We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Road trip from San Fran to Yosemite to Portland

Road trip from San Fran to Yosemite to Portland

My husband and I are planning a road trip in early May. We have a total of twelve days to spend in the area and I'm a bit concerned about our itinerary. Does anyone know if this sounds like a reasonable timeline to enjoy the scenery without being rushed? Also if anyone would like to add recomendations as far as good grub places, cool towns, highways, hotels, scenic views, or any hidden jewels along the path we are open to all suggestions! We're in our early thirties and enjoy beautiful scenery, nature, art, shopping, bed and breakfasts, and good seafood if that helps!

We are flying into San Francisco where we plan on staying a day and a half. From there we are renting a car and driving out to Yosemite for 2.5 to 3 days. Then we are hitting the Big Sur region and spending another day. From there we'd like to drive up hwy 1 for as long as possible stopping to sight see and explore at our leisure. We would have approximately 3 days to make it up the coast to Portland where we plan to visit for one to two days before flying home the next day.

This is a trip we've been hoping to take for several years so any input or suggestions to make it awesome and memorable would be truly appreciated!

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
33,086 posts
62 reviews
1. Re: Road trip from San Fran to Yosemite to Portland

Portland is a very big detour. Getting to Portland from SF is two days of hard driving directly up the freeway.

What about returning your car to SF and flying to Portland, if its very important to you to get there.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
2. Re: Road trip from San Fran to Yosemite to Portland

Yes, it's a long drive but I think the OP is departing from Portland.

Maybe try this:

1. Arr SF

2. SF

3. SF and drive to Monterey in the afternoon

4. All day for Big sur coast from Monterey

5. Drive to Yosemite (4 hours)

6,7: Yosemite

8. Yosemite-Healdsburg

9. Healdsburg-Crescent City (Redwood NP)

10. Crescent City-Yachats

11. Yachats-Portland

12. Portland.

Still rather rushed esp for the part between Yosemite and Portland and a bit short for San Francisco.

Tet

3. Re: Road trip from San Fran to Yosemite to Portland

Thank you both and yes Portland is very important. I will look into the places you've suggested. I know the San Fran days are limited, but I've been there before and my husband wanted to sacrifice a day there for more time in Yosemite. I've been trying to find the specific amount of route hours from the Big Sur area to Portland via the scenic routes hwys 1 and 101. From what I can tell it's estimated between 12 to 14 hours. Is this correct to the best of anyone's knowledge? I was thinking that three days should be a sufficient amount of drive time up the coast even with the road being a slow twisting route. Is this reasonable?

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
4. Re: Road trip from San Fran to Yosemite to Portland

Yes, you can do the legs I suggested easily in one day but still limited time for Avenue of the Giants and/or Redwood NP on the way. And Healdsburg and Yachats are great places.

Mendocini coast is lovely as well but it will take too much time to also drive this imo.

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
Level Contributor
8,459 posts
20 reviews
5. Re: Road trip from San Fran to Yosemite to Portland

"I was thinking that three days should be a sufficient amount of drive time up the coast even with the road being a slow twisting route. Is this reasonable?"

It sounds like you would like to drive Hwy 1 all the way north from Big Sur to its end in Leggett. Is this correct? And then continue on Hwy 101 through Northern California and the Oregon Coast, making your way to Portland?

This is really too much driving to attempt in 3 days. I suppose it could be done if you spent your entire days behind the wheel. Big Sur to Fort Bragg is 7.5 hours via Hwy 1. That's without stopping anywhere. Fort Bragg to Portland via Hwy 101 and the Oregon Coast would be 11 hours of driving. These are google map estimates and are probably underestimated and dependent on good traffic conditions and good weather. Early May in Oregon is still the rainy season. You may have good weather but you could also run into pretty foul conditions. I think you would enjoy the trip a lot more if you could add a couple of days. That would allow you to spend some time in the scenic areas you will be driving through.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
44,642 posts
1,112 reviews
6. Re: Road trip from San Fran to Yosemite to Portland

Yes, it will be raining on the Oregon coast in May. (Also mid October through late June... we get about 70" per year.)

Anyway, it won't be cold, probably not stormy, should not rain constantly every day and hopefully you'll get some nice weather.

Now, about all those hours of driving . . . yikes! Since you are going to Big Sur, my suggestion would be to skip Highway 1 north of SF. Take 101 instead. It's much faster and is a pleasant drive.

Once north of Eureka, Calif you'll be spending much of your drive with ocean views. The road is a very good two lane highway with some passing lanes. Figure about 50 MPH average since you will be going through many small towns with 25 MPH speed limits.

You do want time to do something other than drive :-)

You do have your lodging booked for Yosemite?

7. Re: Road trip from San Fran to Yosemite to Portland

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 1:16 am, March 26, 2015