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Winthrop WA to So CA, trip suggestions? Edit: trip accomplished with great suggestions herein!

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by OnHartung'sRoad, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. Jul 9, 2018 at 3:19 PM
    #1
    OnHartung'sRoad

    OnHartung'sRoad [OP] -So glad I didn't take the other...

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    Hey all! My family and I are heading north from southern California next week to Winthrop, WA for a few days, then my kid and I are ditching my wife (she’s flying home early for work :( ) and will be spending a week and a half together driving home. We’re self-contained, taking an RTT, portable shower, Mtb Bikes a doubles folding sea kayak, and a dog. I have not made an itinerary as this was a late planned trip and most if not all of the reservable coastal campgrounds are full already, so we will probably be doing a lot of dispersed camping on NF and BLM lands. I’ve seen the coast, was thinking of hitting the cascades and various volcanic parks, but will probably stay out of the desert areas to avoid the heat (dog and daughter both said they want trees and water). Any suggestions on high points to go to? I’m planning to go visit the Hoh in coastal WA, then heading east to the Cascades (either side is good) and then meandering south from there.

    Some places I would like to go include Crater Lake, St Hellens, etc. in California, probably will go on 395 south to Mono lake as the only desert probably, then a drive- thru of Yosemite on our way to the Monterey coast and south from there.

    Any others?
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  2. Jul 10, 2018 at 11:57 AM
    #2
    rogue.tacoma

    rogue.tacoma Well-Known Member

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    When you say coast, you mean all of California Coast or just Big Sur, but anyway. I've traveled a bit of Central Oregon myself, I really love the Wilamette National Forest. It contains some nice stops; Clear Lake, Tamolitch Blue Pool, Sahalie Falls, McKenzie River Trail and loads of back roads. You can also do the parts of the Oregon Backcountry Discovery Route. Just some suggestions.
     
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  3. Jul 10, 2018 at 12:11 PM
    #3
    Unner

    Unner Well-Known Member

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    Crater lake is a must see. The water is a color of blue you never knew existed.

    The hoh rainforest is good, there's a couple walking trails there that are nice. Check out the Queets (I think that's how it's spelled) rainforest as well. It's a little farther off the beaten path, and there's a free campsite at the end of it. I saw a heard of 30+ elk there when I left that morning. The entire Olympic NP is great. So much diversity.

    The north Cascades are awesome. I think there's some hiking there, but not many dispersed campsites for truck camping. I spent the night at an established NP campsite, but your luck may vary. I don't know how busy they'll be in peak summer.

    I spent a night in the Siuslaw NF in oregon also which was nice.

    I saw Mt. St. Helen's from the distance. It's pretty far off the interstate, and I'm not sure how much there is to really do there. There's a visitor center a couple miles from the interstate that has a trail you can walk out on and get a good view of the volcano without driving all the way to it.

    Yosemite might be a total mess. It was jam packed when I was there in May. I'd get there as early as possible so you don't have to deal with traffic as much. While you're there you might want to check out King's Canyon and Sequoia NP.
     
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  4. Jul 10, 2018 at 12:11 PM
    #4
    Navelfunk

    Navelfunk Well-Known Member

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    When you get up to WA, I might suggest taking the 20 east, toward Winthrop. Goes straight through the Northern Cascades, very pretty. Also, you might hit up the guys in the NW Meet & BS thread in the regional section, for better or more interesting routes/activities. Have fun, & try to make updates on here so we can make sure you're safe! :)
     
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  5. Jul 12, 2018 at 2:14 AM
    #5
    OnHartung'sRoad

    OnHartung'sRoad [OP] -So glad I didn't take the other...

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    Thanks all, definitely a full itinerary of great sounding recommendations. I will post a trip report on TW! :)
     
  6. Jul 12, 2018 at 2:20 AM
    #6
    OnHartung'sRoad

    OnHartung'sRoad [OP] -So glad I didn't take the other...

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    We drove the California coast north of San Francisco last year, and it was great. I guess at this late point, snagging any beach campgrounds would be rare, but going dispersed in the coastal mountains would be good. The Oregon backcountry uou mention sound great too- those are all places Ive seen photos of and would be great places to go, thanks!
     
  7. Jul 12, 2018 at 2:23 AM
    #7
    OnHartung'sRoad

    OnHartung'sRoad [OP] -So glad I didn't take the other...

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    I forgot about the Queets, good idea as Hoh is already full the week we would be there. Crater lake for sure also, thanks!
     
  8. Jul 12, 2018 at 2:29 AM
    #8
    OnHartung'sRoad

    OnHartung'sRoad [OP] -So glad I didn't take the other...

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    Great suggestion on the 20, I think we will head west on it from Winthrop as I get to drop my wife off at the Seattle airport and then we are free to go where we want. Good suggestion on the NW Meet & BS thread, will check it out!
     
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  9. Jul 12, 2018 at 3:25 AM
    #9
    Mtn Mike

    Mtn Mike Well-Known Member

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    There's lots of good mountain biking in the Methow Valley so plan to spend some time exploring near Winthrop. There's a
    a fair amount of national forest roads to explore by truck or mountain bike north of Winthrop. The cascade range to the west of Winthrop is great but since it's a national park it can get touristy and there aren't as many areas for off-roading, mountain biking, or dispersed camping as there are to the north of Winthrop. Lots of good lakes for kayaking everywhere. I have land with a campsite in the next valley over to the east of the Methow Valley. It sounds like you're going west of Winthrop but if you find yourself in the Okanogan valley hit me up for ideas. Also, we're coming into fire season so be aware of possible closures and other nuisanses. No problems yet but it's getting hotter and dryer here by the day.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  10. Jul 12, 2018 at 1:01 PM
    #10
    BKinzey

    BKinzey Well-Known Member

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    Since I'm not figuring out how to cram all this in a week and a half I'll toss out options.

    If you stop at Mt St Helens think about leaving in a southernly direction instead of east to the 5. Look up "Ape Caves" It's worth a consideration to see a lava cave and a lush forest on a volcanic bed. Head south from there and cross the Columbia River at Hood River. Hood River is a nice place to stop for a meal & a beer, a little touristy due to the wind surfers.

    Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. An incredible beautiful drive. Stop to see some of the multiple falls along the I84 in Oregon.

    To head south in Oregon consider the 26 or the 35 for scenic drives through forests. Both of these eventually intersect and then hit the 97 which will take you to Crater Lakes. Lots of places to camp.

    Heading South from Crater Lakes pick a state highway, or route, to the 395. I've driven several of the routes and they all had something to offer.

    Sure, the 5 has somethings to see along it and you can't beat it for time considerations but it always felt like a drive-by to me.
     
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  11. Jul 12, 2018 at 1:02 PM
    #11
    Speedytech7

    Speedytech7 Toyota Cult Ombudsman

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    @Digiratus, you have any good stops along the way
     
  12. Jul 12, 2018 at 1:15 PM
    #12
    Unner

    Unner Well-Known Member

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    Cape flattery is another good stop on the washington peninsula I just remembered. It's the most northwestern point in the lower 48. The drive there is pretty, and it's about a mile walk through the forest to the cape which is beautiful.
     
  13. Jul 12, 2018 at 2:54 PM
    #13
    OnHartung'sRoad

    OnHartung'sRoad [OP] -So glad I didn't take the other...

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    We’re definitely going there- dog friendly walk and by the looks of it online just what we wanted to see, wow! Thanks!!
     
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  14. Jul 12, 2018 at 3:22 PM
    #14
    Unner

    Unner Well-Known Member

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    No problem, I'm trying to think of the other cool stuff I saw up that way. It's pretty spectacular. Here's a couple pics from when I went. And one from the Queets rainforest because I was already uploading pics.

    20180523_161524.jpg
    20180523_162901.jpg
    20180524_072427.jpg
     
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  15. Jul 12, 2018 at 3:27 PM
    #15
    OnHartung'sRoad

    OnHartung'sRoad [OP] -So glad I didn't take the other...

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    Thanks for your suggestions. We have a dog, so ape caves may not work (wow, it looks great though) , but looking at what hwy 26 offers, it would be cool to go to John Day area and catching 395 south from there. I’ve wanted to travel the Steens Mtn Loop road sometime - it overlooks the eastern desert - have you been? Maybe this will be the trip when I do try it as I’ve forgotten about it until looking at the routes you suggested. After trying that, I guess we’ll go south on 395 towards the Eastern Sierra. Thanks for the idea of the 26- you are right, lots to do back there! Thanks for your help!!
     
  16. Jul 12, 2018 at 3:28 PM
    #16
    OnHartung'sRoad

    OnHartung'sRoad [OP] -So glad I didn't take the other...

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    Is your last pic of the road going out there? Nice!
     
  17. Jul 12, 2018 at 6:37 PM
    #17
    BKinzey

    BKinzey Well-Known Member

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    So Ape Caves is out, I'd probably then drive back to the 5 and down to Portland. Since I think the Columbia Gorge is a spectacular drive I'd go I84 to the 35 and South to the 26. The 26 right out of Portland is nice too as a secondary option.

    I think Crater Lake is also spectacular so I would again suggest that.

    I have driven the 26 to the 395 at John Day, a quick check of the current 10 day forecast puts John Day into the 90's for all 10 days. I remember liking the area but it's been over 10 years and I don't remember specific places so maybe somebody else would be better with suggestions there. Same with the Steens, been there but light on specifics. If you choose this route you might want to look at the Oregon Backcountry Discovery Route. It's basically dirt roads. Haven't done them but they look interesting and there are a couple of routes you could select for Eastern Oregon.
     
  18. Jul 12, 2018 at 7:47 PM
    #18
    Unner

    Unner Well-Known Member

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    Yeah there's basically one road that runs through the forest. This was at the southern end of the upper section right before the road ends at the river. There's two sections of the road, they used to be connected but a mudslide or something separated them a few years back and never got fixed. The lower section of the road I was told is in rougher shape and is more of a 4x4 road. The upper section is the part I took the picture at, and the part where the campsite is.
     
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  19. Jul 12, 2018 at 10:30 PM
    #19
    OnHartung'sRoad

    OnHartung'sRoad [OP] -So glad I didn't take the other...

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    I had no idea about the DNR campgrounds all over WA- at $30/yr thats a good deal. We have free remote camping in So Cal on BLM and in Anza Borrego State Park, but really no coastal, lakeside or river’s edge sites as in Wa. I need more time!!!
     
  20. Jul 12, 2018 at 10:40 PM
    #20
    OnHartung'sRoad

    OnHartung'sRoad [OP] -So glad I didn't take the other...

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    The Oregon Backcountry Discovery Route trips look amazing. I certainly dont have the tome on this trip to do it justice, but will one day soon (Im a teacher on the same schedule as my kid). Im ordering a set of the maps for it

    http://www.oohva.org/index.html
     

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