Last June, my three friends and I embarked on a one-week road trip from Los Angeles to Oregon in our rented Jeep Patriot, Cheryl (yes, we named our car). There were an endless amount of sights, to say the least. Similar to California, but utterly different in its own ways, Oregon encompasses an abundance of waterfalls, lakes, mountains, rivers, valleys- you get my point. Although our trip was short, we had the time of our lives (despite those inevitable, brief times of bickering haha) and we were able to witness some serious natural beauty. Here are a few tips and an itinerary to use for your next trip:
We intentionally left L.A. on a late Sunday night in order to forego accommodation costs for the night.
1. McArthur-Burney Falls: We arrived here at around 9 a.m. and felt pretty awake after a long night on the road. After parking your car, you'll catch a glimpse of the waterfall. Thereafter, you'll walk for 5-10 minutes down a ramp and reach the bottom of the falls. I'd only previously seen pictures of this spot online, but wow- this waterfall was mesmerizing. The waterfall is wide, unlike typical waterfalls, with vibrant, dark turquoise water beneath it. It is surrounded by luscious green plants, making it a great place for a photo op!
2. Yak's on the 5: Yes, as the name suggests, this quaint restaurant is right along the 5 freeway. This is a great place to stop if you're on the way north. Yak's specializes in unique burgers, and they did not disappoint. It's not surprising that they are a part of Yelp's Top 100 in the nation.
3. Crater Lake: After a filling meal, we drove for approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes north to our next destination- Crater Lake National Park. This place was truly postcard worthy. In mid-June, there was still some lingering snow on the ground and along the mountainsides, but the weather was warm enough for us to get away with wearing t-shirts. We had perfect visibility of the lake. The blue water was so clear that it essentially mirrored the hovering clouds and surrounding mountains.
4. Airbnb in Bend
In case you were wondering what we had for dinner the previous night and for our second day's breakfast, let me just preface the rest of this blog post by stating that McDonald's is a college student's BFF.
1. Painted Hills: Our first stop was Painted Hills, which makes up one of three units at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. The hills displayed streaks of red, yellow, tan, and orange. Its formation began 35 million years ago through a series of volcanic eruptions- crazy, right? My favorite part of the monument was the boardwalk, which is positioned between vibrant red and orange hills. However, overall, I felt a bit underwhelmed and would not suggest visiting this spot unless it's along the way.
2. Rowena Crest: When I initially began following photography influencers on Instagram, I frequently saw posts of Rowena Crest during all seasons- winter, fall, summer, and spring. It had been on my bucket list for the longest time, and I was not disappointed. We began the trek to the top up a windy, scenic road. The viewpoint overlooks a ginormous horseshoe curve along the road, and also overlooks the Columbia River Gorge.
3. Multnomah Falls: This was my second time at Multnomah Falls, but it was still as breathtaking. I'm sure you've all heard of or seen pictures of this famous waterfall. The fall is split between an upper fall and a lower fall, and it's the tallest waterfall in Oregon. This site attracts approximately two million visitors a year, so I'd recommend coming early if you're trying to get the perfect photo op.
4. Airbnb in Portland
5. Grassa: This was also my second time at Grassa, and for good reason. This hip Italian restaurant serves affordable, and delicious pasta. Their carbonara and pork belly mac and cheese are rich in flavor, and very creamy. This restaurant is becoming my go-to dinner spot in Portland.
1. Wahclella Falls: Feeling energized, we began our day with a short, 2-mile roundtrip hike. Wahclella Falls is amongst one of the more popular hikes in the Columbia River Gorge. Because of its short length and picturesque ending, the crowds can become busier during warmer months. Nonetheless, the waterfall itself was beautiful and raging water.
2. Gravy: We had a quick breakfast at Gravy before heading down the Oregon Coast to our next Airbnb. This is a popular brunch spot in Portland as the portions are humongous and the prices are affordable.
3. Oregon Coast: The drive down the Oregon Coast is similar to that of the Pacific Coast Highway, but with its own quirks and natural beauty. It is aligned with massive rocks, bridges, easy accessibility to the waterfront, small towns, and lush greens. There are a plentiful amount of sights to see along the way. We stopped by Thor's Well, the infamous sinkhole along the Oregon Coast. It is often characterized as being dangerous due to strong waves in this particular area. Of course, being my clumsy self, I fell into the water and damaged the only pair of sandals I brought.
1. Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor: You could spend several hours or even days exploring this scenic section of the Oregon Coast as there of a ton of beaches, headlands, viewpoints, sea arches, and hikes. Specifically, we wanted to see the Natural Bridges. Following the directions of other visitors, we trekked down a very, very steep hill in order to get the best view. I attached a picture below to show the end result, and yep- it was completely worth it.
2. Avenue of the Giants: We drove through the Avenue of the Giants, which is 31-mile highway that runs through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. As you cruise down this narrow stretch of road, you are surrounded by magnificent, towering trees. When we pulled over to look at the Redwoods, it felt almost magical to be standing amongst such spectacular trees.
3. Chandelier Drive-Through Tree: This was a fun place to stop by on the way down to San Francisco. For $10, you can drive your car through a Redwood tree- why the heck not? Our Jeep Patriot was able to fit through the tree, and it gave us a good laugh.
4. Head down to San Francisco
This is the perfect day to relax and spend your day in the city before heading back down to Los Angeles. I had breakfast with my friends and they dropped me off at SFO that afternoon. Next stop- New York City!
1. Be flexible: With road trips, there will undoubtedly be unplanned circumstances along the way, or some things may not go as planned. Don't fret- just go with the flow and have fun!
2. Pumping your own gas is illegal in Oregon: Yup, that's right. The main reason for this is that it creates jobs. Don't be so shocked when you see someone pumping your gas for you- it's normal here!
3. Bring a raincoat: Even during summer days, there may be a slight chance of rain. Be prepared and pack a light raincoat for the worst-case scenario.
4. No sales tax: Let me repeat, no sales tax. For travelers, this is great. If you love shopping, get ready to shop til ya drop! I'm not a huge shopper, so this wasn't applicable for me.