Climbing, Hiking, Riding and Camping-Oregon’s Smith Rock State Park

Travel about three hours straight north of Reno, NV and you’ll find a place the most active of RV campers won’t want to leave.  Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon has it all—challenging rock formations to climb, miles of trails for mountain bikers, hikers and horseback riders and dramatic rock spires to spice up your vacation videos.  Best of all, there are RV campgrounds surrounding the park to make it easy to explore in comfort.

Sound like your dream RV camping vacation? Let’s start planning!

Where to Camp Near Smith Rock State Park

You won’t be able to RV camp within the state park, but no worries—you’ve got plenty of options a short drive away.

  • Redmond/Central Oregon KOA near Madras is popular with families and about twenty miles from the park.
  • Crooked River Ranch RV Park north of Terrebonne is also a twenty-minute drive from Smith Rock.  It’s loaded with amenities and adjacent to a golf course, for even more outdoor recreation.
  • Skull Hollow Campground is twelve miles away in Crooked River National Grassland. Fill the fresh water tanks before you come (no hook-ups) and get ready to experience dazzling views of Gray Butte when you come home to rest from your Smith Rock adventures.
Smith Rock State Park, OR

Smith Rock State Park, OR

What to Do at Smith Rock State Park

The real question is, “What not to do at Smith Rock?”  The short answer is, “Don’t plan to be bored!”  With more than six-hundred-acres of volcanic rock formations soaring above the Crooked River, there’s enough room for everyone to play.   Just a few ideas:

Climb! Sport climbing, crack climbing, aid climbing, you name it, there’s a perfect place to climb a rock face at Smith Rock.  You’ll even find those gravity-defying slackliners walking the ropes high above.  The walls and spires here go as high as five hundred feet, with multi-pitch routes, rim rock and sheer drops to be experienced.  Pick your favorite climbing area, or better yet, hire a local climbing guide to show you the ropes at Smith Rock. Either way, you’ll be challenged and you simply can’t beat the views!

Ride! Mountain bikers from around the country have discovered Smith Rock State Park, thanks to the network of hard clay trails with enough switchbacks and gravel to keep things plenty interesting.  Routes like the heart-pumping, seven-mile Summit Trail skirt enormous boulders, scoot along the river gorge and pound downhill from elevations above three-thousand feet.

If you like to take your trails on horseback, you’ll find two multi-use trails within Smith Rock SP that offer gorgeous scenery and the chance to connect with longer trails on adjacent BLM land.  Local trail ride outfitters can provide an unforgettable experience of Smith Rock, as well. 

Run, Hike, Wander!  With so many epic trails to indulge your trail running, hiking or leisurely strolling yen, you’ll soon be scheduling your return camping trip to Smith Rock.  Run the Summit Trail to give your lungs a real workout (and reward yourself with panoramic views at the top.)  Hike the Misery Ridge Trail for a stunning view of the river valley and Monkey Face. Follow the Rim Rock Trail on the edge of the Gorge for heart-stopping vistas and a chance to watch the climbers in action.  These are just three of the trails to follow on foot at Smith Rock. Pick one or combine several to discover this marvelous place from the ground up.

Plan a Trip Soon to Smith Rock SP

There are few spots as memorable for outdoor recreation as Oregon’s Smith Rock State Park. If RV comfort is your preferred mode of camping, by all means bring it along—there’s a pretty place to park the RV nearby.  Plan your adventure, pick a campsite and get moving.  It’s time you, too, discovered the fabled wonders of Smith Rock.

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RV Rentals for 2017’s Total Solar Eclipse

Astronomers, photographers and people who are fascinated by astronomical wonders are going to want to gear up now for the first total solar eclipse visible in America since 1991. On August 21, 2017, the shadow of the moon will begin eclipsing the sun until it completely envelops the sun’s brilliance for more than two minutes. Even more amazing, it will be the first time in ninety-nine years that the eclipse will move from west to east across the US. It’s a sight worth planning for!

Fortunately for eclipse enthusiasts, there are many places along the US viewing trajectory where a full eclipse can be seen, but it will take some planning to be in the right place at the right time! Renting an RV will keep you mobile as you move around weather patterns and other interference, giving you the best chance of seeing a sight most people will never get to see-the entire solar eclipse.

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse

When and Where Can I See the Total Eclipse?

Thanks to excellent eclipse viewing maps already created (see links below) we can plan our best viewing locations early. Here are the basics for following the path of the Pacific to Atlantic total solar eclipse:

  1. The ‘path of totality’ is an approximately sixty-mile-wide band of optimum viewing space along a trajectory from Oregon to South Carolina.
  2. The moon’s shadow will come between the earth and the sun at 10:15 a.m. PDT on the Oregon Pacific coast, traveling across America on a diagonal until it is visible from the South Carolina Atlantic coast at 2:45 p.m. EDT.
  3. People outside the path of totality may be able to see partial phases of the eclipse, but not the entire celestial event.
  4. Each location along the path will have approximately two minutes of optimum eclipse viewing.
  5. Clouds and weather patterns may interrupt eclipse viewing late in the game, hence the need to stay mobile.
  6. Eclipse followers from all over the world will be coming to America for this amazing event.

How Can We Start Planning?

This unusual event is sparking plenty of interest among astronomy clubs, foreign visitors, schools and homeschooling groups and government agencies. That doesn’t even take into account the average Jane or Joe who hopes to watch in an unfettered location along the eclipse trajectory. 

Fortunately, plenty of folks in the know have created websites, maps and guides to help you start planning. Here are just a few of the places to find complete information on the 2017 total solar eclipse:

  1. com
  2. org
  3. NASA Eclipse Website
  4. Eclipsophile Climate and Weather Guide

Use these helpful websites to determine where along the eclipse viewing path you’d like to set up camp. If you plan to do dispersed camping on BLM or Forest Service public lands in the West, be sure to contact the local office to determine where camping is available. Plan to arrive early, as interest is truly unprecedented and campsites will fill fast, especially in open locations.

If you plan to set up camp in a developed campground and then use your toad or tow vehicle to follow the eclipse, be sure to make reservations early, as eclipse mania will fill campgrounds fast along the best viewing routes. This is especially important for groups hoping to camp together for the event. Here is a helpful link to campgrounds in many states.

Tip: Keeping checking Community Eclipse Viewing Pages such as this one for updates on what plans are being made to welcome and encourage eclipse viewers along the ‘path of totality’.

You’ll also want to reserve RV rentals as early as possible for your family or group. Use this RV rental guide to determine what configuration recreational vehicle works best for you, where the closest RV rental location is and what the budget needs to be for your eclipse-viewing trip.

What’s left to plan? Here’s a quick checklist to get you started:

  • Transportation to the US from other countries
  • Transportation to RV rental location
  • Best route to eclipse viewing location and other attractions along the way
  • Purchasing protective eyewear certified for full solar viewing during the eclipse
  • Packing the equipment, clothing and food supplies appropriate for your length of stay
  • Planning an eclipse viewing party to celebrate this singular event!
  • For teachers and homeschoolers, prepare lesson plans around the science, history and mythology of eclipses

August 21, 2017 could well go down in history as one of the best documented and most viewed total solar eclipses ever. Renting an RV to follow the eclipse puts you in the best possible place for playing your own part in this memorable occasion.

Posted in North American RV Vacation, OR RV Vacation, RV Rentals, Vacation Planning | 2 Comments

RV Camping Along Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway

When we hit the road this Spring and Summer, let’s find something fascinating to explore! One of the most unusual geological regions in America can be found between Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California and Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon. Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway connects the two parks and offers ample opportunity for RV camping along the way.

Where to Start

No matter which end of the Byway is your starting point on this 500-mile round trip journey, it’s going to be extraordinary. California visitors will find Lassen Volcanic National Park, the southern terminus, about two and a half hours north of Sacramento on I-5.

If you’re starting at the northern end of the Byway, you’ll find your starting point at Crater Lake National Park northeast of Medford about 80 miles on OR-140.

What You’ll See & Where to Camp

Whether it’s waterfalls, volcanic lava fields, sparkling mountain lakes or the stunning sight of Mount Shasta, following the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway won’t disappoint. Scenic campsites along the way are an added bonus.

Here are just a few premier points of interest to discover on your route.

  • Pelican Bay on Upper Klamath Lake in northern Oregon is a stop you’ll definitely want to make. Paddle a water trail, fish for record-breaking trout or simply take in the view made famous by John Muir’s writings. RV campgrounds near Klamath Falls will let you camp close to the Bay.
  • Castle Crags State Park – Pick a campsite and then hike the trails for unforgettable views of massive granite crags and Mount Shasta.
  • Lava Beds National Monument/Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge – Lava tube caves, Native American rock art and RV camping in the nearby towns of Tionesta and Tulelake can make this a special stop for Byway travelers who like the unusual. The wildlife refuge is one more reason to make this side trip, with an auto tour through marshes and grasslands for bird watchers.
  • Dunsmuir, CA – History buffs will love this vintage railroad town in the shadow of Mount Shasta. Bring your fly fishing gear—the trout stream in town is legendary! Save time on your trip to admire the waterfalls between Dunsmuir and Mount Shasta, too.
  • Lake Almanor – Located near the southern end of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, Lake Almanor in Lassen National Forest is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Hundreds of forest campsites are available and a shoreline hike promises spectacular views.
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park – Mudpots, a bubbling hot lake and the scenic remnants of volcanoes are only three of the attractions RV travelers will find at this park at the Byway’s southern terminus. Primitive and developed campgrounds within the national park make it easy to extend your stay as you hike and drive through thousands of acres of natural attractions.
  • Crater Lake National Park at the Byway’s northern entrance is a remarkable place to begin or end your journey. The view of the lake is worthy of many vacation photos,
    Picture of Crater Lake in Oregon

    Picture of Crater Lake in Oregon

    so why not hike the rim trail once you’ve set up camp? See how many of the lake’s ‘wizard islands’ formed by cinder cones you can spot. Speaking of campgrounds, the park’s Mazama Campground has both primitive and developed sites. 

Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway provides RV travelers the chance to experience stunning views and exciting outdoor recreation. You’ll also learn about the history of northern California and southern Oregon with intimate side trips into the countryside, visiting quaint towns and historic attractions.

Let us help with a California RV rental and feel free to use our handy list of California campgrounds to plan your trip. We can’t wait to hear about the memories that RV camping along the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway creates.

Posted in CA, CA RV Camping, CA RV Vacation, CA Vacation, OR RV Vacation | Leave a comment

Oregon’s Honeyman State Park-Four Tips for RV Camping Fun

School may be starting, but there’s still plenty of time for a weekend of R&R on the Central Oregon Coast. Load up the family and go RV camping to Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park. This coastal wonderland offers dozens of ways to relax and enjoy the weekend. We’ve narrowed it down to four top tips for making the most of your Honeyman State Park RV camping vacation.

Reserve an Awesome Campsite

With the second largest camping area in Oregon, Honeyman State Park has plenty of options when it comes to scenic campsites. Close to the park’s famous dunes, Lakes Cleawox and Woahink and plenty of hiking trails, the campground becomes the center your Oregon RV camping weekend.  Book one of more than three hundred campsites before you come, to make sure you have the services you prefer.

Jump, Boat or Fish in a Lake

Not only will your campsite be a quick drive to the beach, you’ll also be just down the road from two breathtaking, tree-lined lakes. Cleawox Lake is a highly-praised swimming spot, with tall, Pacific Ocean dunes on one side and a forest of pines on the other. It’s a great place to paddle the shoreline in a kayak and watch for wildlife, as well.

Woahink Lake is also within Honeyman State Park’s boundaries, and offers a different experience for Oregon RV travelers. Much larger than Cleawox, Woahink is the perfect spot to enjoy a day on jet skis or behind a ski boat. Fishing here for largemouth bass and yellow perch is also popular among anglers, so don’t forget your gear!

Hike the Dunes!

Did we mention the presence of two-mile-wide sand dunes that lead to the Pacific while providing a backdrop for Lake Cleawox?

Many park visitors spend a day or two learning the joys of dune hiking, or for more adventurous souls, sandboarding, up and down these windswept formations. Either way, the views are awesome, so you’ll be glad you reached the summit. Don’t own sandboards? Look for local outfitters in nearby Florence, OR who’ll be happy to supply what you need.   shutterstock_57728056_Oregon_coast

Take an OHV Adventure

One of the main reasons people come to the Central Oregon Coast is to embark on an off-highway vehicle (OHV) adventure at Honeyman’s dunes and adjacent Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. With miles of dunes designated for OHV use, you’re sure to find an area suited to your level of riding skill.

Just off Highway 101 and filled with possibilities, Honeyman State Park is ready to help your family relax and rejuvenate before school is back in full swing! Take time right now to book your campsite, pack your RV or set up an RV rental and get ready to unwind at Oregon’s Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park.

Posted in OR RV Vacation, RV Vacation, State Park RV Camping, State Parks | Leave a comment

Oregon Caves National Monument – a Novel RV Vacation Experience in the Northwest!

If you’re looking for a fun and unique RV trip to take before the end of summer, but have no idea to which destination you want the road to take you, then this article may provide the perfect solution to your dilemma!  There’s so much to explore in this vast and beautiful country, so we didn’t have to search too far to discover this little RV vacation gem in the Northwest.  The Oregon Caves National Monument is one of the best outdoors vacation destinations in the Pacific Northwest, and an RV vacation is the perfect way to get there and enjoy your visit!

Gorgeous Nature Path at the Oregon Caves National Monument

Gorgeous Nature Path at the Oregon Caves National Monument

To start off your trip, pick up your RV in Sacramento, and you’ll be rolling towards the caves in less than a day.  On your way to the monument, make sure you pause to take in the redwoods of northern California.  These giant trees have to be seen to be believed.  The redwoods get so big that some have roads running through them!  Your RV probably won’t fit through one of these natural wooden tunnels, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a great spot to stop and stretch your legs during the drive.

Once you arrive at your destination, you’ll need a good RV campground, and Lone Mountain RV is well-liked by visitors to the area.  After setting up, head down to Cave Junction and grab a bite to eat.  Lots of visitors enjoy the jerky at Taylor’s Country Store, but if you’re in the mood for something a bit more upscale (and historic) consider stopping at the “Chateau at the Oregon Caves.”  This lodge is one of several that were built in Oregon in the 1930’s, and it is on the list of the Great Lodges of the National Parks.  You can just get coffee if you like or stay for a whole meal in a dining room that has a stream running through it!

If there’s one thing you can count on in Oregon, it’s rain, and it was the effect of rainwater sinking through the forest floor that created the caves.   The rain eroded the underground marble to the point that it created these rare and beautiful caves full of awe-inspiring formations.   Exploring these caves is a great way to cool off from the summer heat.  Kids love to go exploring and these caves are sure to bring out the kid in you as well.

Oregon Caves National Monument

Oregon Caves National Monument

The best way to visit the caves is by means of a park service guided tour.  The professional park rangers can teach you all about the long history of these stone chambers.  In addition to exploring through formations like the “Throne Room” and the “Ghost Room,” visitors can also walk along a creek that disappears into the ground and then flows through the cave itself.  In all, the cave passages are more than 15,000 feet long.  The park that surrounds the cave also boasts eight smaller caves.

During the summer you can take a tour that is guided by candlelight in order to get a feeling for the way the first explorers saw these natural wonders.  Also, later in the year during October, guides deliver “Haunted Candlelight Tours” where you just might hear a few local ghost stories mixed in with the history of these spooky caverns!

Whether you decide to go now or to wait till later in the season, the Oregon Caves National Monument is fun trip for getting the whole family outside and exploring underground.  Start planning your RV vacation today!

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE!  or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo credits:  Nature path by James Chang and the Oregon Caves National Monument center by James Wellington both are licensed under Flickr Commons.

Posted in Family RV vacations, Motor home vacation blog, National Parks, Nature travel, Nature/Sightseeing vacation, North American National Preserve vacation, North American RV Vacation, OR RV Vacation, RV blog, RV Campgrounds, RV destination, RV Destinations blog, RV Rentals, RV Sales, RV Summer Vacations, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation Ideas, RV vacations in the northwestern United States, United States RV Vacation | Leave a comment

Planning an RV Vacation so All Goes Smoothly

You want your RV vacation to be the best that it can be for everyone.  After all, a vacation is supposed to relieve all the stress built up from living day-to-day in your workaday world.  But if you are not fully prepared, you will be adding stress to your vacation days.  Let’s see how we can prepare you for your RV vacation and have a worry-free getaway.

Florida Keys, Florida USA

Florida Keys,

First, you need to know your destination and how you’ll get there.  You will find El Monte RV Rentals all over the United States where you can obtain the ideal motor home for your trip.  We offer free “RV Camping Itineraries” that provide  mapped-out courses and destinations for your convenience.

You can either “fly-drive” to your destination or pick up your motor home locally and enjoy the drive and adventures along the way that only RV travel can offer!  Don’t forget that in many cases you can take advantage of our free airport shuttle service in major airport cities.  Check our website for availability.

Here’s a possible RV Travel Itinerary:  you can rent an RV from El Monte RV Rentals in Orlando, find a nice camping spot, visit some Orlando sights, and then head to the Keys for more fun.  On the way to the Florida Keys there are plenty of sights to see and you’ll want to allow time to stop and enjoy them all.  You may want to refer to previous postings on our Monty’s Musings blog to learn about many exciting destinations to visit in Florida in your RV.

From Orlando, you could head east to Fox Lake Sanctuary, then south on Interstate 95 to the Florida Keys and beautiful Key Largo.  For a winter vacation, you really can’t beat the Keys.  You will meet creative types who spend their time making unique art, beachcomber types who relax all day along the sandy beaches, and swim with the dolphins.  Use Google and maps on the Internet to plan your route and everything you want to see on the way.

If you don’t want to bring your pets along, you can contact a pet-sitter or the kennel in advance to ensure they have an opening for your time away.  But if you prefer keeping Fido with you, it’s good to know that El Monte RV is a “Pet-Friendly” company and supports taking the family pets along!  Also remember to check out the weather forecast for that area for the time you will be there.  It is surprising how accurate these weather forecasts can be.  You will then know what to pack, or even if you should put off your vacation for a few days to miss a storm.

You will want to prepare your smartphone and laptop for the trip.  Download some apps to make your vacation more exciting.  You can find apps online and pick the ones you’ll use the most.  Perhaps you’ll choose the one which forecasts weather down to the hour or perhaps the one which identifies animal tracks.  There are many to choose from.

Now begin to pack for your trip.  First make a detailed list of every item you want to bring and as you pack them, mark them off.  This way you’ll forget nothing.  Remember, when packing clothes, roll them instead of folding.  This prevents wrinkles.  There’s lots of storage in motor homes, so taking “it all with you” is usually not a problem!

When you prepare and plan out your trip, you will find everything less stressful and more enjoyable.  Have a great RV vacation!

El Monte RV Official Logo

El Monte RV Official Logo

For information on renting an RV in or near Orlando, Florida – CLICK HERE or if you need to rent a motor home outside the state of Florida,  -CLICK HERE

Picture credits: The photo of Florida Keys was found on Flickr Commons. It is licensed under the Explore/Creative Commons license.

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Experience Vineyards Fall Color on an RV Trip to Oregon

A top pick for an RV trip this fall is getting up to Newberg, Oregon to see the autumn leaves turning. Beginning in mid-October, you’ll see great colors as the leaves change to amazing displays of different hues. Only about 25 miles southwest of Portland, you will be in the rural forests of Yamhill County and get to view the region’s fall color glory.

Autumn Driveway in Newberg, Oregon

Autumn Driveway in Newberg, Oregon

All around Newberg is the gorgeous Willamette Valley, with more than 170 wineries. The best part of spending time touring this valley is that the leaves in the area’s vineyards add to the color as their leaves also change color during the fall. In addition to the vineyard colors, you will also be able to discover other great things to do on this Oregon vacation.

Willamette Valley Wineries offer many opportunities for special wine tasting experiences, as well as fall celebrations with music and food. Wine country fun awaits you here – the perfect place to get away and enjoy nature, delicious food and lots of friendly folk.

Now to get into the outdoors and get some scenic views that are enhanced by autumn colors. Bald Peak State Park is only nine miles north of Newberg and offers some outdoor fun for the whole family. On those fall days that are clear, you will be able to see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood and other magnificent peaks in the distance. Have a picnic and let the kids play in the play areas.

Champoeg Park is another spot where you can hike among fall brilliance on the banks of the Willamette River. There are many hiking and biking trails and picnic sites. Visit and learn more at the visitor center and see an 1860-style garden right next door. A guided walk is always fun so you can learn all about the pioneers who settled this region.

Also in Champoeg Park you can get a taste of history. See the Historic Butteville Store which was founded in 1863. There is also camping for RVs in the park, with more than 67 sites with water and about 8 full hookup sites. They also have an RV dump station.

Roger’s Landing is the place to go if weather will permit boating. You don’t have to get out on the water in a boat however. You can just explore the docks or engage in some bird watching. Fish for salmon or go hiking. There is plenty to do here!

When you are an aviation buff, you will want to travel ten miles to McMinnville to visit the Evergreen Aviation Museum. They have a world class collection of various aircraft, including the famous Hughes flying boat. Enjoy a show at the IMAX Theater while you are here.

Yes, Oregon has it all in the fall or at any time of year. But when you want a fascinating and colorful autumn trip in an RV, you will find it all south of Portland at Newberg and the surrounding valley.

Picture credits: The picture of a driveway in Newburg, Oregon is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Posted in Fall Foliage, OR RV Vacation, RV Vacation | Leave a comment

Travel the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway in an RV for a Unique Experience

Picture of Lassen Peak as seen from the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway

Lassen Peak as seen from the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway.

Get ready for an adventurous journey in an RV to see the legacy left us by the volcanic activity of yesteryear.  This is one trip that not only takes you into the beauty of the Shasta Cascade area, but affords you the opportunity for an unlimited amount of outdoor recreation. You will travel through forests, wetlands and farmlands to come to a sense of peace and pleasure in Northern California and the southern part of Oregon.

Start your trip near California’s Lake Almanor and stay awhile to enjoy boating, fishing and sailing. Numerous trails provide summertime hiking and the chance to explore the lake and forests. When you reach Chester, you should visit the statue of the famous logger, Paul Bunyan. Take a short side trip to Susanville and perhaps hike on the Bizz Johnson National Recreational Trail.

Only a few miles away you will come upon the famous Lassen Volcanic National Park with its unique geothermal features such as hot springs and fumaroles. You must be sure to include Bumpass Hell on your itinerary when here. This is where a man named Kendall Bumpass stepped through the thin crust of the earth and burned his leg so badly he had to have it amputated. His tragedy has become immortalized here.

When you reach Old Station as you drive north, you will have the opportunity for more hiking on the trails in the area, including Lassen Trail and Nobles Emigrant Trail. Also a must-see is the Subway Cave where you will walk through a lava tube. You’ll need a sweater or jacket, as it gets quite chilly inside. Don’t forget your flashlight either as there is no lighting. If you want to get in some fishing, nearby Hat Creek is one of the best places to go for trout.

As you enter Butte Valley, you will be traveling through the only National Grasslands in the state. Particularly known for the wide variety of wildlife, this area is an incredible place to fit in some bird watching time. This is a High Desert plateau with many lovely communities to pass through. Drive along Highway 97 and catch views of many natural sights. Butte Valley’s Wildlife Refuge is definitely a place to explore.

When reaching Tule Lake, more water sports are waiting for you. Take another side trip to Lava Beds National Monument for more unusual volcanic features such as cinder cones, lava tubes and more! This is a place of wonder for any traveler to enjoy!

As you approach the end of your journey, you can stop in Klamath to look around and also perhaps take time out for some golf at the Running Y Ranch. You will officially end your trip at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon where the violent volcanic activity of years gone by is evident and will show you some of the mysteries of our earth. What an educational and recreational RV trip this has been, and you wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

Posted in CA, CA RV Camping, CA RV Vacation, CA Vacation, OR RV Vacation, RV Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas | Tagged | Leave a comment

Traveling Along the Columbia River Highway on an Autumn RV Adventure

Picture of the Columbia River Gorge from Crown Point

Columbia River Gorge Looking East from Crown Point

Jump into an RV motorhome and drive the Columbia River Highway for a unique adventure. This is one scenic excursion that will provide some amazing views. Fall is a wonderful time to go because you will miss the summer vacationers and the parking problems. You’ll also experience beautiful autumn colors as the trees turn.

Yes, Columbia River Gorge during autumn is something to see. And the trip in late fall is one not to miss. The drive takes about one and a half hours, however you will certainly want to allow more time for this 90-mile drive as there are plenty of places to stop along the way. Begin the trip in Troutdale, OR and spend some time there seeing the sights.

Remember, you won’t find a lack of RV camping on the drive. In fact, a great place to stay is the Bridge RV Park and Campground across from the Hood River Bridge. It has quiet and peaceful accommodations with great views.

First stop should be the Lewis and Clark State Park at the western gateway to the gorge. This is also the entrance for the Historic Columbia River Highway. A public boat launch will allow you to get in some boating time. What a great way to soak up some autumn sun! Next stop – on a bluff above Columbia River you will find Corbett Station. Go to View Point Inn to see where the movie “Twilight” was filmed.

At Crown Point State Park, your next stop on your scenic route, you can stop at the Vista House to see a wonderful historic structure. Then you will want to get out and do some hiking in the great outdoors. Mirror Lake hiking couldn’t be better. Then when you reach Guy W. Talbot State Park you can throw out a blanket and have a secluded picnic.

Now for some cascading waterfalls to inspire you to bring out your camera gear. At Shepperd’s Dell State Park you will see the falls that roars over steep cliffs into the creek and rushes on out to the Columbia River. And believe it or not, Oregon has ghost towns! Stop at Bridal Veil to experience a real one! Surrounded by forests, you will find lots of outdoor recreation nearby.

When you want to enjoy the power of nature, visit Multnomah Falls! There is parking right off of Interstate 84 and you just need to walk for five minutes to get to this amazing waterfall. Want to try your hand at fishing on this vacation? You can fish the lake at Benson State Recreation Area and perhaps catch a nice-sized rainbow trout.

Moving on, you will soon come to John B. Yeon State Park where you can hike to your heart’s content. The gentle trail leads you to more lovely waterfalls, and you’ll find the fresh, crisp autumn air makes hiking a pleasure.

Mayer State Park is worth a visit, particularly when you love a little solitude. This time of year won’t have the crowds of summer and you can have a wonderful picnic or enjoy fishing or boating. Don’t neglect to stop at The Dalles, the end of the Oregon Trail. Get another taste of history by visiting the Fort Dalles Museum. Head to Sorosis Park for some incredible views of the area! And you will want to stop at the oldest bookstore in Oregon, Klindt’s. It has the original wood floors and display cases from when it was established – 1870. You can’t beat that for getting the flavor of life in those times.

Families love the Deschutes River State Recreation Area! Go rafting, mountain biking, hiking or fishing. Park at the trailhead near the entrance and take off on a wide trail that goes along an old railroad bed. In the fall you won’t find horses on this trail so you’ll own it!

When you get to Biggs Junction, after a long and leisurely trip along the Columbia River, you will cross the river and head to Maryhill, Washington. You will want to stop in Maryhill State Park to enjoy the natural beauty and take in some cultural history. Walk along the waterfront of the Columbia River.

This brings an end to your Columbia River Highway RV adventure. You can now head home with the knowledge that you have at last experienced the beauty and wonders of Oregon and the Columbia River Gorge. This is one place you can return to again and again and always get a little more enjoyment from your trip.

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Traveling the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway in Your RV

The Oregon Coast offers the traveler amazing sights, ocean vistas and adventures in the dunes along the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Following U.S. Highway 101 south for 168 miles from Pacific City to Bandon, Oregon is one of the best stretches along which you can take an RV for one of the most scenic vacations ever. Start out in Pacific City, Oregon and get in some beachcombing along the beautiful beaches.

Next stop is Lincoln City where you must take advantage of the wonderful ocean breezes and fly a kite. This is, after all, the Kite Capital of the World. At Depoe Bay you will find the perfect spot to do some whale watching. There are plenty of places to observe the whales that make this area their home from March through December each year.

Further south, you’ll enjoy the natural beauty of Newport, a lovely area tucked between the Pacific Ocean and the coast mountains. Be sure to get out to Yaquina Head to see the tallest lighthouse in the state. Would you love to see a fishing fleet in operation? The Bayfront area is where to go. There are also shops and wonderful places to experience some of the best seafood around.

Get over to the free crabbing dock in Waldport for an adventure you may never have expected. Crabbing is a unique opportunity to take part in life on the edge of the ocean. You may also spot whales swimming happily off in the Pacific waters. Take a nature walk or kayak on the Alsea River. You can stay at the Chinook RV Park if you like to stay in close range to the water. They are right on Alsea Bay.

Yachats is a bit further down Highway 101, and you must stop here if you would like to investigate the tide pools or do some beach combing. Another popular activity is to take a dune buggy ride in the dunes. Sand dunes and speed go together for an exhilarating experience. Another great place to stop on your way south is Florence. This charming town offers some amazing outdoor recreation, as well as some excellent restaurants in Old Town. Stay in an RV campground on the waterfront.

Visit Reedsport and be sure to go to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area for a wonderful hiking adventure through the beach grass and dunes. At Winchester Bay you will find miles and miles of pristine beaches and a lot of wildlife, so bring your camera to capture some of this beauty on film. For RV camping with plenty of amenities, go to Winchester Bay RV Resort.

You are coming close to the end of your drive down the Oregon coast. At Lakeside you may be just in time for a festival or other event. They go on all year. Hire a boat in Charleston and get out there in the sun for some sports fishing. At Coos Bay you can visit a botanical garden high above the Pacific on a cliff. In Bandon, get a horse and go riding along the beach. This is the perfect ending to your Oregon RV vacation!

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