The Most Amazing Pacific Northwest RV Trip

Check out our journey below on our 21-day Most Amazing Pacific Northwest RV Trip from beginning to end.  I’ll be honest, there is a lot of driving with this trip, so we recommend, if you want to follow in our footsteps and do this trip, you should plan a few more days in between and relax a bit more than we did.  This PNW RV trip was a blast and we hiked over six west coast volcanoes and even spelunked in a volcanic lava tube cave!  

Check out some of our other RV trips in our Blog!

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The Most Amazing Pacific Northwest RV Trip

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1. Owens River Road - Boondocking - Mammoth Lakes

RV Boondocking, Campgrounds, and Stopovers

Owens River Road

The first stop on The Most Amazing Pacific Northwest RV Trip was Mammoth Mountain.  The sites are super-easy to get to. We drive a 32′ Forest River Sunseeker with a tow dolly and we made it to some sites about half a mile in. There are numerous areas to set up camp in, however, there were a few campers when we were there in mid-October. We still found a site right away though (see pictures).

We didn’t see the herd of sheep but they left about 10,000 of their little poops all around the forest, so the smell was there, but not too bad.

We took our car off the tow dolly and scouted out the best site before we drove our RV in. Our site had easy to turn radius and we didn’t even have to take off the dolly. Nice and serene with hiking nearby. We drove into Mammoth Lake (about 20 minutes) and hike their world-class hikes too (Crystal Lake and Duck Lake via the Emerald Lake Trail).

Hikes and Trailhead Info

Crystal Lake Trail – Mammoth Mountain

Maybe I don’t understand how they do their trail marker but at the trailhead, it says 1 mile to the destinations. It is definitely more than that. At least 3.5 miles round-trip. Absolutely beautiful hike with lots of views along the way. The switchbacks were a lot of fun. The lake at the end was beautiful. Definitely pack some layers and wear sunscreen. There is a lot of foliage and overhang, however, when you get to the lake, the sun is intense when it reflects off the water.

Duck Lake – Mammoth Mountain

Amazing views and a very well-marked trail. Take pictures early as in the afternoon the shadows of the Mountains mute all the colors. We hiked this in mid-October and it was beautiful, nice, and cool. Bring layers. Hiking poles really helped on the ascent and descent.

2. North Eagle Lake Campground - RV Campground - Stopover on way to Crater Lake

RV Boondocking, Campgrounds, and Stopovers

North Eagle Lake Campground – RV Campground

While planning our trip from Mammoth up through and past Klamath Falls, I figured we’d stay the night at this campground. So glad we did! The Camp Host (Ester) was amazing and she treats this campground with care. Small details like raking each campsite and even adding special touches to the bathrooms (see picture). Great place. Even large pull-throughs for our 30’ with TOAD.

3. Scott Creek Campground - Boondocking - Backside of Crater Lake

RV Boondocking, Campgrounds, and Stopovers

Scott Creek Campground – Boondocking – Backside of Crater Lake

Great camping area if you are adventurous. Google maps got us here pretty well, but look at the campgrounds from an aerial view too. If you have a big rig, you should scout it out beforehand. Lots of trees encroaching and some rutted roads. If in a bigger rig ONLY DO THIS IF NO RAIN IS IN THE FORECAST (the roads would be hell to drive in muddy conditions).

A lot of hunters us this camping area, however, we only had one other couple in the 4X4 van that shared the camping area with us.

A black bear visited us in the middle of the night but just sniffed and walked on by.

Great bathrooms and fire pits. Very relaxing place to stay. I’m sure it’s rarely if ever crowded.

We used this spot to boondock and leave our RV during the day and take our Prius to Crater Lake (45 min drive) to hike some great places.

Hikes and Trailhead Info

Cleetwood Cove Trail – Crater Lake NP

Water was about 60° in mid-October. Fun little hike. Used our hiking poles on the way back up which helped quite a bit. If you want to go swimming, there are a lot of restrictions. Basically, you can only go in your bathing suit. No mask and snorkel, wetsuit, or other types of things that would make you much more comfortable. They want to keep the lake pristine and I don’t blame them. Absolutely beautiful water. There are bathrooms at the trailhead and at the bottom of the trail.

Pinnacles Valley Trail – Crater Lake NP

Five stars not only for the beauty and the magnificent pinnacles but because of the informative signage explaining how the pinnacles were made during the volcanic eruption. Love learning new things. Hiked all the way down to the boundary line, which was also cool. Fun hike for the whole family.

Plaikni Falls Trail

A short hike takes you through some beautiful forest, but a lot of deadfalls. Keep a lookout to your left as you walk to the falls and notice the rock formations. A few streams and things to look at along the way. Since we hiked this in mid-October, the falls were not going fully, as they would in spring, but it was beautiful nonetheless. We had the falls all to ourselves for about 20 minutes. Serene.

4. Trillium Lake Airstrip - Boondocking - Mount Hood

RV Boondocking, Campgrounds, and Stopovers

Trillium Lake Airstrip – Boondocking – Mount Hood

Easy to get to and right down the street from Highway 97.

It literally is a giant airstrip (although I wouldn’t land a plane on it) full of rock and obstacles but easy enough to drive around.

We entered and found our spot along the treeline within seconds of driving in. We didn’t even have to take our tow vehicle off the dolly until we were parallel parked. There are fire rings, so once we got set up, we went out and enjoyed a fire for the evening.

The next day we hike some great areas on Mount Hood. Lots of places to hike and just plink around locally.

I did set my alarm on (and in) my RV and locked my tow dolly to the bumper. Some campers looked a little shady but never bothered us. We enjoyed our two nights here but moved on once we did our hikes.

No services – used our generator and brought our own water.

Hikes and Trailhead Info

Trillium Lake Loop – Mount Hood

Great view of the lake with the reflection of Mount Hood in the background. Good family hike. Easy and pretty.

Timberline Lodge – Mount Hood

Totally trippy lodge at the base of Mount Hood.  Feels like you have traveled back in time to the 30’s or 40’s.  The movie, “The Shining” was filmed here, which also makes it a little spooky but fun.  If you’re in the area, definitely check it out!

Mirror Lake Loop Trail – Mount Hood

Excellent and well-maintained trail. Bathrooms at the trailhead. Beautiful views and switchbacks up to Mirror Lake. Due to time constraints, we only made it to mirror Lake. We did a loop around the lake and it was absolutely beautiful. Mount hood reflects perfectly off of the lake if you go along the shore, you can get different views. A few people on the trail in October but not too crowded. Very enjoyable and fun. We Boondocked our RV close by and drove our little Pepe the Prius to the trailhead.

5. Lone Fir Resort - RV Park - Mount Saint Helens

RV Boondocking, Campgrounds, and Stopovers

Lone Fir Resort – RV Park – Mount Saint Helens

We have been boondocking a few nights and needed an RV park close to Ape Cave, so we could dump, have good showers, and use the power to top off the rig. It was a great decision. Since we love to RV in the off-season, this park only had one other RV in mid-October.

Check out our pictures of the site and grounds. We had fun playing with Bigfoot and got to see a young deer cruising around the grounds.

The restaurant was closed when we were there.

Hikes and Trailhead Info

Ape Cave Trail – Mount Saint Helens

My wife and I got to hike this underground trail all by ourselves with nobody else around. Always a trip spelunking in a cave with lots of fallen rocks. You never quite know when they fell and if any new ones will be falling while you are underground. Yikes. Lots of fun with a few adrenaline-filled moments. Making a video for our YouTube channel, TheAdventureTravelers. Check it out. Not only was the underground portion amazing but once you climb out, the hike back is absolutely beautiful. We hiked in mid-October, so we had lots of changing colors in the foliage. Oh yeah, you won’t see the signs for the split-level caves until you walk down the ladder at the main entrance (by the bathrooms/sitting area). We met some hikers that couldn’t find the Upper Cave and hiked along the above-ground trail to find the entrance.

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6. The Cedars RV Resort - RV Park - Vancouver, BC & North Cascades NP

RV Boondocking, Campgrounds, and Stopovers

The Cedars RV Resort – RV Park – Vancouver, BC & North Cascades NP

We needed somewhere safe to park our RV as we crossed the border into Canada and explored Vancouver Island and then back to the USA to hike North Cascades National Park. The Cedars RV Resort was a perfect choice. A little on the expensive side for just storing our RV for six days, but well worth it.

Clean, friendly, and has lots of amenities. We did our laundry, caught up on social media using their Wifi, dropped off our trash, filled up on fresh water, and took some nice hot showers. Also, we watched a movie on DVD from their library for free.

Our neighbors were friendly enough too. Seems like a few RVers stay here for long periods of time.

Easy in and out with pull-throughs for our 32′ RV with tow dolly and car.

7. BC Ferries – Vehicle Ferry to Vancouver Island, BC  

BC Ferries - Vehicle Ferry to Vancouver Island, BC

    Airbnb Ucluelet - Airbnb - Vancouver Island, BC

8. Airbnb Ucluelet – Airbnb – Vancouver Island, BC

Hikes and Trailhead Info

Ucluelet Wild Pacific Trail – Vancouver Island, BC

An absolutely beautiful trail with lots of pullouts for you to sit and enjoy the scenery. When we hiked this trail the waves were only about 3 to 5 feet. I can only imagine how rugged this looks when the waves are 15 feet. Lots of beautiful scenery. We also hit it on a great day with lots of sun. I’m sure if it was foggy or rainy it would have been a lot different yet surreal. Very easy hike to navigate and definitely family friendly.

Shorepine Bog Trail – Vancouver Island, BC

Fun little hike with lots of informative signage explaining what the bog is, the flora and fauna within, and much more.  Fun for the whole family. 

Rainforest Figure Eight – Vancouver Island, BC

This is an outstanding hike. Very easy to navigate via the trails. Perfect for the family and not too strenuous at all. The trails and the platforms are very well-maintained and the views are world-class. You have to purchase a Parks Canada -Pacific Rim National Park pass and display it in your window. It was $21 Canadian at the time of our purchase. It lasts for about a day and a half which is definitely enough time to see the Pacific Rim National Park in this area. Well worth it. Epic.

Radar Hill – Vancouver Island, BC

Quick and easy hike to get some panoramic views of the nearby mountains, beaches, and forests.  Nothing too exciting but pretty.  Windy up there. 

Long Beach – Vancouver Island, BC

Just a chill beach to go and beachcomb, check out the surfers and enjoy the beach vibe.

Nuu-Chah-Nulth and South Beach Trail – Vancouver Island, BC

We parked at the Florencia Beach trailhead and checked out the beach and then hiked the main trail. Very cool. Lots to look at and the beach at the end was beautiful. Saw some bear tracks and lots of mussels that the bear must’ve been eating, as well as some berries. Definitely recommend this hike for a fun afternoon.

Thunder Knob Trail – North Cascades NP

This was a beautiful trail. Nice and easy hike up the ridge. Once you get to the top, there are some beautiful views of the lake. We got it after a rain so it was not as smoky as mentioned by other people. Bathrooms at the trailhead. It was a little difficult to navigate from the trailhead over the stream because the ranger took the bridge down for the season but once we navigated the stream via logs, it was easy-peasy.

9. Alder Lake Campground - RV Campground - Mount Rainier

RV Boondocking, Campgrounds, and Stopovers

Alder Lake Campground – RV Campground – Mount Rainier

What an amazing campground! Full hookups with pull-throughs at the base of Mount Rainier National Park.

Easy access in/out for our 32′ RV with the tow vehicle. Stoked to have full hookups after days of hiking. Full bathrooms with pay showers onsite as well. The lake is super-low (most are nowadays) but still beautiful.

We had the entire lower portion of the campground all to ourselves. No neighbors. Others chose the top loop. Some people had their satellite dishes out.

Mount Rainier entrance is about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes away, which was really nice. Beautiful National Park. Lots of epic hiking and scenery.

If you get a chance to camp here, we totally recommend it.

Hikes and Trailhead Info

Skyline Trail – Mount Rainier NP

We were only able to do 1/4 of the trail due to the snowy conditions. Both my wife and I had heavy snow boots to get through the trail, however, we got a late start and they close the road at 4 PM and we would not have been able to make the entire loop. We actually saw some tourists hiking the trail in their tennis shoes. At least they were smart enough to stop at the first bridge and did not go post-holing with their tennis shoes on, Prepared for all sorts of weather conditions. It changes quite dramatically every 10 minutes. Next time that we do this hike, we will bring snow shoes. Beautiful views and is just an amazing place to be. We must have photographed every scene about 10 times because it constantly changed.

Myrtle Falls Viewpoint – Mount Rainier NP

This was a very short hike down some muddy, snowy, slushy, conditions. We had waterproof hiking boots on however, we saw many people just stomping through the snow and getting their tennis shoes wet. It is a very pretty waterfall. Worth the little bit of a hike but I wouldn’t want to do it in tennis shoes. You would be wet the rest of the day.

Rampart Ridge Trail – Mount Rainier NP

Hitting this trail from either side requires quite a bit of uphill fortitude. If you are in for a good workout, this hike might be the one for you. Not a lot of diversity. Beautiful old-growth forest but it just goes on and on with pretty much the same view.

Carter Falls and Madcap Fall via Longmire – Mount Rainier NP

Only did about 1/2 of this hike due to the approaching night. The beautiful hike is next to the river. Easy uphill from the starting point. A few little spots to check out the river on the way up. Didn’t see any bears or wildlife, which would have made the hike much more exciting. Easy hike for a family.

10. Gregory Beach Dispersed Campground - Boondocking - Mount Shasta Stopover

RV Boondocking, Campgrounds, and Stopovers

Gregory Beach Dispersed Campground – Boondocking – Mount Shasta Stopover

Totally boondocking! – Coming from a seasoned boondocker.

Drive down an almost one-lane road with a 32′ RV and tow vehicle, think that you possibly aren’t at the right location, so you are slowly starting to panic, then you come to the end with a precarious cliff on one side and a two-foot drop from pavement to rutted out dirt, then look at all the deep ruts that you have to drive through to get to a somewhat level location, then you are there :-). Oh wait, don’t forget about the random car with the blacked-out tinted windows just sitting there for hours and the locals that drive their 4X4 down to the lake to smoke out.

Other than that… a peaceful place.

Lake Shasta Water Levels

Actually, not that bad, just not a totally relaxing location. Lake Shasta’s water level is about 150′ below normal, which makes for a small river, rather than a lake.

Check out my video of the ruts and water level.

 

11. Santa Nella RV Park - RV Park - Stopover

RV Boondocking, Campgrounds, and Stopovers

Santa Nella RV Park – RV Park – Stopover

Called ahead to reserve a spot but kept getting voicemail. When we arrived, they had already had us listed and had two sites (side by side) reserved for us.

Ask about discounts. I believe they offer 10% off for AAA and Good Sam.

Full hookups with sewer, water, and electrical.

The only issue was we had to take off our tow vehicle because it was just a little too long and when leaving there was a semi blocking our view of the road when I pulled out, almost got hit by another semi flying down the road.

Lots of fast food restaurants within walking distance.

Laundry and clean bathrooms with showers.

12. Oak Flat Campground - RV Campground - Almost Home

RV Boondocking, Campgrounds, and Stopovers

Oak Flat Campground – RV Campground – Almost Home

#1 – Do NOT trust Google Maps when searching for this location (coming down I5 South) – Google maps wanted us to make a 90-degree turn off of the freeway onto some service road which looked super-sketchy from the satellite view. Instead, we drove to the first offramp and then drove down the Golden State Highway (which is full of potholes and not a good road at all).

The entrance is an easy find with a big marker out front (see photos).

Since we have a 32′ RV with a tow vehicle, we took off our tow vehicle on the side of the highway (plenty of room) and went and checked out the sites first. Only about 21 spots and about six were occupied. We drove our RV in and had to get on the roof and cut down some overhanging branches but our RV fit into one of the only level campsites (20) and we parked our tow vehicle in the unoccupied site nearby.

Once we were all settled, we went on a hike up the street. Beautiful views of the valley and I5. Bear, deer, and other animals in the area.

Used our America the Beautiful Pass for free camping.

Pit toilets and fire rings (Extreme fire danger – so they were not available to use at this time).

Hikes and Trailhead Info

Oak Flat Trail – Angeles National Forest

I am pretty much giving this trail five stars because when we hiked it, it was overcast and cloudy. Hiked it in early November which really helps since there is no overhead coverage. Beautiful views of the five freeway and surrounding mountains. We saw deer and also found some little raccoon tracks in the soft dirt. We did not complete this trail due to time constraints but it looks like an awesome trail if you hit it just right and not in the direct sun.

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