A Portland to Phoenix RV road trip is going to be an environmental adventure, especially if you have plenty of time to explore. From the forests of Portland to the deserts of Arizona, you will be able to take in a huge chunk of the western United States. You will see mountains and lakes as you drive through Oregon and agriculture and theme parks as you travel through California. Then, head east towards the spectacular desert scenery in Arizona.
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park is the only national park in the state of Oregon, a treasure with a stunning view you will not want to miss. The lake is known for its sapphire-blue water filling a crater that was created after a volcano collapsed. During the summer months, the park offers hiking, camping, swimming, and other activities to enjoy. In the winter, there is skiing, snowmobiling, and ranger-led snowshoe tours. If you enjoy photography and wildlife, there is a 33-mile drive that goes around the rim of the lake with more than 30 scenic pullouts where you can take pictures and explore.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is located east of Fresno, California, and is home to the largest trees in the world by volume. This park on your road trip itinerary from Portland to Phoenix offers spectacular views, green valleys, and plenty of forest areas to explore. Check out the groves of sequoias, and learn the part they play in the ecosystem. Hike on well-marked trails up to the viewpoints for the spectacular views. Be sure to keep your eyes open for wildlife in the area, especially at dusk or dawn.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is named after the twisted plants that thrive there and is the perfect spot to enjoy the unique desert beauty. The park contains an interesting array of plants and some fascinating rock formations. This area is quite remote, but the park does offer some picturesque hiking, mountain biking, and wilderness camping. Ranger-led events provide some awesome educational opportunities. If you visit after dark, take a moment to look up and enjoy some fantastic stargazing in the night sky.
Valley of the Rogue State Park
Valley of the Rogue State Park is a gorgeous little park right on the Rogue River. It is located right off the interstate between Grants Pass and Medford, close to all the fun in Southern Oregon. The park is a refreshing stop whether for a picnic lunch or camping overnight, and you can take advantage of a self-guided interpretive walk at the river’s edge. There are about 3 miles of shoreline where you can wade in the crisp, cool water or do a little fishing for trout or steelhead during the season.
Mount San Jacinto State Park
Mount San Jacinto State Park covers 14,000 acres in Riverside County, California. This park has hiking trails with epic desert views. The wilderness area is at a high altitude with a short growing season. During the warmer seasons, you will enjoy the flora and fauna of the area. In the winter, it becomes a fun snow park. There are two ranger stations available where you can learn more about the area, but be sure to enjoy the granite peaks, forests, wilderness, and fern-bordered mountain meadows.
Pacheco State Park
Pacheco State Park is a historic piece of land passed down through the Pacheco family. It is the final portion of the Mexican land grant. This land was donated to celebrate the family love of animals, horseback riding, and unspoiled land. The area is rich in scenic vistas, spring wildflowers, and outstanding trails to engage your senses during your road trip from Portland to Phoenix. Plenty of wildlife abounds, including deer, tule elk, coyote, bobcat, fox, and a wide variety of birds. There are several historic buildings on the property as well.
Wildlife Safari is a fun pit stop right off the interstate in Winston, Oregon. The park's mission is to allow visitors to experience quality interaction with wildlife. They provide conservation, education, and preservation of species, including one of the most successful cheetah breeding programs in the nation. They have a drive-thru interaction area where you can see giraffes, elephants, bears, and many other animals. There is also a courtyard where you can walk around and enjoy a much closer experience with the animals.
Shasta Lake is a 30,000-acre reservoir near Redding, California, and the biggest in the state. You cannot help but admire the sparkling blue water driving over it on Interstate 5. If you enjoy water sports, this lake will be a delight thanks to the availability of jet ski and houseboat rentals, as well as swimming and fishing opportunities. While you are there, take a free tour of Shasta Dam, the second-largest concrete dam in the country. You can also take a guided tour of the Lake Shasta Caverns.
Knott’s Berry Farm
Knott’s Berry Farm is called California’s original theme park. It started as a small berry farm and grew into a theme park with the introduction of fried chicken, boysenberries, and an Old West Ghost Town. They now feature attractions for all ages with stage shows, roller coasters, and family fun with Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang. The area has now expanded to include Knott’s Soak City Waterpark and the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel as well. Be sure to do a little shopping in the quaint little shops where you can find your favorite treats and treasures.
Ashland, Oregon, is the last larger town you will encounter before you cross the border into California. This is a sleepy little town that is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Southern Oregon University. At the west end of town is The Plaza where you can enjoy a variety of dining choices while sitting on the terrace overlooking Ashland Creek. From there, you can explore Lithia Park, 93 acres of paradise-like land that includes green lawns, a playground, a creek to wade in, a duck pond, tennis courts, and a Japanese garden. You can also visit Emigrant Lake at the other end of town.
If you need a dump station while in the area, your best bet is probably going to be the Valero Station as it has a large turnaround that is easy to maneuver with an RV. If you would like to spend the night and enjoy the beautiful area, check out the campground at Ashland’s Creekside RV Park. This place is away from town, so you can sleep to the sound of crickets. They also have a heated swimming pool and wireless hot spot.
Redding, California, has over 300 days of sunshine a year, making it the second-sunniest city in the country. This city is known for outdoor adventure, and it is surrounded by mountains, including nearby Mt. Shasta, with miles of hiking and biking trails, the Sacramento River, and national parks nearby. You must check out the Sundial Bridge, one of the world’s biggest working sundials. There are also excellent fishing opportunities, waterfalls, and a fascinating history to explore.
If you are looking for a dump station, check out the Marina RV Park. It is located on the Sacramento River and has both drinking and rinse water available. If you want to stay the night and do some exploring, check out the Redding RV Park. It is in downtown Redding, close to shopping and within walking distance of the WaterWorks Park. This park also has its own convenience store and plenty of shade.
San Bernardino, California
Toward the end of your Portland to Phoenix road trip, you'll discover San Bernardino, California, just east of Los Angeles. They offer interesting sites like the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art where Ancient Egyptian relics are on display. Visit Seccombe Lake Park, which has playgrounds for the kids and plenty of good fishing. Just north of the city is the resort town of Big Bear Lake.
If you need a dump station in the San Bernardino area, you can use the facilities at Saddleback Butte State Park in Lancaster. For excellent camping, head off the beaten path a little to the Yucaipa Regional Park in Yucaipa. It is an award-winning campground with full hookups, access to three lakes, and even a water slide.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Portland to Phoenix, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Portland or Phoenix.