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Seattle to Ashland and Crescent City

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Bruce:
Planning an after-Memorial Day road trip down to see the Redwoods, Crater Lake, and Ashland's Shakespeare Festival for the first time with a non-roadgeek friend. Would love some advice on quirky things or scenic views that are worth a diversion away from the main highways in the area (but not too far, lest the friend complain). Also would love to hear opinions on which of routes I should take for the multi-choice options below.

The general plan:

Day 1: Make it down to Portland, clinch a few urban routes, then overnight in Salem or Eugene

Day 2: Travel west via OR 22 or OR 18 to the coast and drive south on US 101 to Coos Bay, then east via OR 42 or OR 38/138 to overnight in Medford

Day 3: West on US 199 to Crescent City and south on US 101 to see Redwood National Park, Eureka, and some of the coastal beaches. East on CA 299 to Redding and back north to Medford

Day 4: Drive northeast to Crater Lake and south to Klamath Falls. Possible continuation on to Weed, returning to overnight in Ashland.

Day 5: Drive south on CA 89 to Lassen Peak and back north to Ashland. Shorter day needed so that we can watch a Shakespeare play.

Day 6: West on US 199 and north on US 101 all the way to Astoria

Day 7: Return to Seattle via WA 6

Max Rockatansky:
US 199 and CA 299 in the Coast Ranges would a lot to do in one day considering you want to see Redwood National Park.  299 in particular can be pretty draining given it is almost constant curves between Blue Lake and Weaverville.

Bruce:

--- Quote from: Max Rockatansky on April 08, 2022, 09:38:09 PM ---US 199 and CA 299 in the Coast Ranges would a lot to do in one day considering you want to see Redwood National Park.  299 in particular can be pretty draining given it is almost constant curves between Blue Lake and Weaverville.

--- End quote ---

Do you suggest just backtracking on 199? There weren't any suitable hotels on the CA side for our needs (mostly a Tesla charger for overnight drip charging).

Max Rockatansky:

--- Quote from: Bruce on April 08, 2022, 10:41:29 PM ---
--- Quote from: Max Rockatansky on April 08, 2022, 09:38:09 PM ---US 199 and CA 299 in the Coast Ranges would a lot to do in one day considering you want to see Redwood National Park.  299 in particular can be pretty draining given it is almost constant curves between Blue Lake and Weaverville.

--- End quote ---

Do you suggest just backtracking on 199? There weren't any suitable hotels on the CA side for our needs (mostly a Tesla charger for overnight drip charging).

--- End quote ---

I donít really think itís a matter of 199 versus 299 being being ďbadĒ per se.  I just saw what you had planned for the day and that sure seemed like a ton of driving to add on top of sight seeing.  If you are planning on any significant hikes youíll likely be on 299 for quite a bit of time being tired or even at night. 

paulthemapguy:
I made a trip out of Lassen, Crater Lake, and Redwoods National Parks back in early October 2017 (the last minute before snow would get in our way).  My wife and I made a goal of seeing as many National Parks as possible.  Wildfire damage closed 299, so I didn't get to take it.  I was forced to backtrack on 199 to get from Crescent City to Redding, and it added about 2 hours to the trip.  It ruined our plans to hike at Fern Canyon in the Redwoods area, which would have been really cool since they filmed a bunch of scenes from Jurassic Park there.  Scaling Mount Lassen is one of the proudest and most difficult hikes I've ever accomplished.  How keen are you on hiking?

Returning home on I-5 might give you an express route that affords you some more sightseeing hours, but that's probably not news to you.  I see you keep dancing back and forth between the coast and the I-5 corridor; is that because you have a bunch of east-west highways to clinch?  The US101 corridor and the east-west routes through the mountains move much more slowly than I-5.  Therefore, if you need more time to sightsee, I suggest doing all the inland stuff near the I-5 corridor consecutively.  That, of course, erases your ability to clinch some east-west routes though.  I spent two whole days and some change seeing the Redwoods area. 

Sightseeing stuff I can suggest:


* At the northeast corner of the interchange between US 101 and CA-169, a big redwood sits there with a tunnel carved through it for cars.  You can live the gimmick of driving your car through a tree!
* The Redwood National Park area also hosts two state parks, and those two state parks tend to have better hikes than those strictly on NPS lands.  One state park is Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP, right outside of Crescent City to the east.  The Stout Grove Trail is a nice, fairly short trail, that takes you through some redwoods to a nice mountain stream. The Boy Scout Tree Trail is a manageable distance too.
* An hour south of Crescent City is Prairie Creek Redwoods SP, home to the Big Tree. A park road runs north-south with pullover points so you can get out of the car and see things.  I remember the park road being crowded and deciding to hike a circuitous trail instead. The Big Tree is easily reachable from a pullover point on the roadway though.
* In Lassen National Park, I recommend checking out Bumpass Hell, an area of weird volcanic activity reminiscent of Yellowstone.  It has bubbling sulphurous vents, white mud, weird blue caustic water, and all that.
* The Pinnacles Trail in Crater Lake National Park is a very short trail taking you to a bunch of interesting/odd gray-brown hoodoos.  It's a quick stop if you have time for it.
* Good Harvest Cafe in Crescent City had really good food.
* I stayed at the Hiouchi motel, several miles inland from Crescent City on US199.  If you stay there, you'll be right next to the Jedediah Smith Redwoods trailheads. Otherwise, Crescent City proper has a bunch of lodging options, too.

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