Las Vegas or “Sin City” has long been one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. With so many bright lights that you can see from near and far, it’s quite fascinating when the Las Vegas skyline hits the horizon as you are heading towards it. The closer you get to the city, the more the anticipation and excitement begin to build. How much fun will you have in Vegas when you get there?
Sin City gets plenty of sun each year. But the heat can be quite sweltering. After all, you are in the desert. It gets ridiculously hot during the day, but it gets pretty cool when night falls. Las Vegas is also one of the more central locations in the western United States to start a road trip. You are within an hour’s drive from Death Valley in one direction and the western rim of the Grand Canyon the next.
Traveling from Las Vegas to Portland, Oregon is an eventful trip that will span anywhere between three to five days. But with a van or an RV, every trip is worthwhile. From Sin City to Rose City, there are plenty of places that you’ll need to check out along the way. Let’s hop in, buckle up and get this trip started.
The first place to stop is just on the western outskirts of Las Vegas. The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area stretches out to about thirteen miles and includes over two dozen hiking trails. The perfect place to not only hike, but also study the plants, wildlife, and geology of Southern Nevada. If you are looking for beautiful red-streaked mountains and rocks, this might be a place worth checking out. You can take nature walks while snapping photos of the rocky landscapes or bike or off-road drive the offroad paths. Whatever your adventure, Red Rock Canyon is the perfect place.
Now that you’ve explored the park, you can continue on towards your next destination. Alternatively, you can ride back into town and stay another night at one of the several RV parks in Vegas. If you want to stay on the strip, Circus Circus has an RV park where you can park your van or RV.
Of course, Nevada does border Oregon to the north. However, there won’t be much to see as you are driving through much of the Silver State. So let’s make this road trip a lot less boring and take a detour through California. Drive up US Route 95 and switch off at the small town of Beatty, Nevada onto Route 374. In minutes, you’ll cross into the Golden State and into Death Valley National Park. Death Valley needs no introduction. It’s one of the hottest places in the world. And it’s a below-sea-level basin with gorgeous landscapes. Despite the name, there is plenty of wildlife that live here. And it’s also the perfect place to hike, take pictures, and take in the scenery. Just be sure to keep cool and try not to stay in the hot sun for too long.
There are some campsites that are situated throughout Death Valley National Park. But if you are willing to go a little out of the way and outside of the park, you might want to check out the Boulder Creek RV Park. Just go through California State Route 190 and hop back on US Route 395 until you reach the south end of Lone Pine.
You are now smack dab in the middle of a place where everything is huge. We’re talking mountains (by the way, you’ll be near Mount Whitney, which is the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states). But you do not want to miss the chance to check out some of the tallest trees on earth at Sequoia National Park. You can hike and walk amongst the giant trees that will tower close to 300 feet. Prepared to be amazed by the sight of these trees when you set foot here.
Here’s a pro-tip for you if you are crunched for time: you can leave Las Vegas before dawn and get to Death Valley and do some exploring. Also, if you have enough time you can explore Sequoia National Park. If not the same day, do it the next day before you head out. Either way, you’ll probably be staying at the same RV park that was recommended in the last POI. Sequoia National Park does have RV parks, but they are on the western edge of the park and might be a little too out of the way.
Ah yes, good old Yosemite. Probably one of the most popular national parks in America. If there was a Mount Rushmore of National Parks, you better believe that Yosemite would be up there. This park covers 1,200 square miles and has plenty of sequoia trees, rock formations, mountains, and so much more. You would be hard-pressed to find any other place to hike, walk, bike, camp, and explore. You might end up spending a day or two if you’re up to the task. There is a lot of ground that you absolutely should cover.
As expected, there’s a whole slew of RV parks and campgrounds to choose from. Some of them are on a first-come, first-serve basis so choose wisely.
After spending some time on US 395, you’re back in the State of Nevada. However, you can explore the lake that straddles both the Nevada and California state line. Right next to the lake is the Tahoe National Forest. In the wintertime, Tahoe is one of the most popular tourist places. That’s because it attracts a lot of skiers and snowboarders. You can do some boating, hiking, walking, or fishing. There is no shortage of happenings going on at Tahoe. There are also plenty of beaches along the lakeshore as well. Go for a swim, catch some rays, it’s all up to you.
Most of the RV parks are located on the California side of the lakeshore. You’ll be back in California anyway since you’ll need to hop back on US 395 and head farther north towards Oregon. However, if you’re driving a slightly larger RV you can probably get a spot at the Coachland RV Park or the Truckee River RV Park located outside of the California town of Truckee.
After leaving California, you’ll be back in Nevada one more time through Reno and back on US-395 once again. This time, you’ll be staying on the route through the remainder of California and well into Oregon. After merging on to US Routes 20 and later 26, you’ll end up at Mount Hood National Forest. If you are looking to do plenty of activities outdoors, Mount Hood might be the closest thing to heaven. Then again, you’ve already been to Sequoia and Yosemite so you might be inclined to say the same thing about them too. You can do all kinds of hiking, nature walks, hunt, fish, horseback ride, and so on. No matter what time of year it is, there’s always something to do. While you are there, get a good shot of Mount Hood, the tallest mountain in the state of Oregon.
As expected, there are so many campgrounds located inside Mount Hood National Park. Some can fit large RVs. But if you have a van or smaller RV, you won’t have trouble finding space at the other parks or campgrounds.
After pushing through the last 60 miles, you’ve made it to Portland. The Rose City sits on the edge of the Columbia River where you can look over into Washington State. There are plenty of parks inside the city of Portland. However, if you want something a little out of the way, the Silver Star Scenic Area just east of Vancouver, Washington might be a place worth checking out for plenty of hiking trails. You can make a day trip out of it if you plan on spending more than one day in Portland.
You can also set up shop at one of the many RV parks that Portland has. Most of them will be on the outskirts of town. One, in particular, is the Columbia River RV Park. You’ll get all kinds of amenities and full hookups that fit your RV.