The Ultimate Oregon Road Trip
Oregon Is The Perfect State For A Road Trip
From the rugged coastlines of California to the lush landscapes of Hawaii, the US has a vast array of stunning states. As unassuming as it is, Oregon may be one of the most beautiful destinations out of the fifty. With all of it’s natural beauty, Oregon is the perfect place for a summer road trip.
Benefits of Renting a JUCY Van
Growing up at the foothills of the Adirondack mountains, I have done my fair share of hiking and camping. Although sleeping in the wilderness can be fun, investing in camping gear can be expensive! Gathering all of your gear before each trip can be time consuming and stressful. This is just one of the reasons I fell in love with JUCY’s camping vans.
JUCY makes camping easy by renting vans that are essentially a home away from home. The vans come fully equip with all necessary camping items including the kitchen sink–– literally! There is also cutlery, a frying pan, a refrigerator, two gas stoves, all bedding and towels, a GPS, and plenty of outlets to charge all your electronics through the night! JUCY has thought of absolutely everything!
What to See:
I picked up my JUCY rental van in Oakland, California and drove up to Oregon from there. After passing snow covered Mount Shasta, we reached Oregon. The first stop on my list was Running Y Ranch in Klamath Falls for an extraordinary dinner and a good nights sleep.
Running Y Ranch is Home to an 18-hole Arnold Palmer golf course, a spa, and even has on-site horseback riding. One of the most exquisite experiences at the property is having dinner in their greenhouse as the sun sets over the ranch (pictured above). Running Y Ranch is the perfect place to treat yourself before or after a camping road trip!
America’s deepest lake, Crater Lake, is a bucket list destination for any nature lover, photographer, or instagrammer. Although it was 80 degrees in Portland at the time of my visit, Crater Lake was still freezing. The extra long winters make the area chilly, but the snow capped rim is even more stunning as the white snow contrasts with the deep royal blue colors of the lake.
Trusted Travel Tips:
1) FILL UP YOUR TANK! Before heading to Crater Lake, you will want to fill up your tank. There is no gas for miles around and this is not the place to run out of gas, most especially in the winter months.
2) If visiting in winter or spring, the north entrance may be closed so plan accordingly. On my first trip I had planned to make it for sunset and then keep driving towards California but by the time I was able to reach the south entrance and get into the park I had missed sunset and everything was dark!
Bend & Smith Rock
Although Crater Lake may be the most well known destination in Oregon, Bend had been the area I had been wanting to visit the most.
Bend is quite the contrast from the rest of Oregon. The weather is dry, and the landscape resembles the deserts of Arizona more than the nearby Columbia River Gorge. Skiers from all over flock to Mt Bachelor over Mt Hood, due to the dry conditions which create a lighter, more desirable snow on the mountains.
The most notable place to visit in Bend is Smith Rock State Park. Smith Rock is a rock-climbers heaven, and some of the most well known climbers and enthusiasts come to Bend to climb at Smith Rock. The deep river canyons and towering rock formations make for the perfect place to experience sunrise.
Bend is also known for it's incredible local brews. One of the most well-known brewery's in Bend is 10 Barrel Brewing Co. I stopped in for a sour IPA on my bike tour with The Bend Tour Company. I loved the overview and history the guides were able to provide and stopping for a craft beer at 10 Barrel was the perfect ending to the tour.
Trusted Travel Tip: Most IPA's in Oregon have a very high alcohol percentage compared to a regular beer. Be mindful of how much alcohol you are consuming in each glass. I learned this the hard way on a previous visit when two beers felt more like four! As the guy at the ski shop told me the following day "Those IPA's will get ya", so look out!
Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge has some of the most breathtaking hikes and waterfalls. (Some of my favorites are Eagle Creek and Triple Falls)! If you don't have time for a hike but want to see a waterfall, check out Multnomah Falls. This 611 foot waterfall is quite the tourist attraction, so be prepared for crowds. If you can arrive in the early morning you may be able to avoid them!
Save time to visit Rowena Crest at sunset. Rowena Crest is a stunning viewpoint located in the Columbia River Gorge. The pristine waters of the Columbia River and the horseshoe shaped road are absolutely stunning as the sun slips passed the horizon. Rowena Crest is also an iconic instagram spot in Oregon.
Mount Hood is strikingly beautiful. Although it’s not erupting, Mount Hood is an active volcano— that even produces steam and volcanic gassed near the top. It’s so enormous that it is visible from Portland (2 hours away)! Whether you plan to hike it, ski it, or just just take a drive to see it, you will undoubtably be in awe of its beauty and size!
Trusted Travel Tip: The best viewpoint is Trillium Lake (pictured above). Although a rather easy drive in, during the winter you have to hike in 2 miles as the road shuts from the snow.
Portland loves to keep it weird and you will notice all kinds of obscurities around the city- just for the sake of irony. This outdoorsy-turned-hipster-town is home to some of the best restaurants in the country, and an unbelievable beer scene.
One of the best ways to experience the city is via bicycle. On my most recent visit, I took a bike tour with Cycle Portland Bike Tours. Our guide took us on a customized Foodie Field Trip. While we were briefed on the history of Portland, we were treated to some of the city's tastiest eats– including food carts, ice cream and a local brewery!
Trusted Travel Tip: The famed Voodoo Doughnuts seems to be at the top of everyone’s to-do list, but skip it. It’s overrated and there is always a long line. Instead, head to one of the Blue Star locations and prepare to have your mind blown. Doughnuts never tasted so good!
Other Notable Spots:
- Tasty & Alder
- Sisters Coffee Company
- Salt & Straw
- Powell Books Store
- Pittock Mansion (Perfect for sunrise)
- The Vintage
- The Nines
Road Trip Tips:
- Bring CD’s or an auxiliary cord and come up with a road trip playlist. As you drive you will lose radio stations often, or be without any decent ones for long periods of time. Bring your own jams to keep your sanity.
- Pack snacks. Part of the fun of a road trip is snacking and driving. Also the JUCY vans have a fridge and even a stove, which means your drinks will stay cold and you can even buy breakfast items like bacon and eggs! That hardly sounds like “roughing it”— my type of camping.
- Carry cash for tolls!
- Plan ahead, but allow time to get lost and explore. The best part of a road trip is discovering places that many tourists miss, and stopping in small towns along the way!
- Use cruise control. You may avoid getting a ticket if you set the speed ahead of time.
This post was written in partnership with JUCY & Travel Oregon. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.