We left the coast and headed inland, through the mountains, passing through Humboldt Redwoods State Park until we looped back to the coast to Eureka, CA. We stopped at the Lost Coast Brewery for dinner before continuing our drive to our final stop of the night. The food wasn’t the best but the beer after the day on the road was welcomed as well as the local Great White Shark attack survival stories posted in the restaurant.
Another hour drive through the Redwood National State Park and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and we finally made it to our hotel in Klamath, CA. This was an ambitious drive and it was a long day. I probably would have opted for a closer stop in the future but it made our drive into Oregon the next day shorter. Our hotel in Klamath was in the middle of nowhere and had an attached casino. We opted for TV in bed after a whole day on the road. The next morning, we woke up early, grabbed some hotel breakfast and hit the road back inland toward Oregon through Klamath National Forest. The fog rolling in from the Pacific Ocean made for a beautiful early morning drive.
We decided to make a pit stop on our way to Portland and check out Crater Lake National Park. I had seen pictures of how beautiful this park was but walking up to the lake was absolutely amazing. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States at 1,943 feet, and the ninth deepest in the world. The lake was formed when an eruption triggered the collapse of a towering volcano. It seemed unreal and is by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.
Hiking is available to the lake but we opted for the West Rim Drive since we were short on time. There is a fee to enter $5-$10 depending on the season. When you get to the lake there is a visitor center and gift shop. Make sure to walk to the side of the lake with the stone wall overlooking Wizard Island. You will be greeted by the local wildlife especially if you have any food.
I am so thankful for the outstanding weather we had during our visit. After some research, I learned that the lake is often invisible due to clouds and had little visibility the day before we arrived. I would suggest checking the National Park’s webcam and the weather before making the drive. This was one of my favorite stops of the trip. I could have stared at the views all day long but it was soon time to leave and finish our drive to Portland.
The remaining 4 hour drive took us through Eugene, OR home to the Oregon Ducks. You can see the stadium right from the I-5.
We made it to Portland in time for dinner with our friends.
The next morning we grabbed breakfast at Byways Café in the Pearl District of downtown Portland, before spending the day hiking. Punch Bowl Falls is a waterfall on Eagle Creek in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. This hike is about 3.5 miles and has waterfalls, cliffs, and scenery straight out of the Lord of the Rings. Some parts of the trail hug a cliff with ropes attached to the side of the mountain.
The following day we ventured down the I-5 S to US-20 E through the Willamette National Forest on our way to the mountain town of Bend. To me this is the ultimate adventure town. Bend sits between the snow covered peaks of the Cascade Mountains and the high desert plateaus of Central Oregon, Bend has evolved from a sleepy lumber town to an international mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and people in search of active and healthy vacation experiences and tourist attractions. It has been named Dog Town USA and Beer Town USA. Make a stop at the Deschutes Brewery while you’re there.
There is something to do in this place year round – snowshoe, skiing in the winter and hiking, SUP, kayaking, tubing in the summer. The Deschutes River runs right through Bend and we spent our Saturday morning on standup paddle boards. Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe is located right on the river and you can rent Stand Up Paddleboards ($40-$80), River Tubes, Kayaks ($40-$120), Canoes and Rafts. I definitely recommend Tumalo, since you can enter the river right outside of their building. The only downside we found in Bend was that they still do not have Uber or Lyft but the city council is working on getting this approved. We will definitely be back to Bend, OR.
Bend was our last stop on our West Coast Road Trip. We conquered two states in 10 days and drove over 1,550 miles. We hope our road trip will inspire & motivate you to seek new experiences and to live a life of adventure.