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Old 09-16-2019, 07:30 PM   #1
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Oregon in October - Coast or Cascade Range?

Looking for feedback on upcoming trip to Oregon in mid-October. Plan A is to start mid-way down the coast, around Newport, and work our way south. If coastal weather forecast is for consistent rain, Plan B is to stay farther east and explore Crater Lake and Bend regions. Greatly appreciate any feedback, particularly from those who have traveled or live in these areas, on our plans and/or on suggestions for exploration in the areas we intend to visit.

Some considerations and limitations for background:

--I’ve reviewed many of the Forum posts on the Oregon region (e.g., “Oregon Coast without Reservations”). Lots of great info in those, which helped us with trip planning.

--Personal reasons prevent starting trip before October 14th (earlier in October, or September, would have meant better odds for decent weather). We have to be back home by November 3rd.

--Realize this is not optimal time of year for coastal Oregon, and we could encounter rain, even lots of rain, anywhere we go. But we really wanted to take a trip somewhere we hadn’t been before, or at least not in decades. We went to Arizona last November (Prescott, Sedona, Grand Canyon, etc.) and spent a week in Tucson in April, so wanted something other than high desert this time. Most other places we considered are at higher elevations and shut down in early October and/or have campgrounds that are booked solid through the beginning of December (Zion, Sequoia, Yosemite, etc.).

--Full hookups are nice if not too expensive, but we’re comfortable with modest dry camping (3 to 5 days), and have done so in the past (have two 6v batteries, 140 watt portable solar panel, and 3,000 watt generator; trailer is 30 amp). What usually drives our campground decisions is the tradeoff between our desire for visual aesthetics (do we have a view out the back windows?) and keeping costs reasonable (and free is even better). For example, lots of great reviews for Sea and Sand RV Park in Depoe Bay, but those Premium Oceanfront sites are going for $80/night (and they’re all booked, even if we wanted to splurge for a few nights). Their Forest sites are $40/night, but are not appealing to us even at that price.

--As a disabled veteran, I have a Special Access Pass for Oregon state parks (awesome that they allow non-residents to get one; I also have one for California, but it requires state residence). I also have a National Parks pass.

--We prefer to not make reservations unless absolutely necessary (e.g., it’s high season in an area we want to explore, and dry camping options may be limited), in order to maintain flexibility.

--We travel with 2 large dogs (Lab/Golden mix; Saint Bernard/Golden mix), and usually with two cruising bicycles to use in the campground or on a bike path if there is one in the area. (We also have a high-end inflatable 2-person kayak that we’ve used in places like Monterey Bay, the Colorado River, and estuaries, but suspect this is not an optimal time of year for kayaking in Oregon – colder temps, wind – so did not plan to bring it).

--We’re in our late 60’s/early 70’s, and enjoy light hiking; paved or hard-pack bike paths; walking the beach or along creeks/rivers/lakes; wineries and craft beer; exploring the local area; and great scenery, especially sunsets.

Plan A and B:
--Plan A is to head up I-5 past Eugene and angle west to Newport, and stay 4 or 5 nights at either South Beach State Park or Beverly State Beach/Park (both are no-cost because of my pass). There are still 40 W/E sites available at South Beach and 16 W/E sites at Beverly in the October timeframe, as of today.

--Then head south to the Port Orford area and stay at Cape Blanco State Park for 4 or 5 nights (again, no-cost to me). This park has 52 W/E sites and is first-come, first served; there should be sites available in mid-to-late October. We’re aware that it could be – probably will be - windy there. Great aesthetics, though, from the photos I’ve seen.

--Plan B: If coast weather forecast looks consistently crappy, we’ll head to Prospect, OR (northeast of Medford), and stay at Crater Lake RV Park ($33/night for full H/U) for 4 or 5 nights, and explore Crater Lake and surrounding area.

--Then head to Sisters, OR (northwest of Bend), and stay at Sisters Creekside Campground (Full H/U for $35/night with Senior Discount) for 4 or 5 nights. Explore local area, including Bend. There are other RV parks nearer or in Bend, but they’re more expensive and we like smaller towns.

--We have to start heading home around October 27, because we plan to stop in Half Moon Bay, CA, to visit friends.

If you’ve read all the way down to here, it should be obvious that I tend to over-explain. Thanks for taking the time to do so.
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:41 PM   #2
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After reading your post here is my thoughts...from a not real Oregonian as I have only been here 3 winters.
Consider that if it is raining at the coast and you want to move inland the weather masses move west to east. Look at elevations of campgrounds as that helps to dictate nightly lows...not a problem if you are good with burning the propane and keeping nice and comfy.
Look at any passes you might need to go over. There is a reason the trucks out here carry their chains all year besides cheap storage space on the trailer.
And lastly, fall seems to be coming early this year. We got 3/4 an inch of rain yesterday and are forecasted for another inch in the next two days. That and the nightly lows seem to be lower than usual.
Again - true Oregonians please weigh in.
If you really want to come here, and I would recommend it, don't stop at Newport. Try to get in at Fort Stevens State Park.....as a veteran you might find the history of the park interesting.
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:04 PM   #3
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Fort Stevens is nice and I think you will also enjoy Astoria nearby. Then follow the Columbia River to Hood River and beyond. The dams and locks are worth visiting. As is Multnomah falls. We can have wonderfully nice weather in October. Harvest Fest (Oct 11-13) is fun. WAAAM is a nice museum if you like old planes and automobiles.


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Old 09-16-2019, 09:18 PM   #4
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Hi! Hope you have a great visit to Oregon. Here's a few thoughts:

Beverly Beach State Park--sites G08, G09, and G11 should be long enough for your rig and are at the very far end of campground so have least amount of traffic. No sites at Beverly Beach have good views but there is a very large parking lot for beach goers inside the Park--park there, walk under the Hwy 101 overpass onto beach--miles and miles of sand. If you walk the beach a 1/4 mile South, and watch the cliff face and boulders, you can find fossil clams, scallops, and such.

In Newport, Local Oceans Seafood for great eats.

On 101 South of Newport, about 4 miles beyond Waldport, Tillicum Beach Campground, Siuslaw National Forest, so your federal pass should get you 50% off. Some sites have water and electricity. Beach front sites have neither but overlook the beach. The beach front sites are parallel park sites so most don't have enough road frontage for your rig BUT sites 12 and 23 are exceptions and do. Heated bathrooms with flush toilets.

Further south on Hwy 101, and just south of Yachats, Cape Perpetua Campground, Siuslaw National Forest. Sites 5 thru 9, 36, 37, 39 should be long enough for your rig. There is a visitor center close by as well as a surprisingly extensive trail system--Cape Perpetua was the location of a CCC camp and quite an investment was made in the areas recreational infrastructure. Same situation as Beverly Beach SP--campground is up a creek valley, BUT the little bay and rocky shore is easily accessible and offers some splendid surf and sunset watching. Devil's Churn, Spouting Horn, and Thor's Well are unusual sea side features. In Yachats, try Green Salmon Coffee Shop for a totally bewildering array of coffee and tea beverages, as well as innovative and tasty plates, all reasonably priced. For basic and fresh seafood, Luna Sea Fish House--owner has his own boat.

Further south yet--Coos Bay Area--Sunset Bay State Park. Sunset Bay is a totally wonderful little bay with tide pools, a sand beach, picnic area, that is more protected from heavy surf than much of the coast. The campground is not on the shore, but is walking distance away. Close by are other Oregon State Park units, Shore Acres and Cape Arago, which are worth a check out.

Bandon is on US 101 between Coos Bay and Cape Blanco. Tony's Crab Shack for grilled Oysters Orleans, although October is an "R" month, so up to you on the oysters. Other menu choices are good but the grilled oysters have been marvellous--and shucked to order! There is an RV parking area west of Tony's.

An in-case-you-need-it hint, if you stay at an Oregon State Park that doesn't have a dump station you can show your receipt and dump for free at a state park that does have a dump station.

Happy travels,

Burnside
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:34 PM   #5
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Excellent advice coming in for you. And if you decide to go east along the Columbia I and others highly recommend the Boardman City Park Campground. Been there 5 times, get the river overlook and always amazed at the price for value of camp site.
A side note....... - the advice you are getting for your trip this year is heavily leaning towards hanging at the coast.......rain is better than snow.
What ever you chose to do it sounds like you will have a great time. Safe travels.
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Old 09-17-2019, 02:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RicknTrish View Post
. . .
Personal reasons prevent starting trip before October 14th . . .
. . .
We have to be back home by November 3rd.
. . .
In this limited time frame, weather may be your primary driving factor.

You seem well-prepared to head north from Imperial City, and to trust the winds to blow you in the right direction. With possible cold weather inland, I would echo recent comments about heading for the coast. You will probably miss the worst of the rainy season, and the Oregon coast is spectacular in the Fall IMO.

Thank you for your service.

Happy trails,

Peter
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:46 AM   #7
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Few thoughts:

Never been a fan of Beverly Beach SP. Too dark and you're across Hwy 101. We tend to go for Nehalem Bay SP.

Sea & Sand is expensive and hard to get into. Plus the nice sites are all back-in meaning you wouldn't get a good view out the rear windows. Premium spots can also be booked a year out.

Ft. Stevens is also another one we've tried and typically avoid. Too big. Cape Disappointment over the bridge in WA is a far nice spot.

Sisters is a lovely town. Creekside CG is a solid option. Tumalo SP is decent too. It's just outside of Bend.

Consider Paulina Lake outside of Bend if the weather is good and snow levels haven't dropped yet. It's at about 6k elevation so snow can be a factor.

You can easily kayak in the Deschutes River that time of year. Same with some of the bays around Newport.

Have a great trip.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:16 AM   #8
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I've seen snow in the Cascades in October. Just sayin'.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:26 AM   #9
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I spent the month of October as a volunteer lighthouse host at Cape Blanco a few years ago. It’s a wild part of the Oregon Coast and Cape Blanco is 5 miles out into the ocean so it is windy. The park itself is somewhat sheltered as it is nestled back in the trees. Usually (if that still applies) the weather on the Coast is very good in September into October and starts to worsen as the month progresses. The silver lining is that many folks, including me, enjoy storms on the Coast.

The park is all walk up and there will be plenty of sites to choose from.

Cell phone reception is poor on the Cape. But there is one small area on a cliff overlooking the ocean called the Phone Booth where it can be pretty good. It’s just off on the right along the road to the beach. The walk to the beach is a fairly arduous hike but there are a few parking spots down below. Also, you can drive on the beach.

I really like the little town of Port Orford. Free WiFi in the very nice library. And great fish & chips at a little shack down on the dolly dock (they hoist the fishing boats out of the water onto the dock - one of only two dolly docks in the U.S. I think). In town the Crazy Norwegian is good, super friendly and small town. A bit more upscale is Red Fish, really good with amazing outdoor seating.

And as someone has mentioned, Brandon is close and worth the visit.

PM me if you would like more information. I’ve lived in Bend/Sisters for 20+ years and spend a lot of time all up and down at the Coast. I have an amazing favorite USFS campground near Sisters.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:14 PM   #10
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Going to Crater Lake you might want to look at Mazama CG in the park. My Wife has a disability and for some reason they offered us one the the Host spots with full hookups. Kind of close to the dump station though. There are some other spots there have electrical.
Look at Oceanside RV Beach Resort near Coos Bay. Easy access to the beach and not a lot of people.
If you go to Ft Stevens, go to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Nice place to go on a rain day. Or any day for that matter.
Its nice that you have some flexibility. The Oregon Coast in fall is hard to beat.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:45 PM   #11
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Thanks so much to all of you for the great feedback - much food for thought. I suspect we're going to make our final decisions at the last minute, probably as we're driving north - it will take over three days (three overnight stops) to get from Imperial Beach to even halfway up Oregon. (We try to limit driving to 5-7 hours per day, especially if we're stringing multiple travel days together, like on this trip. Try to arrive at overnight stop by late afternoon, so can exercise dogs, etc. We're using Harvest Host-affiliated wineries a lot for overnight stops going up and back this time).

--Yes, when we were first planning this trip, we wanted to start at Astoria/Fort Stevens and work our way south. But when we had to abbreviate trip length by several days, had to make a decision on whether to still go to Astoria, knowing we'd have to skip either central or south coast, or skip Astoria and start halfway down. Really do want to see Fort Stevens and the historical features nearby, so if not this trip, we'll be back.

--We have driven along most of the Columbia River, starting at Portland and going east all the way to where you cut up into southeastern Washington, when we went to Montana several years ago for a wedding. Didn't take the trailer, though (had a 40' fifth wheel for 10 years, good trailer but it was a beast to tow and park), and didn't stop anywhere to visit. Agree that starting at Astoria and exploring east along the river for a week or so would provide plenty of things to see and do. If we do that this time, however, we pretty much give up seeing any of the coast. Decisions, decisions.

--We looked at Mazama Campground for Crater Lake, but it closes for the winter on September 23rd.

--We had Tumalo State Park as our first choice for camping if we head up near Bend, but the state park web site says that Tumalo's Loop B (the RV/trailer sites) is closed Oct-Nov for a "utility maintenance construction project".

--Copy all on the feedback regarding the merits of the different campground options along the coast - much to consider, and again, we'll probably make final decisions "on the fly".

--Copy all, too, on watching weather in Cascades for early snow, etc. Would not want to be up by Bend and realize that had to drive way east before heading south to get out of Oregon because of snow in mountain passes.

Regardless of where we wind up going, Oregon has beautiful scenery everywhere, so we can't really lose, even if we encounter rain, wind, colder temps, etc. It's part of the adventure inherent in choosing to travel with a trailer.
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Old 09-17-2019, 01:40 PM   #12
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Well said!

Happy trails,

Peter
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:17 PM   #13
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Update on weather....Mount Bachelor got snow last night. Fall is coming soon it seems.
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Old 09-28-2019, 10:34 AM   #14
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Good information on various locations, and the coast mob is much quieter now.

The main warning is eastern Oregon, places like Bend, Crater Lake...pretty much all of eastern Oregon is high elevation and the likelihood of cold nights and possibly snow is 'in the air'. Years ago when we were tent camping in mid-August, we left camp to drive up to Crater Lake. Still had snow banks, it was cold fog and yipes-that day was one of those, or that Run Around the Crater Rim day! That must have been epic.

This Sept in the NW has been cold and wet so far. We just returned yesterday scurrying home from Glacier NP. We were heading to Great Falls, MT and other areas, but they are getting hammered this weekend. Our Stevens Pass at 4000' in the Cascades we came over yesterday received snow last night, though just slushy....so far.

Another factor we found when in MT, WY and SD and parts of ID is many CGs and RV parks close by the end of September. Keep that in mind!

Whatever you choose, enjoy.
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Old 09-28-2019, 10:38 AM   #15
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Snow forecast tonight in Central Oregon, eastern slope of the Cascades starting at 3200’. Passes will be messy. Very rare for September.

Rain on the Coast for the foreseeable future. Yuck.
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Old 09-28-2019, 11:04 PM   #16
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A little bit wet and cool tomorrow but Hood River will be nice most of next week. Mountain biking will be awesome in the afternoon.



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Old 09-29-2019, 07:49 PM   #17
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Thanks so much to all for the recent updates and comments.

--Regarding campground closures, yes, we've researched most of those in the Cascade Range area and are aware that many of them are either already closed or they close sometime in October (and we've contacted a few - at lower elevations - to confirm that they stay open longer).

--Regarding weather - every couple of days I check the 10-day forecast for Prospect, Sisters, Newport, and Port Orford, just to get a sense for trends. We don't depart northern California for Oregon until October 16th, so still a little far out to know how it's actually going to be. Still assume it will be wet and cold along the coast, and just plain cold along the Cascades (and watch for snow). Will be making final decisions a day or so out.
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Old 09-29-2019, 08:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Few thoughts:

Never been a fan of Beverly Beach SP. Too dark and you're across Hwy 101. We tend to go for Nehalem Bay SP.
<cut>

Ft. Stevens is also another one we've tried and typically avoid. Too big. Cape Disappointment over the bridge in WA is a far nice spot.
Totally agree with both of the above comments.

Nahalem Bay sites have a sand Dunn between you and the beach that is a short walk over to get to beach but you will be a bit sheltered from the shore winds. The park is beside A great little town called Manzanita that is a easy bike ride away. The park has a lot of trails around it,

If you get blown off the coast a nice park just south of Portland is Champoeg State Park. It’s a historical park on the Willamette River with walking and bike trails along the River. Also dog friendly with an off leash area.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:43 AM   #19
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I've seen snow in the Cascades in October. Just sayin'.
There's already snow up there in some high-elevation places.

If you like driving more than you like vacationing, your coast plan is good. If you like icy roads and adventure and driving, your Sisters Etc. plan is good.

The Oregon coast is often nicer (sunshine and temps) than the Willamette Valley this time of year. I'd hang a left and go west, though, at Sutherlin rather than Corvallis, head over to Reedsport, drive a little ways down to Winchester Bay, eat at Griff's down on the bay, and poke around there for a while. South of there, at North Bend or so, hug the coast and duck over to the beach when you can. From there south to Crescent City is IMO (after 30+years in Oregon) the best stretch of the coast, particularly this time of year.

Ignore all the ads for Mo's Seafood. It's not what it used to be. For restaurant recommendations:
https://www.oregonlive.com/dining/20...regon_coa.html

The state park campgrounds are a very good bet for campsites.

Spend some time in and around Bandon. After dozens of visits to the coast (and several years of living in Gold Beach) I can easily say Bandon's my favorite.

https://visittheoregoncoast.com/cities/bandon/

Do the Face Rock Creamery stop and eat down on the main street. Splurge for brunch at Lord Bennett's and eat at least once at Edgewaters.

Check out lighthouses and ports and other points of interest along the way, but keep the doggers close and quiet. If they'll be okay in the RV for couple hours, there's a terrific place for a horseback ride at the stables in Bandon.

For extra non-beach fun, exit east from 101 and explore a river or three. Rogue, Elk, Sixes -- breathtaking scenery, fishing, nice spots for exploring.


Have fun, enjoy Oregon, get home safely.
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Old 10-02-2019, 12:18 PM   #20
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p.s. on Oregon recommendation

https://mailchi.mp/1859magazine/rogu...d?e=e4de0b36d6
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