road trip?
Replies: 32 - Last Post: Nov 7, 2013 10:48 AM Last Post By: willysnoutredux
Aug 4, 2013 3:09 PM
Any hiking suggestions for short Oregon road trip?Hi all,
My wife and I are planning a road trip in Oregon later this month and I was hoping for a couple of tips. Unfortunately, we're a little short of time, leaving from the Bay Area on Monday 19th and due to arrive in Portland the Friday evening. We're interested in taking in scenic drives and getting in several short hikes (1-3hours).Based on the travel guides we've read so far we were thinking about the following schedule:
- Leave Berkeley Monday and head up the I5 to Mount Shasta (we've been to California before so given the abbreviated timeframe have decided to focus on Oregon)
- Tuesday morning hike around Shasta area and then drive to Ashland, OR in the afternoon.
- Wednesday get up early and drive to Crater Lake. Hike for a couple of hours and then drive up to Bend.
- Thursday hiking relatively local to Bend. Possibly around Cascade Lake.
- Friday leave Bend and head towards Portland via Silver Falls for more hiking. Arrive in Portland in the evening.
Based on this, here's a couple of questions:
1) How does the overall schedule sound? I'm the sole driver and I'm a little concerned about some of the longer drives. In particular, we're a bit worried that there won't be enough time to take in Crater Lake (we're originally planned to stop off there but there doesn't seem to be any decent accommodation that isn;t booked up). Is it possible to do this in a day?
2) Can anyone suggest any good trails of this sort of length in these locations?
Aug 4, 2013 4:00 PM
1Unless the night & a play in Ashland is a must ... From Shasta, go into K. Falls on the 97... Drive up to Crater Lake and on to Bend... Watch that speed! Continue up to Mt Hood then,down to hood River and the Columbia Gorge...Following the I-84 into Edgefield & the unique McMenamins for a meal & perhaps a overnight stay...Hikes,are where you park the heap & start walking in the woods ... carracar
Aug 4, 2013 6:36 PM
2I'm sorry but I have to be honest, SF to I-5 and up to Shasta for hiking blows, if you have a few days fine, otherwise it's not worth it,. Just drive to Weed and get a motel and then follow Caracar's advice.
I would recommend driving up the coast and cutting over at Crescent City, that would be 2 days I'm not sure you have the time or the want.
Aug 4, 2013 7:35 PM
3Instead of going to Portland from Bend via Silver Falls, I'd recommend driving through Madras and then to Hood River over the eastern flank of Mt. Hood by Government Camp and Timberline Lodge (itself worth a stop). Once in Hood River, you are in the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area and 45-minutes drive from Portland. Between Hood river and Portland there are many short hikes up fern-lined canyons, waterfalls and all of this along the Columbia River.
Aug 5, 2013 1:52 PM
Aug 5, 2013 2:12 PM
5Thanks for all your suggestions - I think we'll definitely try to include the Columbia River Gorge based on these suggestions.
Not super firm on Shasta. We're from the UK and I stayed up there for a couple of days one winter with friends and thought it'd be interesting to see it In the summer as it was on route. Bit surprised that everyone seems pretty universally down on it though - is there an alternative you'd suggest for this part of the journey. We can't add more days in - have a wedding in Berkeley on the Sunday and have to be in portland on the Friday. What do you all suggest?
Aug 5, 2013 5:26 PM
Aug 5, 2013 7:35 PM
Aug 6, 2013 1:31 PM
Aug 6, 2013 3:00 PM
9Hermosajoe - we just felt that we'd like to focus on Oregon on this trip seeing as we don't have a great deal of time and we were keen to see Crater Lake our choice to head inland is based on that alone. Also we've already done highway 1 from Marin to LA on our last trip so we thought we'd try something different. We've no love for the I5 but just wanted to get up north without too much driving. By British standards a 4 and a half hour drive is a long one as it is!
Willysnoutredux - We're pretty flexible on Monday. We were thinking we might stay in Berkeley for brunch but its not set in stone. What were you thinking?
Aug 6, 2013 6:56 PM
10If it were my trip, I'd drive up U.S. 101 through the redwoods and stay somewhere near Gold Beach, Oregon. (I know this is quite possible, because I have friends in Berkeley and once did exactly what I've just suggested. But I was on the road by 9 a.m.) You'll have time to take a detour through the big redwood parks. Your "brief hike" stop should be at Jedidah Smith state park near Crescent City. It's less visited, and in my opinion the best spot to get out and walk around for an hour.
On Tuesday, drive up to Bandon, Oregon and take Oregon Hwy. 42 over to Roseburg, and then keep going over to Crater Lake. Leave Gold Beach by 9 a.m., and you'll be at Crater Lake by 2 p.m. for a late lunch at the lodge there. Hang out around the lake for a couple hours, and then drive up to Bend.
On Wednesday, drive up to Newberry Crater and Paulina Peak. It's fantastic this time of year, and there are plenty of great hikes. Spend Wednesday night in Bend.
On Thursday, you can have that brunch, and leave Bend at 10 or 11 a.m., and drive up to Timberline Lodge and stay there. Very beautiful spot. Kinda spendy, so if you're budget constrained you can pop in there and spend several hours, then come back down the mountain and proceed to Hood River, where there's a wider variety of lodging.
On Friday, you start out from either Timberline or Hood River and drive to Portland. This is a short drive (only 65 miles), although Portland's rush hour will add some time. There are hikes along the way. You'll probably want to stop at Multnomah Falls, and you're going to want to find "historic U.S. Hwy. 30" and stop at the iconic Columbia River overlooks along the way.
I've been to all of these places, and to Mt Shasta, and I think what I suggest would be a far more satisfying trip than your original plan. The one thing I need to say is that you should make reservations in advance, because this is the high season. Timberline, in particular, might be fully booked. If you'd like specific lodging ideas, give a target price in dollars (numbers, not adjectives), and your maximum pain threshhold, and I might have some ideas for you.
HAVE A GREAT TRIP
Aug 6, 2013 8:31 PM
11First I have nothing against Shasta, it's just there is soo many better places to go and hike. Willy's route is most excellent but it's a long one on some very slow roads.
The route north, up 101 and then along the coast to Oregon is much better than SF to LA, IMO.
I would head up 101 to Crescent City, stay the night.
Next morning hit Jedidah Smith St. Prk., best redwoods IMO then Grants Pass and on to Klamath Falls, second night.
Drive to Crater Lake, have lunch/picnic and then on to Bend, 3rd night. From Bend it's only 3-4 hours to Portland depending on your route,
You still have 1 night to play with.
Aug 7, 2013 10:34 AM
12There are two ways to get from the coast to Crater Lake. You either go through Gold Beach and then Bandon as I've suggested, or you can cut about 100 miles (a couple of hours) off the drive by using U.S. 199 from Crescent City, as hermosajoe suggests. I'll lay out the differences below.
The "driving dynamics," if you will, are pretty much the same. If you go through Gold Beach, you'll drive 50 miles more on the first day and 50 miles more on the second day. As a practical matter, you ought to have plenty of time for the longer drive. Gold Beach is a much more pleasant place to spend the night than the relatively charmless Crescent City, and the drive from Gold Beach to Bandon and Oregon Hwy. 42 is pleasant in several places. And you can easily stop for breakfast at Griffs on the Dock, an atmospheric little place in Port Orford, an atmospheric little fishing hamlet about 25 miles north of Gold Beach.
If you're on a tight budget, or if you want to spend a lot of time at Jedidiah Smith redwood park, or if you plan to spend more than a couple hours at Crater Lake the next day (perhaps hiking), then Crescent City and hermosajoe's route might be better, although you will miss some nice coastal views on the way to Bandon. The town of Crescent City, while not my favorite, is far from awful, and there are more hotels at the lower end of the range. Try the Curly Redwood Lodge, which I'd expect to set you back $70 or so. The woodwork is shellacked to within an inch of its life, but all of it comes from a single redwood tree. The vibe is "1958 motor inn," but everything's clean and in working order.
In Gold Beach, there are some nicer higher-end places. The star of the show is Tu Tu Tun, which I think is the nicest place on the Pacific Coast anywhere north of Mendicino. If you want to stay there, bring your American Express card, 'cause it's expensive. And an advance booking is going to be quite necessary, because they're often full. There are other great places in Gold Beach for less money; I liked Irelands Rustic Lodges a lot.
One more thing about hermosajoe's recommendation. He advises you to stay in Klamath Falls, Oregon. I couldn't disagree more. Unless you wind up spending much more time in Jedidiah Smith redwood park than I expect (or would do myself), I can't see why you couldn't easily make it to Bend (or Sunriver -- see below) the next day, including the stop at Crater Lake, and even if you spend several hours hiking there. It's simply not very far from Crescent City to Bend the shorter way (275 miles). You'll be driving in wide open country on good roads, not those narrow little nerve-wrackers back where you're from. "K Falls," as its known by the locals, looks kind of like the aftermath of a lumberjack's indigestion. It's a place to stay only if you have to.
So you know, OP, I have been at all of the places I've mentioned in this thread, most of them a bunch of times, with one exception: I have not yet driven U.S. 199 from Crescent City, CA to Grants Pass, OR, the route that hermosajoe suggested. However, I've been told by someone even more familiar with that part of the country than I am that U.S. 199 is a nice road. Oregon 42 from Bandon inland is also a nice road. My source said that both roads are about equal when it comes to the quality of the drive and the scenery.
As it concerns Bend, OR, I think the town is nice enough but has become somewhat overrated in recent years, so let me explain it to you.
Thirty years or so ago, Bend was a pleasant little cowtown of 20,000 people with a ski operation on nearby Mt. Bachelor. Then it was suddenly discovered by Californians, who developed the place. Now there are 100,000 people in the area, the usual boutiques downtown, and the Deschutes brewery, which makes (arguably, and they do argue) the best craft beer in the Pacific Northwest. The word spread, and the hipsters have moved in, and the New York Times has written some articles.
If you stay in Bend, the best place is the Oxford Hotel. Stick a hook on it, drop it in London, and it'd be a boutique hotel at $1,000 a night. Even in Bend, it'll be expensive. I got an absolute rock-bottom bargain there one night, but I was in the off-seasonest part of the off-season, and back when the financial crisis was in full swing. If you're on a tight budget, there are the usual chain places, and staying in one of them will introduce you to the flip side of all that growth I mentioned: Strip-mall Bend. Have fun.
An alternative is Sunriver Resort in the Sunriver development about 15 miles or so south of town. It's closer to Crater Lake, where you'll be coming from, and closer to Newberry Crater, which I very enthusiastically recommend you spend a day hiking around. The restaurant is quite good. But it's one of those golf resorts. Very nice -- beautiful, in fact -- but no urbanista hipster cred at all. But it's close enough to Bend that you could drive to town for your hipster fix and stay at Sunriver.
If it were my trip, it'd boil down to price. If I could get a room at the Oxford Hotel for the same price as Sunriver, I'd choose the hotel, because it's just great. But I suspect Sunriver would be significantly cheaper, and it's plenty nice too, just in a different way. (My Expedia search showed $325-$350 for Oxford vs. $229 for Sunriver, inclusive of all taxes and fees.) If you're on a tighter budget, then a chain place in Bend for $70 to $100 a night. You'll survive just fine, but without a lot of charm. As for the Deschutes Brewery, they run tours every day, and they have a brew pub downtown with decent food and all their products on tap.
HAVE A GREAT TRIP
Aug 7, 2013 1:39 PM
13Nice detail by willy and agree pretty much with everything. Just looking at the 4 1/2 days.
I think Gold Beach is nicer to stay than Crescent City and it's on the beautiful Rogue River, you can do a jet boat trip, maybe some Salmon fishing, several lodging options, from very expensive to a motel 6.
The stay night in CC is for Jedidiah Smith, figure half day hiking, it's an incredible area and on to Klamath Falls, which I agree is no great shakes, just a place to stay but it's an interesting old western town and different scenery, not a ton of options in that area. Easy drive in the morning to Crater Lake.
Other options would be Grants Pass, very short drive and the town blows but you could get a nice cabin on the Rogue river, the other would be Medford.
Hwy. 199 vs Hwy. 42, 199 is shorter and an easier road and a very pretty drive through a canyon, 42 is nice but not as pretty imo and more winding and slower, just depends on what you want.
I could not agree more with Bend, I skied Bachelor in the 80's and really liked Bend, now it's just a drive by for me but again a place to stay, if you want smaller but still somewhat hipster/touristy go to Sister's about an hour north, Redmond's not bad.
If you decide on the Sister's area the drive on Hwy. 242 is outstanding and goes by some large lava beds and has some nice trails.
You will enjoy your trip no matter which way you decide, have fun!
Aug 7, 2013 2:06 PM
14I've been wanting to take U.S. 199 sometime. It's just never worked out, always for some logistical reason. In my recommendations to the OP, I tried to accommodate the brevity of their trip and not give, for example, my typical recommendation to go to Fossil and Wheeler County. They just don't have the time for it. The Rogue River stuff is great, and I do like Sisters, although I don't think it's a destination except when the rodeo is on in mid June. And it'd be a detour if they wind up following my suggestion to head up to Timberline or Hood River after Bend.
What I really think would be the star of the show on this trip, if they do it, would be going up to Newberry Crater and Paulina Peak and spending the day hiking. Remember, they're traveling this month, the very best time to be there. The weather will be great; the snow is melted off the road; the views will be awesome. (By the way, the moon will be full the week you're traveling, OP. Might be worth heading back up to Paulina Lake or East Lake after dinner to see the moon up there. I stayed in a cabin for a few days when the moon was full, and even though it screwed up our star gazing it was still memorable.) Anyway, I think Newberry/Paulina is where they ought to focus when it comes to a hiking plan. I liked Jedidiah Smith park quite a bit, but there are redwood groves in Marin County. There isn't anything like Newberry Crater down there. And I'm kinda skeptical about recommending a cabin somewhere other than Sunriver, because in my experience cabins are no fun if you stay just one night.
As for Hwy. 42, since I haven't been on U.S. 199 I can't compare the winding-ness (is that a word?) of the two, but I've always thought Hwy, 42 was a good road. Lots of it is four lanes, and I don't recall much of any of it as being slow, although maybe I'm airbrushing out parts of it in my mind. I've always considered Hwy. 42 to be the best route between the coast and I-5 in Oregon, apart from U.S. 199 which I haven't been on.
Finally, after this colloquy wuth hermosajoe, I decided I needed to run a reality check in case I was digging in my heels to defend "my idea." So I asked my Oregon source again about Hwy. 42 versus U.S. 199, just as roads, and asked what he thinks is a preferable route, Crescent City to Crater Lake and Bend via Grant's Pass (Hwy 199) or via Bandon and Roseburg (Hwy. 42). I also asked what he thought about my Paulina Peak recommendation.
I've driven in all but three counties of Oregon, most of it multiple times, but my sounding board is an Oregon native who will forget more about the state than I will ever know. If there's anyone who knows evey square foot of Oregon, he's the guy. He likes U.S. 199, says it's a pretty road. But he says U.S. 199 is twistier and slower than Oregon 42, which he thinks is the superior road of the two. He pointed out, as I did (and without prompting by me), that a drive up U.S. 199 from Crescent City would miss the southern Oregon coast, which most people who've been along the Oregon coast would say is the best part of the coastline. hermosajoe, none of this is to slam your recommendations, and OP, if you follow hermosajoe's route you'll have a nice time. (As long as you skip K Falls, which my source chuckled at as a place to stay.) When I mentioned Paulina Peak, he said, "Ooooh, yeah."
My sounding board also likes Sisters, but in the context of this trip he says it'd be better to stay in Bend or Sunriver, and go up to Paulina the next day. Paulina is really something, and it's often blocked in by bad weather or not-yet-melted snow on the road to the peak. OP, now's your chance to go up there. Don't miss it.
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