The West Coast has many beautiful areas to explore and going in an RV is the best way to see them. You get the comforts of home while nature is on your doorstep every day. The West Coast offers many mountains, coastal areas, and lakes to visit and if you plan ahead you can visit them all. One of the most popular scenic drive is probably driving down the PCH but there are many other ones that are worth mentioning. I’ll talk about those below:
Tioga Pass is a scenic mountain pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It serves as the eastern entry point for Yosemite National Park and is the highest highway pass in California. Beyond being just a pass to drive through the mountains along, Tioga Pass is home to Dana trail which winds through the valleys and allows you to explore vast meadows and wildlife. The meadow areas are home to many lakes and rivers and once the snow melts, the fields are alive with colorful plants and flowers. Plan your visit carefully because the Tioga Pass closes through parts of the year, typically between October and May. You also need to take care and watch for warning as avalanches and rockfalls are common in the area. Follow directions and road safety warning carefully.
Lake Tahoe Scenic Drive allows you to explore the Sierra Nevada Mountains, driving through both California and Nevada. The loop follows three paved highways and travels around the entire Lake, with numerous places to stop and explore along the way. The road is not directly along the water’s edge but rather is about 50 feet back, with many stops and places to pull out and park. Along with crystal clear blue waters, there is hiking, cycling, camping, and abundant wildlife to enjoy. South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City both offer shopping and dining as well as indoor entertainment venues. For your outdoor entertainment, there are trails winding away from the highway in every direction or you can make your way down to any one of the beaches for a day of relaxation. The Lake is great in all seasons offering summer fun and skiing in the winter. Just take care in the winter as roads can be icy and some sections of the highway will be closed.
Lassen Scenic Byway Runs through Lassen National Forest and Lassen Volcanic National Park. The natural beauty of this drive is known as one of the most scenic drives in California. The loop is 185 miles and can only be driven during the day and there are several places along the way to get out and explore. For the avid hikers, you can stop along the Spatter Cone Crest Trail and check out the volcanoes and wonderful views from the great heights. The Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail was once a railroad line and is great for biking, hiking and horse riding. Along the way stop for fishing and camping or just to take photos of the varied and scenic landscape.
Crater Lake Rim is a scenic drive within the Crater National Park in Oregon. The Rim Drive is 33 miles long and offers lake views, panoramic vistas, forests, and meadows. There are over 30 overlooks for you to stop along for photos and views and various picnic areas and hiking trails. Along the trails, you can explore scenic waterfalls and geologic formations. Trails vary in terms of difficulty so there is something for everyone. The Rim Drive is closed during certain times over the winter so be sure to plan ahead for a visit. There are also trolley tours available if you need some downtime but still want to explore.
Highway 395 starts in Lee Vining California and ends in the historic Bodie ghost town. Along the way, you will see Mono Lake which is known to be the most alkaline lake in the country and features some unique geological formations. Devil’s Postpile is a magnificent display of columnar basalt and June Lake is a favorite for fisherman. Get your fill of hot springs in Hot Creek Gulch and see the Methuselah tree in bristlecone pine forest, which is the world’s oldest living thing (almost 5000 years old). You can also challenge yourself to climb Mount Whitney which is the tallest peak in the contiguous USA. There is no shortage of recreation and outdoor adventure for every enthusiast along the scenic 395 highway.