RV Destinations, RV Lifestyle, Travel

Popular RV Travel Routes In The Pacific Northwest

Travel Route #1: Olympic Loop – Washington State

Overview:

This scenic drive in western Washington explores the diverse eco-systems of the Olympic Peninsula. Aside from

A few miles north of Brinnon, turn east on a steep gravel road leading to the summit of Mt. Walker, where the view takes in more than 5 million acres!

jaw-dropping beauty at every turn, what makes this drive so unique, is that within a few hours, you can explore lowland and sub-alpine forest, rivers and lakes, the glacier-capped peaks of the Olympic Mountains, temperate rain forests, and the rugged beauty of the Pacific Ocean. The route circles the Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest that encompass nearly one million acres.

Trip Length: Roughly 250 miles, not including side trips
What to Watch Out For: Be sure to bring rain gear if you plan to hike or camp
Best Time To Go: Year round, but best from April-October
Must See Nearby Attractions:
The Space Needle
Mt. Rainier
Olympic Range
Puget Sound
Seattle
Victoria, BC (ferry departures available in Port Angeles, WA

Traveler’s Notes:

In Potlatch, US-101 follows Hood Canal, the longest fjord in the United States. Hood Canal is known for its oysters and clams, and they are a specialty in the many local restaurants.

 

Located at the entrance to the Puget Sound, the quaint coastal town of Port Townsend was once a hectic sea-port cluttered with high-mastered riggers from around the world.

Once you approach Hoodsport, consider a side trip by turning onto WA-119 and visiting Lake Cushman State Park. You’ll discover water-based recreation such as fishing, sailing, scuba diving, kite-surfing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boards, water-skiing, and swimming.
Port Angeles is fifteen miles from Sequim and is a great base for exploring the Olympic National Park. The 17-mile drive up Hurricane Ridge Road (reach it, via Race Street S.) delivers awe-inspiring views with every turn, as it winds its way to Hurricane Ridge at an elevation of 5,242 feet.
The inviting, small town of Port Gamble features antique shops, galleries, museum and picturesque turn-of-the-century New England style buildings. Or take WA-20, which heads to Port Townsend, one of the top 8 cities in
the United States, according to MSN City Guides.

What To See Along The Way:

Potlatch State Park: Potlatch State Park is a 57-acre camping park with 5,700-feet of saltwater shoreline on Hood Canal. The park’s beautiful grounds are home to a variety of activities, from interpretive programs for kids to boating and shellfish harvesting.

Lake Cushman State Park: Skokomish Park at Lake Cushman, formerly known as Camp Cushman or Lake Cushman State Park, covers over 500 acres with three boat-launch ramps on the 41,500 feet of freshwater shoreline on Lake Cushman.

Dosewallips State Park: Dosewallips State Park is a 1011 acre, year-round camping park with 5 miles of shoreline on Hood Canal and the Dosewallips River. The park is unique in that it offers both freshwater and saltwater activities.

Mt. Walker Viewpoint: Mt. Walker is the only peak facing Puget Sound that has a road to its summit. Both viewpoints have short trails to the viewing area with interpretive signs.

Port Townsend: Port Townsend, Washington blends history with modern life. Shop in the boutiques, stroll along the tree lined historic streets, and dine in some of the best restaurants around.

Sequim: Dungeness Valley with the Irrigation Festival, the oldest continuous community festival in the state.

Whether exploring your own backyard or somewhere new, discover the freedom of the open road with Lonely Planet Pacific Northwest’s Best Trips. Featuring 33 amazing road trips, from 2-day escapes to 2-week adventures, you can cruise along the stunning Pacific Coast or explore the eerie volcanic landscape of Mt St Helen, all with your trusted travel companion. Jump in the car, turn up the tunes, and hit the road!

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge: The Dungeness NWR provides habitat for many different species. More than 250 species of birds, 41 species of land mammals, and eight species of marine mammals have been recorded in the refuge.

 

 

Travel Route #2: Columbia River Gorge Highway –
Washington & Oregon

Overview:

Decribed by Lewis and Clark as a “remarkable, high detached rock,” this enormous monolith…nearly 850 feet tall, is the core of a vanished volcano.

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 nation’s second National Scenic Area, the Columbia River Gorge is also the largest and most densely populated, offering the amenities of urban centers close to the wild beauty of the outdoors.

 

Trip Length: Roughly 140 miles
Best Time To Go: Year Round
Must See Nearby Attractions:
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (Vancouver)
Pearson Air Museum (Vancouver)
Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery (Underwood)

Traveler’s Notes:

Readers will explore the Pacific Northwest through full-color photographs and exciting fact boxes with recommended road trip destinations. Including detailed content that complements the social studies curriculum, readers are introduced to the history, culture, and geographical diversity of the Pacific Northwest.

The Sandy River marks the western boundary of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, where the Portland metro area ends and the byway begins. From Troutdale (exit 17 on Interstate 84), the road follows the Sandy upstream, then winds uphill through Corbett to your first cliff-top panorama of the Gorge at the Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint.
From Crown Point, the byway drifts down the mountain in gentle arcs suitable for touring cars from the early 20th century, showcasing the highway’s original stonework. You’re soon immersed in a deeply shaded, ferny oasis, where one waterfall after another tumbles from Gorge rim to roadside.
At exit 40, Bonneville Lock and Dam was the first of many dams to tame the Columbia. The extensive Visitors Center includes an underwater window where you can watch fish wriggling up the fish ladder to bypass the hydropower turbines.

What To See Along The Way:

Cape Horn Viewpoint: The Cape Horn trailhead is located at the Skamania County Transit Park & Ride lot near milepost 26 along State Highway 14 at Salmon Falls Road.

Beacon Rock: Beacon Rock State Park is a publicly owned recreation area and natural history site on Route 14 in

Looking oddly out of place amid barren hills at the eastern end of the gorge is this French-style chateau now home to the Maryhill Museum of Art.

the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area about 35 miles east of Vancouver, Washington.

Bonneville Dam: The project’s first powerhouse, spillway and original navigation lock were completed in 1938 to improve navigation on Columbia River and provide hydro-power to the Pacific Northwest. A second powerhouse was completed in 1981, and a larger navigation lock in 1993.

Stevenson: Positioned at the core of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Stevenson is a prime jumping-off point for exploring the southern Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mount St. Helens and other outdoor treasures.

Home Valley Park: Home Valley Park is owned and operated by the county of Skamania, WA. The primitive park offers 24 RV camping or tent camping sites. All roadways and parking spots are gravel. Picnic tables are provided at each camping site.

Cook – Underwood Road Loop: Traverses nearly 15 miles along the slopes of the Columbia River Gorge, north of Washington Highway 14, and stretches from Cook, on the west bank of the Little White Salmon River(RM 161.5), to Underwood, on the west bank of the White Salmon River.
The Dalles Lock and Dam: The Dalles Lock and Dam is 192 miles upriver from the mouth of the Columbia River and two miles east of the city of The Dalles, OR.

 

 

Travel Route #3: Oregon Coast Highway – Oregon

Overview:

Craggy headlands, crashing waves, sandy beaches and rocky tide pools invite exploring. Coastal communities

Driving west of Cape Arago Highway, visitors next encounter a trio of state parks, each one offering something special.

brim with character, some geared toward visitors with galleries and resorts, others simple and sturdy fishing villages where residents still pull their living from the sea. Plentiful public lands offer easy access for outdoor pursuits.  Whether you do the entire drive or explore just a segment, plan to take it slow. This route is a feast for the senses, and frequent stops are practically mandatory. It’s no wonder the Coast is one of Oregon’s 7 Wonders.

Trip Length: Roughly 360 miles
Best Time To Go: Year Round, if you enjoy water activities, it is best to go in summer. You can avoid the heavy travel season by going in the fall.
What To Watch Out For: Since this route is a favorite among travelers, and the road is narrow and winding, please allow ample time.
Must See Nearby Attractions:
Tillamook County Creamery (the largest cheese making plant in Oregon.)
Tillamook Naval Air Museum
Tillamook County Pioneer Museum
Columbia River Maritime Museum

Traveler’s Notes:

Highway 101 winds down the entire Oregon Coast from the Columbia River to the California border. Along the way,

it passes through the old growth forests of Oswald West State Park, name for the Oregon governor who began the process of securing Oregon’s beaches for public use. All but one of the famous McCullough bridges on Highway 101 are still in operation.

Fort Stevens was a coastal defense fort and saw active service from the Civil War days to the end of World War II. Fort Stevens State Park, in addition to excellent camping and RV facilities, has many interesting artifacts from its fort days that continue to intrigue visitors.

Detour out to the Coast’s long, sandy beaches. At Fort Stevens State Park, witness the spectacle of the Columbia Bar, the often-wicked meeting of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean.

 

Nearby, Fort Clatsop re-creates the winter camp of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

 

Across the pretty Siuslaw River Bridge, the rugged coast gives way to mile after mile of high dunes and sandy beaches, stretching all the way to Coos Bay. Near the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, businesses offer dune-buggy tours, sand-boarding equipment and ATV rentals. The recreation area’s headquarters in Reedsport has information and interpretive displays.

What To See Along The Way:

Cape Sebastian State Park: A deep forest of Sitka spruce covers most of the park and a 1.5 mile walking trail takes you out to the lower levels of the cape. If you’re lucky, the trail will give you a chance to enjoy awe-inspiring views of the gray whales on their bi-annual migrations.
Port Orford: You’ll find amazing natural beauty. Fresh, clean air. Unbeaten paths and clear vistas as far as the eye can see.
Cape Blanco State Park: Cape Blanco is the most southern of Oregon’s lighthouses, and is the westernmost point in Oregon.
Bandon by the Sea: Stroll for miles along Bandon’s sandy beaches studded with arresting sea stacks rising out of the surf. The most famous is at Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge and home to the common murre, tufted puffin, western gull and Brandt’s cormorant.
Cape Arago: Located at the end of Cape Arago Highway about 15 miles southwest of Coos Bay, Cape Arago is a scenic headland jutting into the Pacific Ocean.

Oregon Dunes National Rec Area: Wind-sculpted sand dunes towering to 500 feet above sea level provide numerous recreational opportunities including off-highway vehicle use, hiking, photography, fishing, canoeing, horseback riding and camping.
Sea Lion Caves: Sea Lion Caves is a privately owned wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary (since 1932) centrally located just 11 miles north of Florence on the beautiful and rugged Oregon Coast.

 

 

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