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Drive from Portland to Crator Lake

Rochester, NY
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Drive from Portland to Crator Lake

I just found out that Crater Lake boat tour is closed for the season. I had originally set to drive down to Crater Lake in one day and stay two nights at Crater Lake but now it seems a bit much. From there, we plan to go to the coast and drive S to N from there.

So questions:

What significant sites are there between Portland and Crater Lake? Once in Crater Lake area what do you recommend? Where would you recommend that we catch the coast for the drive north? Also, there has been some mention of redwoods near Crater lake where are they?

We like to do unique things and would like some physically active days. So if you could have any specific activities let us know! Thanks!

Eugene, Oregon
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for Eugene, Springfield
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1. Re: Drive from Portland to Crator Lake

From Portland, I think most of us would recommend that you drive south along the coast (mainly because it'll be easier for you to pull over to all the viewpoints). Taking 101 south all the way to Crescent City and then cutting back east on #199 to Grants Pass will give you a chance to see some of the Redwoods (including Jedidiah Smith State Park) and the Oregon Caves. You can go from there to Crater Lake, take a leisurely look, have a meal at the lodge, and move on...either to Bend or to Roseburg via the scenic #138 along the Umpqua River.

You don't say exactly when you'll be visiting, so it's hard to predict what sort of weather you'll encounter...the sooner the better. Nor do you say how much time you have to spend.

Oregon
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2. Re: Drive from Portland to Crator Lake

Poppa has a good plan for you, and some good questions. Oct can be iffy at Crater Lake on any given day

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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3. Re: Drive from Portland to Crator Lake

>> Also, there has been some mention of redwoods near Crater lake where are they? <<

Well, they're not really "near" Crater Lake, as redwoods grow on the coast. You can see some on Hwy 199 as oregonpoppa described, a few miles east of Crescent City.

VANCOUVER
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4. Re: Drive from Portland to Crator Lake

Driving down the I-5 how long of a drive is it from Portland to Crater Lake? How far is it from Crater Lake to the Red Woods?

Florence, Oregon
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5. Re: Drive from Portland to Crator Lake

If you drive down I-5, there are actually two ways to get to Crater lake. You could drive to Roseburg, which is about 3 to 3.5 hrs south of Portland, and take Hwy 138 over to Hwy 97, then south. Hwy 138 is a beautiful drive along the N Umpqua River and you get the added bonus of visiting Diamond Lake along the way.

Or, you could drive to Medford, which is about 4.5-5 hrs south of Portland and take Hwy 62 up to Crater Lake.

From Crater Lake to the first redwoods along Hwy 199 will take around 2-2.5 hrs.

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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6. Re: Drive from Portland to Crator Lake

From Crater Lake to Crescent City and redwoods, it will take about 3.5 to 4 hours with no stops, via Hwy 62, I-5 and Hwy 199. From Grants Pass on I-5 along Hwy 199 to Crescent City there are essentially no services except for Cave Junction, so plan accordingly for food/fuel.

Portland to Crater Lake. I *think* the fastest way would be south on I-5 to south of Eugene/Springfield, then take Hwy 58 up the mountain to Hwy 97 and on to Crater Lake. Not quite as scenic as Hwy 138, but pleasant enough. Time would be around 5 hours, give or take.

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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7. Re: Drive from Portland to Crator Lake

Den, you posted as I was typing, so now clarksp has three options, LOL ;-)

Yellow Springs, OH
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8. Re: Drive from Portland to Crator Lake

I'll echo what Dengay said about the drive along Rt 138, the N. Umpqua River to Roseburg. In fact, take it further, up I-5, continue 138 west to Rt 38 over to the coast at Reedsport. The latter part is through the gorgeous Umpqua valley. Nearing Reedsport, it widens and passes through an elk viewing area where we spotted a large herd.

As far as getting down to Crater, an alternative but beautiful route is to go from Mt Hood down through Bend. If you are lucky enough to get a clear day, the high Cascades will puntuate your entire trip. A one-day viewing itinerary would be: take US 30 east from Portland; stop a few minutes at Crown Point Vista House for a panoramic view of the Columbia Gorge. To save time, cross back to I-84 at your nearest opportunity. (If you want to drive the Gorge Highway 30 and check out all the waterfalls, allow an extra half day.) At Hood River, take Rt. 35 south to Mount Hood. Detour a couple of miles west/north on US 26 to the Timberline Lodge on the southeast side of the Mt Hood summit. Take up to an hour, this is a phenomenal visit. Then drive back to US 26, take it south through the mountain forest, until you emerge from it to pass through high-desert type of land with views of Mt Jefferson, the Three Sisters, Mt Bachelor and others all nearly in front of you on the drive on US 26 to Madras (if your day is clear enough, you will see these peaks in the distance from the lodge on Mt Hood). In Madras you take US 97 south to Bend and on to the Crater Lake area, with more views of these high Cascades as well as the ones down toward Crater.

Granted this is a lot for one day but if you want panoramic views, you will get them, provided only that you get a clear day. The route itself is about 5 hours driving time.

Portland, Oregon
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9. Re: Drive from Portland to Crator Lake

If seeing the lake is a priority, you might stick with your original two-night plan to give yourselves flexibility. I have a friend who, because of weather, didn't actually see the surface of Crater Lake until his third visit there. If you do plan more of a drive-by visit, check the weather at the lake before making the detour up to see it. You wouldn't want to be disappointed like my friend was.

Oregon
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10. Re: Drive from Portland to Crator Lake

I agree with Mistletoe about checking the weather first. I went one year in August, which should have pretty much guaranteed good weather, and the entire lake was fogged in and couldn't see a thing. So, you might want to save yourself a drive, though, the drive is quite pretty up there, so it wouldn't be a complete loss.