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Help with Northwest road trip itinerary

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Help with Northwest road trip itinerary

Looking to take about a 10-11 day road trip next September, flying in and out of Seattle. Want to see/experience as many of the highlights and national parks as possible in the area for sure including Olympic, Crater Lake, Mount Rainier, Oregon shoreline, and possibly Redwood. Used to lots of driving and staying busy. Love hiking trails-not so much backcountry. Plan to rent a vehicle and tent camp(hope to borrow equipment from local relatives). Two adults, no kids. Looking for the best route and any help with itinerary is much appreciated. Thanks.

Wednesbury, UK
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1. Re: Help with Northwest road trip itinerary


You could do a sort of coast, inland loop but it will be quite quick. Are you spending any of those days in Seattle or is it just a entry exit point? I'll assume you do, so:

1. Seattle.

2 -3 Olympic NP.

4. Drive down Washington Coast, stay around Cannon Beach.

5. Drive down Oregon coast, stay around Florence.

6. Drive to Crescent City area for Redwoods NP.

7. Redwoods NP.

8. Inland to Crater Lake.

9. North to Portland Area, can quickly tour some of Columbia River gorge, east to west that day.

10. To Mount Rainier, via Mt StHelens.

11. To Seattle.

That is a very quick trip, but but I have done this once at that pace ( over two trips) and saw plenty. Obviously, camping opens up the possibility to stay in the National and State parks, so may maximise your time there. Anyway, just an idea to get you started.

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2. Re: Help with Northwest road trip itinerary

I think both your & Val's plan are overly ambitious for 11 days with camping. You will be setting up & breaking camp almost every day.

Normally when I see posts looking to cover all three west coast states in 2 weeks or so, I suggest dropping one state. If your going to camp, I'd say drop 2 states & enjoy Washington. (Though you might drop into northern Oregon for Columbia River Gorge.)

Wednesbury, UK
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3. Re: Help with Northwest road trip itinerary


You could well be right! We are no campers and that's why you would not catch us in an RV either, and it is an aggressive trip I set out no doubt, depends on travel style as always.

Chula Vista...
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4. Re: Help with Northwest road trip itinerary

Hi Mayajean1

I tend to agree with DAM on this one... Especially if you're camping in a tent. (I tent camped from Chicago to Alaska and taking the dew-laden tent down every morning was a chore. I didn't want to roll it up wet, so I layed it out flat in the back of my SUV to dry out as I drove. By the end of that 70-day adventure, I gave up on the tent and started getting cheap motels.)

Here's a sample route that may work for you:


Day 1 - Seattle to Mt. Rainier

Day 2 - All day Mt. Rainier

Day 3 - Mt. Rainier to Mt. Hood (via Mt. St. Helen)

Day 4 - Mt. Hood

Day 5 - Mt. Hood to Tillamook via Columbia River Valley; stop at Mulnomah Falls en route; visit Tillamook cheese factory(?).

Day 6 - Tillamook to Cape Disappointment; stop at Haystack Rock near Cannon Beach and Astoria en route.

Day 7 - Cape Disappointment (Where Lewis and Clark first set eyes on the Pacific Ocean. There's a L&C interpretive center and the replica of Ft. Clatsop, where L&C wintered over. Ft. Clatsop is on the OR side of the Columbia, though.)

Day 8 - Cape Disappointment to Olympic NP

Day 9 - Olympic NP

Day 10 - Olympic NP to Seattle.

Most of those legs have 3-5 hour driving times, so that will allow you to pull over and sightsee or take a spontaneous hike if you see something you like.

You could skip Mt. St. Helen or Mt. Hood (pick one or the other), but definitely drive the Columbia River Valley on the Oregon side from about where Mt. Hood is, west.

Remember, too, that national forests and state parks have some really good campgrounds and hiking--you don't always have to be in a national park.

Enjoy your planning.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Help with Northwest road trip itinerary

Another vote for allowing some time for the set up/take down of camp, which can take a bit of time. You really need to have two nights anywhere - one day to drive and set up, one day to tour around and see the place, then the next day you break camp and drive on to set up again. Keeping to 5-6 hours of driving on a driving day keeps everything manageable.

Oregon Coast
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6. Re: Help with Northwest road trip itinerary

I would suggest you also post on the Washington and Oregon forums :-)

You can find them here - click on the blue link below:


Olympic NP is not just a "drive through" and it takes more than a day to see it. Crater Lake is not near anything as it's a solid five hour drive one way from Portland. The redwoods are in far northwest California and are worth a few days just there!

I'm also thinking you are trying to fit in too much.

7. Re: Help with Northwest road trip itinerary

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