Entries by bigpaw

The Pacific Coastline

TRIP ITINERARY

From the epic rock formations of Washington’s Cape Flattery to natural bridges in Southern Oregon to the winding roads of Big Sur, California, there is always something new to see along this coastal drive!

So what is the Pacific Coast Highway exactly?

You can also recognize it by its abbreviation (PCH), California Coast Road Trip, Pacific Coast Road Trip, Route 1, Highway 101 (through Washington and Oregon), or even just Highway 1 (in California).

All names aside, they all lead you down the same road, which is the one that parallels the Pacific Ocean and the Western border of the contiguous United States.

Along this drive you are destined to see non-stop coastal views, amazing iconic stops, and little beach towns scattered throughout!

 

CULTURE

Every town you stumble upon is going to be slightly different. From quaint coastal towns to booming metropolis’, you are bound to see everything in between. 

If activities and sports are your scene then the Pacific Coast Highway has plenty to offer, on land and sea. You can ride the surf, watch whales and dolphins on a cruise, play golf, go fishing or clam-digging, exercise those leg muscles with some hiking or cycling. Whatever you do, don’t drive straight through without making time to do some of the unique things on offer along the Pacific west coast.

 

DINING

Many wonder about “where are we going to eat?” To their surprise, Humboldt County offers an array of culinary spots. You will find hat locations chefs make the most of their surrounding local farms, the sea, and many local pastures. If you want something special, check out Humboldt’s Bay Oysters, Grass-fed Beef, Cypress Grove Chèvre, and other fresh seafood.  VIEW MORE

  • Bay Area Views and Chews
  • Fresh Food in Santa Cruz
  • French Flair, Beach Style
  • Big Flavors in Big Sur
  • Dining Right on the Bay
  • Casual Coastal Treats
  • Laid-back Vibe, World-class Views
 

NATURAL ATTRACTIONS

We have boiled our list down to the top 10 must-see attractions for visitors traveling the length of Oregon’s coastline. It’s amazing how every season showcases a different wonder and activity for those passing through.

Learn More at TravelOregon.Com

 

CAMPING

REDWOODS:  Camp among world’s tallest trees – Humboldt Redwoods State Park with Eel river access and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, a part of the Redwood National & State Park, where the Roosevelt elk roam, Richardson Grove, Van Duzen County Park & Grizzly Creek SP also offer redwoods & river access.  

RIVER:  Van Duzen County Park, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Richardson Grove, Grizzly Creek Redwood State Park on the Eel River or Camp Kimtu on the Trinity River.     

BEACH: The Lamp Camp, Gold Bluffs Beach, Clam Beach, Big Lagoon and  Patrick’s Point State Park have easy access to the ocean, hiking and beach combing.   

Mount Hood

TRIP ITINERARY

We all have dreamt about adventuring off to the 7 Wonders of the World, but it’s not so easy to drop everything and run off to another country. Well, we’ve got a secret for you. Oregon has 7 wonders of its own and it’s much easier to plan a visit to.

 

Located at the north end of the Oregon Cascades, just east of Portland, you will find Mount Hood, Oregon’s highest peak, the most well-known of the Cascade’s mountains, and one of Oregon’s 7 Wonders. 

 

In the words of John Muir, “…There stood Mount Hood in all the glory of the alpenglow, looming immensely high, beaming with intelligence, and so impressive that one was overawed as if suddenly brought before some superior being newly arrived from the sky.”“The whole mountain appeared as one glorious manifestation of divine power, enthusiastic and benevolent, glowing like a countenance with ineffable repose and beauty, before which we could only gaze in devout and lowly admiration.”

 

Live life outdoors, from the mountains to the rivers. This is the home of explorers, filled with endless possibilities.

CULTURE

Indulge in all that Mount Hood offers. Surround yourself in Mount Hood’s 13 glaciers and shred some powder on the slopes. Take your adrenaline to the next level on epic flow-based single-track trails. Raft, kayak, or float among one of the many rivers or lakes. Let your taste buds dance to the taste of wine as you stroll through the countryside, home to wineries galore. Frolic through picturesque fields of flowers. And for our foodies, please your palate with a six-course dinner or experience a meal from farm-to-table and learn about where the food is sourced and ventured.

 

As you can see, there is a little bit of everything for everyone. And of course, it doesn’t stop there. We’ve gathered lists of places to eat, things to do/see, and stay.

DINING

Majestic Mount Hood attracts adventure-seekers with an unparalleled array of outdoor attractions. Make sure you take in all the delicious cuisines offered around Mt. Hood and don’t leave home on an empty stomach. This dining guide dishes on where to fuel up with jelly donuts and huckleberry pancakes, lunch at rustic mid-mountain huts and relax with large pizzas and local pints après-ski. VIEW MORE

NATURAL ATTRACTIONS

If you’re not a foodie coming to sample all the delicious cuisines that Mount Hood has to offer, then we can only assume you’re an adrenaline junky or admirer of sights.

Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway

This is a 70-mile drive along one of North America’s grandest rivers, the Columbia is at its finest as it rolls through the Columbia River Gorge, framed by sheer walls of basalt, cloaked in firs and ferns and rare endemic plants, accented with waterfall after crashing waterfall.

The Fruit Loop

All around Mount Hood, you’ll find farms galore. The Hood River County Fruit Loop boasts thousands of acres of orchards, wines, lavender and wildflowers.

Alpine Lakes

Mount Hood is home to beautiful alpine lakes, each offering its own unique view of the mountain. The Alpine Lakes include, Elk Lake, Lost Lake, Ice Lake, Waldo Lake, Crater Lake, Todd Lake, Sparks Lake, Summit Lake, and Anthony Lake. Each of these lakes offers great hikes and great views.

 

Timberline Lodge

With six ski areas, Mt. Hood easily becomes your base camp for skiing. It’s also home to some of the only year-round skiing anywhere, which is why you’ll often find Olympians here training during the summer.

CAMPING

Mt. Hood National Forest offers a huge variety of world-class recreational activities with opportunities for everyone. Continuously enjoy the forest and stay in one of the many developed campgrounds. VIEW MORE

Crater Lake

TRIP ITINERARY

Ready to visit another one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon? Fuel up your car, que up your playlist, buckle up, and get ready for an unforgettable trip to Crater Lake National Park.

 

Crater Lake National Park is a natural wonder born out of a cataclysmic volcanic eruption. Crowning the Cascade Mountain Range, the park contains vibrant forests, bountiful wildlife and an awe-inspiring blue lake worthy of its nickname “lake majesty.” Its geologic history spans back thousands of years and inspires visitors today as they swim, snowshoe, ski, hike and cycle through the mountainous terrain. With countless other activities and thousands of acres to explore, adventure is endless at Crater Lake.

CULTURE

At 1,943-feet deep, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, and the seventh deepest in the world. Crater Lake formed when Mt. Mazama erupted approximately 7,700 years ago in a massive volcanic eruption. Your jaw is sure to drop once your eyes are set on this majesty of a lake.

DINING

Not sure where to eat? Craving something in particular? Check out this restaurant guide to all the best restaurants in the area. Keep in mind that some of these restaurants may be out of the way, but would be great options to stop at on the way to Crater Lake or when you’re heading home. VIEW MORE

NATURAL ATTRACTIONS

Wizard Island Tours

Cruise around the perimeter of Crater Lake and spend some time on Wizard Island. You’ll be able to hike, swim, and take in the panoramic views. 

 

Hiking Trails

Hiking is an ideal way to explore the magnificent landscape of Crater Lake National Park. From short, accessible trails to longer, invigorating routes that explore the backcountry, you’ll find a hike to suit your pace and experience. Trails range from half a mile to 30 miles. No matter the trail you choose, you will be delighted with the views.

 

Fishing

Are you a fishing connoisseur? Ever imagined fishing in a collapsed volcano? Well at Crater Lake, there is fishing galore. Don’t worry, you don’t need a fishing license. Fish as much (or as little) as you’d like.

 

Bicycling in Nature’s Beauty

Crater Lake’s magnificent 33-mile Rim Drive is a bucket-list attraction for bicyclists. The road’s steep hills and high elevations make it a physically demanding ride, but you can catch your breath at the 30 overlooks and pullouts that offer spectacular scenery and views. Because many roads are closed during the winter, July, August, and September are your best choices for bicycling trips.

Rim Road

The drive around Rim Road features more than 30 scenic pullouts. At Pinnacles Overlook, visitors can see volcanic ash frozen into 100-foot-tall solid rock formations. Stopping at Videa Falls provides a view of a cascading waterfall and is one of the best places to observe some of the park’s plant life. For a unique spot bursting with color, stop at Pumice Castle Overlook. Over time, an orange layer of pumice eroded into the shape of a castle — a magnificently royal occurrence. Or visitors can step back in time at Discovery Point and imagine themselves in the boots of John Hillman, the first pioneer to see Crater Lake.

CAMPING

Mazama Campground is tucked away in the forest, seven miles south of Rim Village, just past the park’s south entrance station near Highway 62. It’s the perfect spot to pitch your tent or park your camper as your base for exploring the park. Each of the 214 sites features a picnic table, a fire ring with a grill, and a bear-resistant food locker.

The High Desert

TRIP ITINERARY

When traveling to Oregon, I’m sure you are dreaming of beautiful greenery throughout the state due to all the rain. But, have you considered the desert? Yes, you read that right… the desert… in Oregon. 

 

While many of us have driven through deserts found much more south of Oregon, you are met with endless road looking at nothing. Well, maybe the occasional hill or cactus, but in Oregon the desert is much more vast.

 

Meet The High Desert. Starting at the eastern edge of the Cascade Mountains and stretching out toward Idaho and Nevada, the high desert region makes up roughly a quarter of all land in Oregon. It rises to more than 9,700 feet above sea level at Steens Mountain and dips to just over 2,000 feet along the Owyhee River on the eastern border.

CULTURE

Did you know that nearly half of Oregon is high desert? The high desert is divided into six regions: John Day River Basin, Central Oregon Backcountry, Greater Hart-Sheldon Region, Steens Mountain Region, Owyhee Canyonlands, and Oregon Desert Trail.

DINING

Due to the vast high desert, the best place to grab some grub before hitting the road would be in Bend. Check out this restaurant guide to find the best local cuisine to Central Oregon. VIEW MORE

NATURAL ATTRACTIONS

Anchored by Bend, Oregon’s biggest city outside the Willamette Valley, the high desert is a playground for hikers, horseback riders, mountain bikers and rock climbers. Millions of birds flock seasonally to desert wetlands, drawing bird watchers and hunters. And wide swaths of wilderness provide a home to mustangs, strutting sage grouse, rogue antelope and herds of bighorn sheep.

 

It’s a stark contrast to the lush rainforests and snowy mountains in the west – the dusty flipside of Oregon’s great beauty.

 

Alvord Desert

The Alvord Desert lies like a crumpled piece of paper smoothed over a flat surface with mountains towering 5,000 feet above and directly to the west. The Alvord Desert was once a giant lake extending 100 miles from end to end with an estimated depth of 200 feet, a robust headwaters of a Snake River tributary. Today, the primary portion of this alkaline flat desert is roughly 20 miles long and 7 miles wide.

 

Painted Hills

Distinguished by varied stripes of red, tan, orange, and black, this area preserves a sequence of past climate change. Spring often brings yellow wildflowers that grow in open areas and sometime even in the ripples of the hills. Winter can blanket the hills in a white coat, concealing the vibrant hues until the snow melts, revealing interspersed stripes of gold and red.

 

Cove Palisades

The Cove Palisades State Park is a recreational destination for the entire family. Located in our high desert region, the weather is sunny and warm in the summer months and chilly but generally mild in the winter. The park is situated among towering cliffs that surround beautiful Lake Billy Chinook.

 

Owyhee Canyonlands

Carved by desert rivers winding toward the Pacific, Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands is the last great unprotected expanse of the American West. Its craggy red-rock canyons, blue-ribbon trout streams and rolling hills make up a diverse wild land nearly the size of Yellowstone, home to a rich array of wildlife.

Best Oregon Roadways this Fall

Fall is the perfect time of year to take a road trip through Oregon. 

Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway

The 172-mile Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway is perfect for a long, peaceful drive. This stunning route runs along the North Umpqua and Rogue Rivers, passing alpine lakes, waterfalls, trailheads, and more.

Hells Canyon Scenic Byway

The Hells Canyon Scenic Byway is a spectacular road that winds through the foothills of the Wallowa Mountains as well as past miles and miles of wilderness and bucolic countrysides dotted with charming small towns.

McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway

This gorgeous loop drive will take you on a jaw dropping journey past otherworldly lava fields, emerald green forests, and snow-capped peaks.

Hood River Fruit Loop

One fun day trip is taking a drive along the beloved Hood River Fruit Loop. This bucolic country road passes numerous orchards, farms, and wineries. Pull over here and there to walk around, go to a U-Pick farm, buy fresh produce, and even taste local wines.

Route 101

Running from top to bottom of the western edge of Oregon, Route 101 is the quintessential path for an Oregon Coast road trip. The highway passes countless incredible sights and destinations, including gorgeous beaches, charming towns, rugged cliffs, state parks, and more.

Historic Columbia River Highway

If you’ve never visited the Columbia River Gorge, it’s an absolute must-see. One incredible way to experience it is by taking a long drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway, which dates back over 100 years and ribbons past gorgeous waterfalls, viewpoints, wildflower meadows, and more.

TOP 5 RV ESSENTIALS WHEN TRAVELING WITH A FAMILY​

We’re not going to tell you tell you that RVing with kids is a walk in the (national) park. We are going to share our tips for making it easier! Here’s our tips and tricks to make life on the road less bumpy.

  1. ENTERTAINMENT – We can’t stress this one enough! You already have your stops and excursions planned. Don’t forget to plan the entertainment for travel days too! We all know electronics are controversial when you’re trying to teach kiddos about the natural wonders of the world…We would argue they’re worth it on the travel days if they mean you’re not being asked “are we there yet?” every two minutes. We also recommend coloring books, good ole fashioned reading books, magnetic lap tables, or movies. 
  2. SNACKS non messy pre-prepared snacks are a must. We recommend filling up a gallon zip top bag with individually packaged snacks. Include a combination of sweet and salty, the kids will love the variety. Don’t forget to pack one for adults too! 
  3. DRINKS – Stock up the cooler and keep your family’s favorite drinks on hand. Keep gas station trips fill ups only. This means less time travelling and more time at your destination, enough said!
  4. CLASSIC ROAD TRIP GAMES – We love these to keep the kids engaged and make them look out the window. I Spy, License Plate Game and Scavenger hunts are some of our favorites. 
  5. CLEANING KIT – This one is an ESSENTIAL, say it again for the people in the back! Paper towels, tissues, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, diapers, extra change of clothes for each kid. Having a cleaning kit ready to go has helped us avoid many meltdowns from parents and kids. We recommend this tip to everyone! 

If you have any other suggestions we want to hear them! We love learning about hacks that keep the whole family happy on travel days! 

The Redwood Forest

TRIP ITINERARY

Known internationally for its natural beauty, recreational wonders, and cultural intrigue, the Redwood Forest is the ultimate adventure spot. This road trip is so kindly referred to as “one of the best in the West.” and should be on the top of every bucket list.

NPR’s Ketzel Levine states, “moving through a grove of immense trees is so surreal.” “It’s tough to get your bearings. Some of these creatures put down their first, thirsty roots 2,000 years ago. To describe their beauty is to miss their menace; to speak of their size is to deny their grace. Fallen logs the size of beached whales…charred stumps a team of horses high and wide…and in the air, the scent of earth, barks and compost stirred with the wind,” said Levine. 

Whether you choose to stroll along the beach or hike through the woods, the Redwood National Park is the perfect woodland escape, because it allows you to step back in time. 

CULTURE

This hot spot destination attracts many travelers from not only the U.S. but also across the sea. Last year, this area saw a 12% increase in international travelers. 

From wholesome families to adventure fanatics, this location attracts all sorts of nature lovers. No matter your skill, visitors are welcome to hike, bike, camp, & even horseback ride through the 200+ miles of trails that weave through this lush woodland environment. 

We encourage you to check out the many cultural immersion groups that venture into the forest! These group experiences will help  you understand the history these big beauties bring. 

Photo Opps Galore

Looking for that perfect photo? This lush forest sets the perfect backdrop for that Instagram ready pic. See the list of most popular photo opp locations: Fern Canyon, Stout Grove: Jedidiah Smith State Park, Damnation Creek Trail, & Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. Don't forget to beat the crowds by arriving in the early morning!

DINING

Many wonder about “where are we going to eat?” To their surprise, Humboldt County offers an ary of culinary spots. You will find hat locations chefs make the most of their surrounding local farms, the sea, and many local pastures. If you want something special, check out Humboldt’s Bay Oysters, Grass-fed Beef, Cypress Grove Chèvre, and other fresh seafood.  VIEW MORE

NATURAL ATTRACTIONS

Experience this expansive area – which is really a network of national & state parks – by going beyond the obligatory “tree-hug” photo with these top list of things to do:

Drive the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway 

This is a 10-mile road that cuts through the heart of the forest. During this drive, you may be lucky enough to see some elk and wild animals roaming.

Hike to Fern Canyon on James Irvine Trail

On this 9-mile roundtrip hike, experience the woods through a prehistoric tense.  This part of the forest has been filmed on a variety of movie and TV shows ex. Jurassic Park 2!

Ride Trees of Mystery

The Trees of Mystery is a 0.8 mile interpretive trail where you will see over 50 wooden chainsaw-carved sculptures, the SkyTrail gondola, and the Redwoods Treewalk. 

Sip a Flight of Hoppy Brews

For our 21+ travelers, don’t miss Lost Coast Brewery, where you will find a Mecca of malty and hoppy delights served up brewery style. 

CAMPING

 

REDWOODS:  Camp among world’s tallest trees – Humboldt Redwoods State Park with Eel river access and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, a part of the Redwood National & State Park, where the Roosevelt elk roam, Richardson Grove, Van Duzen County Park & Grizzly Creek SP also offer redwoods & river access.  

RIVER:  Van Duzen County Park, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Richardson Grove, Grizzly Creek Redwood State Park on the Eel River or Camp Kimtu on the Trinity River.     

BEACH: Gold Bluffs Beach, Clam Beach, Big Lagoon and  Patrick’s Point State Park have easy access to the ocean, hiking and beach combing.