A Portland to Reno road trip is an adventure through the beautiful forestlands of Oregon and California. You can start by taking in the unique culture in Portland, Oregon, and travel down the I-5 through farmland and mountains. Then, leave the freeway at Eugene and head through some of the most breathtaking forestlands in the country. Make sure you have your camera ready.
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park is the only national park in Oregon. Comprised of a pristine lake made from a collapsed volcano, it is the deepest lake in the United States. There's much to see and do depending on what time of the year you make the trip. The area usually sees quite a bit of snow in the winter, so there are opportunities for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. When the weather is a bit milder, you can hike the trails, take pictures of the view or take a tour by boat to the island. Check out the webcams online to see how clear the skies are before you make the trip.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park is a wonderland where you'll find mountain lakes, meadows full of wildflowers, and steaming fumaroles. The available activities will vary depending on the time of year you visit, but there's always plenty going on if you're looking to explore the scenic wilderness. In the summer and fall, you can partake in ranger activities; in the spring and winter, you can enjoy skiing and snowshoeing.
Molalla River State Park
Molalla River State Park is a beautiful little area just off the freeway near Canby, Oregon. The drive there is quite scenic, and once you're there, you can enjoy a picnic, boating, fishing or simply taking in the wildlife. This is a natural area where three rivers come together and provide a wonderful habitat for a variety of birds and wildlife.
Willamette Mission State Park
Willamette Mission State Park near Wheatland, OR, is a beautiful stop with a rich history. It's built on land where the first mission for American Indians was founded in 1834 by the Reverend Jason Lee. Today, this is a great spot for boaters and anglers. The park also hosts the largest black cottonwood in the country, making it a wonderful location to have a picnic and throw some horseshoes.
Elijah Bristow State Park
Elijah Bristow State Park is located near Eugene on the middle fork of the Willamette River. It was named after one of the pioneer settlers in the area, and it contains about 847 acres of wetlands, woodlands, and meadows. This is a gorgeous picnic area and the perfect spot to stop and catch your breath before you leave the freeway and head through the forests. There's some excellent fishing here as well as wildlife watching if you're an avid photographer.
Collier Memorial State Park
Collier Memorial State Park has excellent RV camping near Klamath Falls, Oregon. You can enjoy visiting an outdoor museum featuring logging equipment and a relocated pioneer village. The Williamson River and Clear Creek converge at the park. The park also offers hiking trails, exhibit information, and even a dump station.
Before you head out from Portland, stop by to visit the Oregon Zoo. Located in western Portland, the zoo covers 64 acres with a wide variety of habitats and animals. It was founded in 1888 and is the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi River, but you'd be hard-pressed to tell thanks to how much care goes into maintaining the park.
Hendricks Park is the oldest park in Eugene, Oregon. It covers 80 acres and features a world-renowned native plant and rhododendron garden. It's a favorite spot for hikers, bird-watchers, and anyone who truly enjoys nature.
McCredie Hot Springs
McCredie Hot Springs is located just outside the town of Oakridge, Oregon. After a while on the road on your Portland to Reno RV road trip, you may find it soothing to sit in some warm water. This is a day-use area only that's fairly undeveloped, but it makes for a nice break stop.
Upper Klamath Lake
Upper Klamath Lake is the largest freshwater lake, by surface area, in Oregon. It's quite popular with anglers, having become a fly fisherman’s paradise. The lake is an ideal place to visit for boaters as well as those who appreciate seeing waterfowl and animals.
Lassen Historical Museum
The Lassen Historical Museum and Roop’s Fort is a fascinating little stopping point nestled in beautiful Susanville, California. This museum contains Native American art, arrowhead collections, and the last pieces of some historic uptown businesses. They even have an amazing photo collection of some of the county’s founding fathers. Roop’s Fort, which is right next door to the museum, is the oldest building in Lassen County.
Portland is the largest city in Oregon, and it has a quirky culture all its own. Portland is home to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry that features submarine tours. You'll enjoy exploring breweries, plenty of vintage shopping, and cultural events in this fun city. If you need to visit a dump station before heading out on your road trip, they're available at most of the RV parks in the area. There's also a free option at Ainsworth State Park on Highway 84. There are lots of camping options available in the Portland area, but Clackamette RV Park is a convenient choice because it's south of the city so that you can easily be on your way in the morning.
Eugene, Oregon, is the home of the Oregon Ducks and the University of Oregon. It's a gorgeous city tucked up against the Willamette River that is known for outdoor activities like hiking and bicycling. The parks in the area offer peaceful walks and many photography opportunities. Be sure to explore the 5th Street Public Market and other unique shopping options in this quiet college town.
For a dump station in Eugene, you can go to Eugene Kamping World RV Park in Coburg. There are also two or three locations available in Cottage Grove, which is a little south of Eugene. After looking at the list of RV campgrounds around Eugene, you would probably be best served staying at the Black Canyon Campground in Oakridge, about 20 miles east of Eugene. It's a beautiful area that's also right along the route.
Klamath Falls is an interesting town located at the edge of Upper Klamath Lake. It's known for the abundance of outdoor activities like skiing, hunting, fishing, and canoeing. This is also an especially fascinating spot if you enjoy birds as the town offers splendid bird-watching opportunities, including the biggest concentration of bald eagles in the entire Pacific Northwest. If you enjoy golfing, check out the course where Arnold Palmer once golfed.
Once you drop out of the mountains and into Klamath Falls, you may need to visit a dump station. The easiest one to find will likely be at Klamath County Fairgrounds. They also have water available, and there are also plenty of options for camping in Klamath Falls. The Oregon Motel 8 & RV Park is a comfortable and economical choice. Enjoy recreational game rooms and laundry facilities while you're there.
When you go over your road trip itinerary for Portland to Reno, you have quite a fun journey to look forward to. You begin in the weirdness of Portland, Oregon, and travel south through agricultural properties along the I-5. You arrive in Eugene, the sleepy college town, and turn off the freeway just south of there, heading through the mountains on Highway 58. From there, it's a drive through some of the most beautiful forests in the country followed by a transition to desert as you get closer to Reno. Traveling by RV gives you the added benefit of being able to stop and explore without worrying about motel check-in and checkout times. If you do not own one, RVshare offers options for rentals that will get you exactly where you want to go on the timeline of your choice.