Northern California to Portland Oregon Road Trip
Updated: Sep 29
I love a good road trip and this one was a good one. We did this one in July 2020 which was perfect as the coast of Oregon can get very chilly. I did this road trip with two of my friends and we had the best time. This part of the country is absolutely beautiful and a must see in my book.
Day 1 - Reno To Lake Tahoe
I highly recommend renting a car if you are just going to Lake Tahoe alone. It's a beautiful place with so much to see ....so you will need a car to explore and see the most while you are there.
Since my friends had gotten in a day earlier I took the shuttle to South Lake Tahoe area to meet them. Reno is the closet airport to Lake Tahoe. If it's cheaper you can also fly into Sacramento but, if not I recommend Reno airport as it is a hour closer to Lake Tahoe.
Where to stay:
So I got to Lake Tahoe around 1 met up with my friends and we were on our way to explore.
This day was all about hiking. There are so many beautiful hikes in Lake Tahoe. I recommend downloading the All Trails app because you will find so many and they are all ranked in difficulty levels. The Hikes we did
The Rubicon Trail
This one is very lengthy but, you can do a short version like we did. Once we got to the trees where we didn't have much of a view we turned around since we didn't have all day to do this one. We saw some gorgeous views!
The Emerald Bay State Park
This was the next hike we did. Now this is a lookout point and you don't have to do any hiking if you don't want to. We hike down to Emerald Bay. This is where you can swim or you could take a picnic down and enjoy it by the water. It's a short hike down but remember you have to go back up this hill. Take water.
My two amazing friends I met up with Kristy from @ventresadventures and Taylor from @brown.eyed.flower.child We had the best time together. After these two hikes we heading back to enjoy a happy hour and get some dinner. We ate at Hacienda Del Lago. It was a delicious mexican food place. There was also a beautiful sunset that night which I always here for.
Day 2-A day on the water
So if you are at Lake Tahoe during the summer a day on the water is a must! It's the most stunning lake I have ever been to and you aren't going to want to miss it.
I mean look how clear that water is! First up we had breakfast at Fire Sign Cafe which was amazing. Then we were on our way to enjoy the water. We had to stop and take a fun picture in the road before of course.
Sand Harbor is a very sought after place to see at Lake Tahoe. With it's gorgeous rocks and beautiful water. What's not to love?! Would be a great place to chill on the beach area or take a paddle board out on the water.
You could spend all day in this spot and never leave if you wanted to. Pack a lunch and enjoy the day. I highly recommend if you want to get parking head to Sand Harbor early!
The water is cold but refreshing at the same time! We enjoyed our day and next time I would love to rent a boat for a least half a day to enjoy. After our day on the water we were ready for dinner. We ate at Riva Grill which I highly recommend! One of the best dinners we had the whole trip!
What I wore in Lake Tahoe
Day 3 Lake Tahoe To Lassen Volcanic National Park
So this day we were heading to Sacramento Airport first to drop off Kristy since she had to get home. On the way out we stopped at the Emerald pools in Nevada City, California. This place is so cool. We were there super early since we had to get to the airport. They say it can get very crowded so get there early. Its a beautiful place and if you are in Lake Tahoe area long enough definitely check this spot out.
It was such a cool spot and a short walk from where we parked. You will be climbing to get to these spots but, It's so stunning. I could see it being even more beautiful once the sun is shinning on the water. It's so clear and beautiful! Now we are off to the airport and then to Lassen. Also once you get close to Lassen you will not have any service so be prepared.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
This place is Gorgeous! We were saying the whole time how beautiful it is! If you live close to here or your in the area it's worth a stop for sure.
It will cost you $30 per vehicle to enter which is so worth it. Stop in at the vistor's center to grab a map and use the restroom before you start your journey. Our first stop was Sulpher works. You will notice the smell when you get close. Pull over! We hiked up a little ways but didn't go the whole way cause we wanted to see as much as we could while we were here.
Make a stop at Emerald Lake! The views are beautiful! There are several spots to hike along the way. I would love to go back when I have more time to explore more.
Next we did this small hike to Cold Boiling Lake. It's a short 1/2 mile easy hike. It was really cool to see this boiling in the middle of a meadow. There is also many campsites throughout the park if that is something you are down for! Would recommend this if you have the time! This park has so much to explore.
Our last stop at this park was Manzanita Lake! This view of the mountain and the lake was just stunning! We parked at the campgroud and walked to this spot not far from where we parked.
We stayed in Redding, California which is about 45 mins from Lassen.
Total amount of driving time was 4.5-5 hours the whole day!
Dinner - La Cocina De Chuy in Redding, California
Where we stayed- Best Western Plus Twin View Inn & Suites
Day 4 Redding, California to Redwood National Forest
These trees are absolutely stunning. I can't believe how tall they get. Most of these trees get to be 370 feet tall! This is truly amazing to see in person. We hiked down the Tall tree grove trail. Its about a 4 mile trail moderate trail. It's so beautiful at the bottom. Would recommend good shoes for going down.
You could literally fit inside the trees! I can't even explain how big they really are. It was an amazing site to see though. We drove around a little more after this and came to this spot
It was a gorgeous view not to far from the trail! If you turn out right from the trail you will get to this spot not to far away. This park has multiple entrances so just remember that and you will also have no service when you get to this park either. The weather up here was beautiful about 75. At the bottom where we entered the park it was in the 50's. So bring a jacket.
We drove up to Klamath Overlook after leaving the park. On a clear day it would be so beautiful but unfortunately it was so cloudy when we were there so you could't see much.
Where we stayed- Best Western- Crescent City, California
Dinner- SeaQuake Brewing
Total Drive time- About 4.5 hours
Day 5- Oregon coast to Eugene, Oregon
The Natural Bridges was our first stop and it didn't disappoint! Remember to bring your jackets because it was rather chilly this morning. So at this point you can just pullover and lookout at the viewpoint or you can take the hike down. It's a very steep trail and I would recommend either hiking boots or good shoes to go down. We didn't go on top of the bridge but you can if you are brave enough. This is a must stop along the Oregon coast!
Next up Coos Bay
We were so happy the sun had come out at this point as it was so gorgeous.
I personally think of the stops we made on the coast in Oregon. This was my favorite! How to find this spot search for Cape Arago State Park. There was many little spots along this road to drive to the coast they are all so beautiful. It still was chilly but better since the sun had come out.
We probably spent about a hour exploring this area! I think this is a must if you ever are on the coast of Oregon! Now we were off again to do a little hiking and see some waterfalls!
Sweet Creeks Fall
This hike was incredible! The picture's don't do it justice! It's so lush and green and just WOW!
This is a very easy hike! I think it was about 3 miles on my watch after we got back to the car! This is a MUST! It's like a magical little spot right off the highway on your way to Eugene. Look it up on the All Trails app and it will take you straight to it!
It reminded me a lot of Bali just from how lush and green it was!
Now we were off to Eugene to find dinner and rest for the night! There isn't many places to stop to eat from Crescent City until you get to Eugene. We stopped at Subway for a quick lunch right before Sweet Creek Falls. We ate at a cute little area in Eugene called Oakway Center. There are many choices around this area with lots of nice shops as well. We ate at Sabai Cafe and Bar.
It was delicious and just what we needed after a long journey that day
Where we stayed- Home2 Suites by Hilton Downtown Eugene
Where we ate- Sabai Cafe and Bar
Total drive time- About 5-6 hours
Day 6 Eugene to Mt Hood to Portland
This drive was gorgeous coming up to this mountain. We were heading to go hiking and this is close to a ski area so it was just so beautiful. As you can tell the mountain still has snow on it in July so just be prepared for that. After we starting hiking the weather was so nice with beautiful blue skies!
This is what you see at the end of the trail! The trail itself was gorgeous with lots of great views along the way. I would say this hike is more moderate cause you do have to climb a bit but nothing to difficult and for sure worth it! It's about a 3.5 mile trail round trip so fairly short. We both loved this hike and I would do it again for sure!
This is where you climb up but nothing hard just wear the proper shoes and you will do great.
Such a beautiful day with the prettiest blue skies! This day could not have been more perfect!
After that trail we drove around a bit to find a good spot to take a picture of the mountain! You kinda can just drive around a little bit and you will find a spot! This spot was just around the corner from that trail! It was stunning!
After this we were ready to get to Portland check in to our hotel, grab some dinner and relax a bit!
We stayed at the cutest hotel in the perfect spot! Walking distance to many restuarants and shops.
Inn At Northup Portland, Oregon
Such a cute bright hotel! The rooftop was so fun and we enjoyed having a glass of wine out there at night! I loved it and would stay there again. It was so fun.
Whats better than sushi after a long day of hiking and exploring the area!
Where we ate-
Breakfast in Eugene at Off the Waffle (highly recommend)
Dinner in Portland at Sansai Fresh Japanese Grill
Where we stayed- Inn At Northup
Total drive time- around 5 hours
Day 7 Exploring Portland, Oregon
We decided the last day we would stay close and just explore the city! Of course we had to get a picture by this sign before the trip was over!
Both were so beautiful and a great place to take pictures in Portand as well!
Next we made our way to Cathedral Park. This would be a great place to bring a picnic and enjoy with the family or a day date. Lot's of people out walking, running, biking, or having a picnic lunch! Such a fun place to hang out on a summer day! Now it was time to grab a snack, happy hour and dinner!
First we grabbed some ice cream at Salt & Straw. Sooo good! They change the flavors monthly but what I had was delicious! Then we walked down to Breakside Brewery. The perfect place for happy hour. I'm not a fan of beer so I was glad they had wine! We spent about a hour or so just enjoying the beautiful weather and talking. We were hungry at this point so we found Serratto Restuarant and bar for dinner! A good place for great pizza! We also had Pine State Biscuits for breakfast and it was delicious.
What I wore in Oregon
All in all we had the best time on this road trip and it turned out to be the perfect route! I can't wait to go back and explore more of Oregon! It's such beautiful state with so much to see! If you have any question feel free to email me at email@example.com or comment below!