We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Highway 101: North or South? Best stretch?

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
126 posts
9 reviews
Save Topic
Highway 101: North or South? Best stretch?

Hi there, I have been sifting through the forums to get a sense of the best parts of highway 101 to drive and if one way is better than the other. Any thoughts?

I am looking at traveling from Portland to Crater Lake (4-5 hours?) and will overnight at Crater Lake.

Next day will head to Crescent City (3.5-4 hours?) for a couple nights before heading up the coast. Will have one overnight (I am thinking Florence possibly) along the coast. Would like to experience highway 101, but what is the most efficient way to do so? If I drive a certain stretch for a few hours and stop somewhere neat for lunch and then hop onto another highway that would help with my limited timeframe, then that would be preferred.

Thanks for any input!

Eugene, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Eugene, Springfield
Level Contributor
7,840 posts
185 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Highway 101: North or South? Best stretch?

When will you be doing this? How many total days do you have? And will you looping back to Portland? Are you counting the day you fly out, or will you be staying one more night in Portland before catching an a.m. flight?

I know, lots of questions. Here are a couple more? Do you already have reservations at Crater Lake Lodge? Why stay two nights in Crescent City? I think one night should do it and then spend a couple of nights along the Oregon Coast (Yachats or Newport and then maybe Cape Kiwanda/Pacific City or Manzanita). From there it's and easy drive back to PDX.

Again, I'll get back to WHEN...because Crater Lake Lodge won't be open for a few months and the snow won't be gone until sometime in July.

Florence, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Oregon Coast
Level Contributor
6,013 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Highway 101: North or South? Best stretch?

Answers to o'poppa's questions will help greatly. In the meantime, let me offer this for consideration:

The coast is much better viewed, not to mention it's safer, driven north to south. This is not to say no one should drive hwy 101 south to north because that would be inconveinent to say the least!! Given this, you might consider reversing your route and hit the coast first, then over to Crater Lake.

As for the "best parts of hwy 101", as in life, that's a personal thing, but few will disagree that there are three separate sections that merrit seeing above all others, those being 1) Cannon Beach to Manzanita; 2) Yachats to Florence; 3) Port Orford to Brookings.

Oregon
Level Contributor
8,735 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Highway 101: North or South? Best stretch?

I agree with Dengay. go south on coast. And e does list the three best, though I like to add Depoe Bay to Yachats

Renton, WA
Level Contributor
3,823 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Highway 101: North or South? Best stretch?

"Another highway" does not exist, if you are driving the coast.

Eugene, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Eugene, Springfield
Level Contributor
7,840 posts
185 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Highway 101: North or South? Best stretch?

I'm pretty sure the other highway Ashley was thinking about was one whiich would take her back from the coast to I-5 for a quicker return to PDX. Lots of opinions and options on that also if she doesn't do the entire coast.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
126 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Highway 101: North or South? Best stretch?

Ok great, this is all really helpful. I am flying in and out of Portland. This trip will be in early August. I know I need to book Crater Lake Lodge ASAP that is why I am trying to nail down this part of my plans. Your advice really helps with that.

I am essentially flying into Portland and allowing 4 and a half days to spend a night at Crater Lake, two nights in Crescent City (I wanted at least one full day to explore Redwood NP, is two nights really too much?), and one night along the coast. I was thinking Florence for that night; just because it seems like a good stopping point before moving into Washington for the first night of three in Olympic National Park. This is part of a longer road trip, but was looking for advice from the Oregon experts for the stretch through that area :).

So it seems I have two options for Highway 101. I can stick with my original plan, but I would be driving South to North, or I can head from Portland straight onto Highway 101 to head South all the way down to Crescent City (2 nights). Then I would head up to Crater Lake for one night. Based on the three stretches of Highway 101 recommened, that would allow me to see two of them. Cannon Beach to Mazanita is North of Portland so I would miss that. Also with the second option the driving distances are broken up more unevenly and I don't like that as much. Hmm, what do you think?

Thanks!

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
126 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Highway 101: North or South? Best stretch?

Option 1:

1- Portland to Crater Lake (4-5 hours?)- overnight at Crater Lake

2- Crater Lake to Crescent City (3.5-4 hours?)- overnight in Crescent City

3- Redwood National Park- overnight in Crescent City

4- Drive up Highway 101 South to North. Overnight in Florence.

5- Florence to wherever our first night will be for the beginning of 3 days at Olympic NP.

Option 2:

1- Portland to Crescent City- this would be way too long for one day via Highway 101 it seems. Am I right? Overnight somewhere along the way?

2- Finish drive to Crescent City

3- Redwood NP

4- Crescent City to Crater Lake (3.5-4 hours)

5- Crater Lake to Olympic NP area (I need to pick the spot for the first night but this would be a very long drive-- at least 8 hours if not more. If we left early it would be doable with a nice lunch stop I suppose.

If option 2 is really that much better I would prefer to drive from Portland to Crescent city the whole way on day 1, but that would not be a good idea after a flight from Chicago. I think it would have to be split up as I listed it.

Oregon
Level Contributor
8,735 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Highway 101: North or South? Best stretch?

If you have to do ONP after the Oreg coast then you should go north.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
126 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Highway 101: North or South? Best stretch?

Now that you put it that way I guess I don't! Reversing the entire route, not just the Oregon portion, didn't cross my mind for some reason. That might not be a bad idea.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
42,885 posts
1,049 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Highway 101: North or South? Best stretch?

>> Portland to Crescent City- this would be way too long for one day via Highway 101 it seems. Am I right? <<

Yes indeed you are! Especially after a several hour flight.

Play around with reversing the whole trip and let us see how that looks on paper...

Get answers to your questions about Oregon Coast