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Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip:June 2012

Hayle, England...
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Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip:June 2012

Hi, my name's Dan and I'm from Cornwall in the UK.

I'm travelling to the states in June, I am flying to Seattle and then driving to San Francisco for the first part of my trip. I have come up with a long list of places to visit...after spending the first three nights in Seattle (visiting Vancouver and whale watching) my plans so far are as follows.

Day One: Olympic National Park, camping at Kalaloch

Day Two: Continue through the park to Mt Rainer

Day Three: Mt St Helen's, camping at Cannon Beach

Day Four: Drive down the coast to Bandon area

Day Five: Visit Crater Lake and camp

Day Six: Head back to the coast and camp (possibly near Redwood National Park)

Day Seven: Drive to San Francisco...hopefully with time to see the Redwoods on the way.

Before anyone says I know this is pushing things time wise and it will mean that I will only be getting a brief look at a lot of these places but I guess my thinking is that a quick impression is better than not seeing them at all. I'm not really looking to hike more than short trails as I will not have time. I guess I would just like to know if this is actually feasible based on the fact that I will be travelling by myself and am prepared for some very long days! Plus if anybody has any suggestions of things to see or good campsites in these areas I would be very appreciative.

Thanks

Eugene, Oregon
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1. Re: Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip:June 2012

>>I will only be getting a brief look at a lot of these places<<

In June, you may not even get that at some places unless you're very lucky. June is not summer yet in the Pacific Northwest and you could still run into rain and even snow in some places.

You're minimizing the distances and driving times...a dangerous combination, especailly going solo.

Hayle, England...
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2. Re: Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip:June 2012

Thanks for the advice...I am prepared to be flexible as I know that places like Hurricane Ridge and other parts of Olympic national park may be inaccessible due to the weather and will be checking this a lot closer to the time. Also I should have given specific dates...I will not be leaving Seattle until 25th June so I was hoping that by this time the weather should be a bit better. Which part of the trip would give you most cause for concern? I have tried to allow approx five hours of driving a day which would then allow plenty of times for hold ups or stops along the route.

Troutdale, Oregon
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3. Re: Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip:June 2012

Well, June 25th is sure better than early June. Almost to our July 4th Summer start. LOL

MrsO

Port Angeles, WA
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4. Re: Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip:June 2012

You really should heed Oregonpoppa's advice. First, I can tell you that you are wasting a lot of time by driving to Kalaloch from Seattle and then continuing "through the park" to Mt. Rainier the next day. You have a common misconception about Olympic National Park. It's not like other US national parks where you enter a park gate and then drive through beautiful scenery to reach your campsite. You don't drive through ONP. You drive around it. The road passes outside the park, and you enter the park itself at various points. Unfortunately, the road is not scenic, except in one or two places, neither of which you will pass. The southern route, which you will be taking, can be downright ugly as you pas through clear cuts, boring managed forests, and really unattractive, rundown little hamlets. You will see virtually of the park except for Kalaloch Beach, which is probably the least scenic beach in the park. Don't waste your time doing this. ONP is not a park that rewards drive bys. You need to spend time there and hike the magnificent trails, which you don't have time to do. My advice would be to get down to the Oregon coast as quickly as you can, avoiding ONP completely.

I love ONP, and if you had time to hike there, I would enthusiastically suggest places to see, but you could put your limited time to better use on this trip.

Oregon Coast
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5. Re: Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip:June 2012

Hi Dan and welcome to TripAdvisor. You sound as if you do realize the time/distance contraints here and intend to be flexible.

Do take kaleberg's comments to heart though - it would be a shame to waste some of your valuable time not seeing great scenery.

The northwest in general has beautiful scenery just about anywhere you go. You do not have to stay in National Parks or Forests to enjoy the benefits of great scenery!

I assume you are tent camping?

Camping at Cannon Beach - There are no campgrounds on or near the beach; the closest one is Sea Ranch. Be aware this is not a quiet, pristine campground - it's an old, old RV park (holiday caravan park) with tent spaces and also cabins. It's not too far from the beach, however. There is also Wright's for Camping that is in the woods, but not near the ocean.

Cannon Beach to Bandon in summer will take you about 6 hours driving time only without stops. Even though it stays light late (~ 2200), that's a really long way in one day with only one driver ... with not much time to stop and see things!

Crater Lake may still have snow. It's very likely it will. If you want to stay at Mazama campground, book well ahead. I'd suggest you be very flexible on this segment since CL may be socked in with clouds, rain or even snow. Check the CL website and call the phone number before heading up there.

There are lots of campgrounds in Redwood NP, both public and privately owned.

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip:June 2012

I agree with kaleberg - I have many wonderful memories of great trips to ONP, and none of them include much driving. It really is a hiker's park. And Rainier isn't even located in ONP.

If it's too snowy (or too full) to camp at Crater Lake, check out other campgrounds along Hwy 62 or Hwy 230, especially in the Union Creek area. As a last resort I guess you could go to Diamond Lake, but it's pretty far off your driving route.

We're having a "winter-y spring" after a mild "real" winter. This far in advance it's hard to tell how much snow you will encounter. But I have photos of my kids at the lodge in July, playing in the snow. So... be ready. Please. :-)

Oregon/Washington
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7. Re: Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip:June 2012

There is a small campground at Cannon Beach that many people don't even realize is there. It is in Ecola State Park and is a hikers camp, so you need to walk in a little bit to get there. It looks right down over the ocean, although it does sit up on the bluff so you are not down by the water. I like it because it is so quiet.

Hayle, England...
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8. Re: Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip:June 2012

Thank you all for your comments I will definitely take these on board...especially regarding the Olympic Peninsula. I was hoping to just take short routes into the park, I was under the impression the drive alone would be worth it! If I cut this out and head straight to Mt Rainer (I did realise it wasn't in the Park:) ) from Seattle it will give me another two days for the trip which should take some of the pressure off! To be honest the main reason I'm camping ( hopefully in a relatively dry tent!) is money, so actually being on the beach while nice is not a priority so I'm probably going to use Wright's campground which I understand is within walking distance of the beach although I may investigate the Ecola State Park as recommended by Mtngrl. Also with the camping it will allow me to be far more flexible as I can afford to cancel if my plans change. Crater Lake is certainly somewhere I want to see if at all possible but again I will check the conditions before travelling as it is a long way from my route down the coast. I have looked into camping at Mazama but it does appear to be fully booked for June, I will look into campsites nearby. Thanks again :)

9. Re: Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip:June 2012

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