My Pacific Northwest Roadtrip: first impressions

pacific northwest roadtrip crater lake national park

My Pacific Northwest Roadtrip: first impressions after coming home

It has already been a few weeks since I came home from my Pacific Northwest roadtrip, yet it feels like I was there yesterday. I’ve wanted to go and see it forever and last summer, that dream finally came true. My head is filled with stories I’d like to tell you about this super special place. There were highlights, lows, amazing landscapes and not so amazing landscapes. Today I’m giving you my first impressions of my Pacific Northwest roadtrip!

The cities

Although you may not expect it from me, but a nice city does make me really happy. I’ve visited both Vancouver and Victoria in Canada on my previous trips (which technically also are a part of the PNW) and this time I visited both Seattle and Portland. Seattle made the biggest impression on me, it’s such a buzzing city. Portland didn’t really do it for me, maybe that’s also because I was here on a Sunday and most foodtrucks (which I think the city is famous for) were closed plus I still had a major jetlag. I’d still like to go back one day though to explore more of it!

The nature

Nature was my main reason to see the Pacific Northwest. A few years ago I made a four week roadtrip in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming and I have to say that I enjoyed the Pacific Northwest as much as that region. Especially Crater Lake National Park and Mount Rainier made a great impression on me. Other places I visited and loved were the Oregon Coast, Mount Hood, Columbia River Gorge and Olympic National Park. My hiker-heart instantly started beating a lot faster upon entering those areas.
reis door de pacific northwest

The camping

Well yeah, camping was a little bit of an issue. As I had not booked anything in advance, finding a place to pitch up my tent became quite a challenge each day. Most sites were already booked up and because of that I even spent one night sleeping in my car. Plus on my last campsites there was a bear which kind of scared me at some point. Being all by myself in a tent in bear country was a bit of a thing, but nonetheless it was super exciting, too. Generally said I do love camping in the US though. Especially the national park sites are amazing, despite the fact they do not have showers and at some point, I hadn’t showered in over a week.

The people

Although I have met quite a bunch of friends and people I know during my trip (Garth in the Columbia River Gorge, my friends Melissa and Cindy in Portland and fellow Dutchie Inge in Seattle) I didn’t really get to know many other travelers. I have to say that Americans are very friendly and interested, but other than the regular talk (who are you, where are you from, where are you going, why are you alone?) I didn’t really connect with others. It may also have to do with the fact that I camped and was not staying in hostels and it’s OK really. As for a digital nomad, it may not be ideal to roadtrip through the US if you want to make some friends along the way.

The budget

I gave myself a USD 1.000 budget for this trip, not counting the planeticket and my rental car. Eventually I spent about USD 1.250 which is a bit more than planned. I had an expensive dinner in Seattle with Inge as a thank you for sleeping on her couch and booked myself a few hotels because of early flights. I also bought some souvenirs for friends and family back home so all in all I can’t really say I’ve been way over my limit. Plus my trip to Alaska ended up quite a bit cheaper than planned so I’m quite happy in general.
reis door de pacific northwest

The number one highlight of my Pacific Northwest Roadtrip

This must be Crater Lake National Park. I’ve always wanted to visit and in reality it’s even prettier than on the pictures I’d seen on the internet. I climbed Mount Scott which is the highest point inside the park, drove the Rim Road twice (simply because it’s that stunning) and just gazed at the lake for hours. It was quite a drive to get there, but well worth every hour behind the wheel. If you ever get the chance: GO!
pacific north west roadtrip crater lake national park

The lows of my Pacific Northwest Roadtrip

This is definitely missing North Cascades National Park. Or at least, the views. At the end of my trip I drove here and it got very hazy. As it turned out, there were bushfires all over British Columbia and the smoke had been blown to Washington. The views were not good and after spending one night in the park, I decided to leave as it’s not very good for my asthma. It’s a good reason to come back to this region one day though! Another low definitely was how busy it was at certain places. Sometimes I had to queue for an hour to get into a certain national park. Especially Mount Rainier was extremely busy as well as the Oregon Coast, but I guess that comes with traveling in the high season. Next time I’ll try to travel later to avoid such crowds for sure.
pacific northwest roadtrip

What else …

All in all I really enjoyed my time in the Pacific Northwest. It was green, gorgeous and basically one of the most beautiful natural places in the US I have been to. The volcanoes were stunning, the hikes were gorgeous and basically I never felt scared or uncomfortable despite the fact I was all by myself. I’d really like to return here one day and spend more time because overall, two weeks to see so much is definitely not nearly enough. More blogs about my Pacific Northwest Roadtrip will be coming up soon!
Want to read more? You may also like these posts:
The best hikes in Colorado
How to plan for Yellowstone National Park
How to spend 24 hours in Bryce Canyon National Park
All about the Oregon outback Scenic Byway and things to do
Curious who I am? Check my bio to learn more! For a daily dose of outdoor & adventure inspiration, follow me on Instagram and Facebook!
Thanks for sharing!