Travelog III || Southern Oregon
When work gives you an extra day off on an already three-day weekend, what do you do? Plan a funfilled trip for the entire weekend to Southern Oregon!
We spent Friday morning driving from San Francisco to Ashland, Oregon. Left San Francisco at 8AM and arrived in Ashland at 2PM. The entire drive along the I-5 Northbound takes about 5 1/2 hours which doesn't include pit-stops. It's by far one of the prettiest and serene scenic road-trips I've been on. Before Mt. Shasta, there's a fantastic rest stop that lets you view Shasta Lake. Once you pass Mt. Shasta, Ashland is only 1.5 hours away!
Ashland is quite small so you'll be able to see everything within a day. We were there for only half a day and did all the top site-seeing, aside from watching a Shakespeare play (it's what' they're known for in Ashland).
Places: Emigrant Lake - The first thing we did when we arrived in Ashland was go to a lake just 1 mile away from the City Center. Cooper and his shiba-husky sisfur, Sachi, went for a refreshing swim. The lake is dog-friendly (off-leash allowed) and a great place to picnic in the warm sun!
Lithia Park - Considered the Golden Gate Park of Ashland. There's a rushing river that flows through the park. It's not dog-friendly, we found that out from a local who was doing his jogging session through the park. Although, he said that if a Ranger catches you with a dog, first time offender will be given a warning. Soooo...if you're only there for a day, just take a chance at exploring the park with your pup (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). You didn't get that from me.
Hotel: The M Ashland Hotel - Dog friendly hotel with nice customer service. It's a decent hotel with all the essentials you'll need for the night, however, be aware of potential bed bugs. Call in advanced to book a dog-friendly room, don't rely on internet reservation to tell you that it's dog-friendly. Advice: request for new bed sheets and pillows.
Lunch: NW Raw - How San Francisco of us to go here for lunch. It was surprisingly really good! Highly recommend the Coconut Curry and Pesto Pasta. This place is 100% raw and vegan. My boyfriend is a huge meat-eater and he found the coconut curry to be delicious! Considering how unhealthy our meals have been with all the fast-food we ate during our pit-stops, NW Raw made me feel better about myself.
Breakfast/Brunch: Morning Glory - It's an American brunch cafe that serves up some spectacular buttermilk waffles. Highly recommend the red crab omelette and shrimp cake with poached eggs! I assumed it's dog-friendly since they have outdoor seatings but it won't be set up right at the crack of dawn, 8AM. People start queuing 15 minutes before opening so get there at 7:45AM for a guaranteed spot!
Places: Mt. McLoughlin - Seriously thought we were going to be able to hike up the mountain on this strenuous trail, we were all packed and ready for the challenge. However, there were plenty of snow left and that made it hard for us to navigate the actual main trail up to Mt. McLoughlin. Since we were new to the area, we didn't want to risk being lost in the wilderness. After walking 2.5 miles to the trailhead, we ended up walking back to the car (another 2.5 miles) when we couldn't figure out where the main trail start. Despite this change of event, we still put in some decent miles and had a lot of fun along the way.
Fish Lake - Located just 2 miles from Mt. McLoughlin summit entrance within the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is a fair sized lake. Fishing is allowed in the lake but it's a catch-and-release kind of situation. Highly suggest renting a motorboat and get yourself to the middle of the lake for a magnificent gander at Mt. McLoughlin while getting some of that good vitamin D. We were out in the middle of the lake for 2 hour and had our afternoon lunch.
Hotel: A-1 Budget Motel - Decent low-rise motel just off the freeway in Klamath Falls that's dog-friendly. Similar to the hotel we stayed in Ashland, it provided the basic essentials. Although we like to refer to this motel as the "Murder Motel" cause the room appeared as the type of place where Dexter would dismembered his victim at. We survived the night so there's nothing to worried about.
Dinner: Thai Orchid Cafe - Who knew that good Thai food can be found in the middle of a small town! Their in-house Thai iced tea was bomb-diggity, a must-have! Everything on the menu looked delicious and our food was no exception. We ordered the beef jerky as an appetizer, sweet-and-sour fried trout, and duck curry. The service and staff was great. Haven't had such good Thai food since moving out of Los Angeles, this is saying a lot!
Places: Crater Lake National Park - The sole reason why this Southern Oregon roadtrip was made possible, our main destination was Crater Lake. It's one of the many National Parks that we wanted to see and admire up close. And I have to say, I loved every second of it. The humongous caldera filled with water was a sight to see and the vastness of it all will just leave you at awe. The weather was fantastic, clear sky in the mid-70s. There are still plenty of snow when we got there. For a decent hike with spectacular view: park your car at Rim Village, from there walk to Discovery Point (1 mile), from Discovery Point you can walk along Rim Drive towards The Watchman Peak. You'll get an amazing view of Crater Lake entirety regardless of where you stop along the way.
Cabin: Union Creek Resort - Just 20 miles away from Crater Lake is a basecamp that offers serene forest settings with great lodging. The lodge rooms are NOT dog-friendly, however, the cabins are. Our cabin had a great homey feeling to it and you're practically out in the woods. There's a rushing river nearby and plenty of great walking trails. All are dog-friendly, just make sure they're on-leash.
Dinner: Beckie's Cafe - A local gem that offer quality meals at a reasonable price. They also have homemade pies that are quite delicious. Try to get their huckleberry pie, they're known for that! And it's only available seasonally.
Quick Tip: If you're still in the proximity of Crater Lake after spending a whole afternoon there, make sure to go back for the sunset or wait it out. The sunset is SO SOOOO worth it. Just when you think it doesn't get any more majestic than what the daytime offered, Crater Lake during sunset will leave you breathless.
We left Union Creek on Monday morning and did a quick pit-stop in Prospect for gas (we only had 10 miles left!) before driving out of the state. After three days in the South of Oregon, I can see ourselves coming back again and exploring more of what this wonderful state has to offer. We'll be sure to set our pawprints and footprints back in Oregon soon enough!
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