Four national parks and at least five state parks offer amazing adventures on a road trip from Seattle to Reno. Regardless of your climbing abilities, you will find a rock or mountain that you want to summit. Go hiking in old-growth forests and through a temperate rainforest. See the highest volcanic peak in the lower 48 and explore the most extensive alpine glacial system in the contiguous United States. Visit a house where balls seem to roll uphill without any help and a bridge made of glass. Then, settle in for a ride on a historic railroad while enjoying Lake Tahoe's stunning views.
Olympic National Park
Start your trip by going about two hours northeast to visit Olympic National Park. A cellphone audio tour provides a great way to get an overview of this park. Hurricane Ridge, located 17 miles south of Port Angeles, Washington, is the most easily accessible mountain area in the park. Hike along ridgetop traverses or follow steep trails descending to subalpine lakes and valleys in this area. Then, head to Elwha Valley, located 11 miles west of Port Angeles, to hike through mountain forests and along bubbling streams. About six miles further, you will find Lake Crescent, which is a great place to rent a rowboat for some water fun. Next, head to the Sol Duc Valley in the park's northwest region. This valley is particularly a great place to watch the salmon leap over the falls in September and October. Other times, it is a fantastic place for a hiking adventure, with many trails in this area taking two to three days to complete. The Hoh temperate rainforest is an excellent place to explore, and much of it is left in a natural state. If you love secluded places, visit the Staircase area, which is only accessible via unpaved roads. This area between Olympia and Port Angeles is an excellent place for a hike through the Douglas fir forest, along the Skokomish River, and around Lake Chapman.
Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S., and you will want to visit this location near Ashford, Washington, on your road trip from Seattle to Reno. The wildflowers are particularly stunning in the springtime in the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park. The park, which gets an average of 643 inches of snow annually, is also a favorite among wintertime visitors. The Longmire area contains the park's original headquarters, which has been turned into a museum telling the history of this park that first became federally protected land in 1899. Sunrise is the highest point in the park that you can reach with a vehicle. In 2006, a flood destroyed Carbon River Road, which has been turned into a fantastic area to go hiking. Open only from July to October, Mowich Lake is a great place for a nonmotorized boating adventure as it is the deepest and largest lake in this park. It is also a fantastic place to go fishing. Hike along the trails in the Ohanapecosh area to see this park's beautiful waterfalls.
Crater Lake National Park
About 7,700 years ago, the area that is now Crater Lake National Park was a tall peak, but a volcano erupted. The result is a stunningly beautiful lake that you will want to visit on your road trip from Seattle to Reno. The 33-mile drive around the lake is a fantastic way to experience the scenic beauty of this location near Crater Lake, Oregon, as there are 30 pullovers designed for you to enjoy the best views. Consider the rim drive trolly tour so that everyone can enjoy the scenery. Another great way to experience this park is on one of the summertime boat tours. Before leaving, stroll through the Rim Village to see the buildings that workers constructed of native materials in the early 1920s.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park near Mineral, California, is a place that you should explore on your road trip itinerary from Seattle to Reno. You will want to go on hikes at this park to experience its hydrothermal features. Stroll along the one-mile sidewalk in the Sulphur Works area located close to the south visitors' entrance to see boiling mud pots and steam vents. The Devil's Kitchen trail allows you to see a bubbling cauldron. One sight that you will not want to miss seeing in this park is the Boiling Steams Lake, where the water stays 125 degrees throughout the year.
Tolmie State Park
Get your mouth set for a clam dinner that you caught yourself when visiting Tolmie State Park near Olympia, Washington. The beach is not only a great place to go clamming, but it also offers a fun spot for families to enjoy their favorite beach activities. Bring along your scuba gear to enjoy the artificial reef located just offshore.
Millersylvania State Park
Millersylvania State Park near Olympia, Washington, is a great place to rent a boat for some water fun. There are many miles of hiking and biking trails to explore through old-growth forests. This park's two swimming beaches are great places for summertime fun.
Elijah Bristow State Park
Elijah Bristow State Park on the Middle Fork of the Willamette River near Dexter, Oregon. Horseback riders, mountain bikers, and hikers can follow over 10 miles of trails running along ponds and wetlands and through lush meadows. This park is a fantastic place to go fishing for salmon and steelhead trout. It is also a great place to go bird-watching, with bald eagles often being spotted at this location.
Van Sickle Bi-State Park
Van Sickle Bi-State Park is near Lake Tahoe, California. You will want to extend your road trip from Seattle to Reno by about 60 miles to visit this beautiful location. Hike along the short trails and climb up the rock outcroppings to see unbelievable views of Lake Tahoe, which is the largest alpine lake in North America. National Geographic has named the rim trail at this park as one of the top 10 trails in the United States. Approximately 540 acres of this park belong to Nevada, and the rest belongs to California.
Chihuly Bridge of Glass
Designed by Dale Chihuly, the Chihuly Bridge of Glass connects the Museum of Glass to downtown Tacoma, Washington. Lining the entire bridge are glass artworks created by this artist. The bridge also offers stunning views of the river and Tacoma.
Mount Hood National Forest
Head 62 miles west of Portland, Oregon, to visit Mount Hood National Forest near Sandy, Oregon. This site covers more than 1,067,000 acres. Fishing, boating, hiking, hunting, rafting, horseback riding, skiing, mountain biking, berry-picking, and mushroom collecting are just a few of the activities that you can do at more than 170 developed recreational sites within this national forest.
Since 1930, people have been stopping at the Oregon Vortex. This house near Incline Village, Washington, is filled with many optical illusions, including one that makes you appear taller or shorter depending on where you stand. You may also want to visit this site to see if you sense or experience any paranormal activity.
Virginia & Truckee Railroad
Head to the Virginia & Truckee Railroad Depot in Virginia City, Nevada, even though it means you will need to drive about 30 miles south of Reno. During a 30-minute train ride, you can ride in a train pulled by a steam or diesel engine through a train tunnel. You may also want to choose the option allowing you to have time to explore Gold Hill, Nevada. Special holiday trains run frequently.
Olympia, Washington, on Puget Sound's south end, is a great place to stop and stock up on your camping supplies because many Olympia campgrounds are near shopping districts. Outstanding options include Alderbrook Estates RV Park and South Sound RV Park. Many Olympia RV dump stations are in scenic areas that you will want to explore.
You will love visiting Portland, Oregon, especially if you're a foodie because this city is home to many great eateries. When you camp at great campgrounds in Portland, like Clackamette RV Park or Portland Fairview RV Park, you can also create your own gourmet creations at your spacious campsite. You can easily find RV dump stations in Portland. Some options include Ainsworth State Park, Jantzen Beach RV Park, and Pheasant Ridge RV Resort.
You will love seeing this city's many cherry trees, which give the city its nickname of Cherry City. You will also adore the fabulous Salem campgrounds, including Phoenix RV Park, Hee Hee Illahee RV Resort, and Salem Campground and RVs. Convenient RV dump stations in Salem at Silver Falls State Park, Silver Spur RV Park & Resort, and other locations make it easy to get ready to travel across northeast California before reaching Reno.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Seattle to Reno, 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 Seattle or Reno.
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