Hi, I live in San Francisco and would like to plan a 3-day road trip with my son, who is 18. We wanted to see the Crater Lake but found out it is closed for the winter. Can you please suggest an April destination that is driveable from Northern California, offers nature, hikes? – Oksana W.
Glad to hear you planned a trip to Crater Lake, Oregon’s only national park. To clarify, it’s not closed. Some of the road and facilities are closed. But it’s well worth seeing in wintertime, when there are some unique opportunities for exploring the park. Snowshoe hikes on the weekends are free through April 29, and the park even provides the snowshoes. I personally have done the snowshoe hike and wrote about it for the Medford Mail Tribune newspaper. Just make sure to register in advance because the hikes do fill up. As you probably gathered, Crater Lake is in a very remote area of the state. The closest lodging this time of year is about an hour away in Prospect. I have never stayed at the Prospect Hotel, but I hear good things about it.
If you don’t feel up for a trek in the snow, Southern Oregon has plenty more to offer. The Table Rocks are locals’ favorite for hiking, particularly in April, when wildflowers paint the landscape with fleeting colors. Free, guided hikes are offered through the Bureau of Land Management and other conservation groups. For more outdoor activities in the region, check the Medford Mail Tribune’s weekly Oregon Outdoors section.
Depending on what time of day you get into Oregon from San Francisco or head for home, you may want to stop for the night in Ashland, which is several hours’ drive away from Crater Lake. Ashland has the most lodging and dining options of any town in the region, ranging from budget motels, bed-and-breakfasts to luxury accommodations. The historical Ashland Springs Hotel is among the best-known landmarks. It was renovated and completely redone several years ago. Rooms are small but charming and comfortable, and the restaurant downstairs is very good.
Have something to add What’s Your Answer?
Share your thoughts Answers From Other People
Your comment will be the first one for this story. Some might think of this as a lot of pressure, but as a trail blazer you recognize that someone has to be first. Your fellow travelers appreciate your opinion, so thanks in advance!
Other questions about Southern Oregon
- I’d like to get information about bicycling the entire length of the OC&E Woods Line State Trail. I’d like to hear from someone who has actually done it. I’m interested in the best type of bicycle to use, is an off-road touring bike OK (Salsa Fargo, for instance), recommended tire size, water availability (streams, creeks, etc.), location of the trailhead in the Sycan Marsh, and so on. I haven’t been able to get much information from people who have cycled on the trail. Thanks.
- We are planning a business trip to Ashland in late July. Could you tell me of interesting sites in that area? Any ideas for day trips? Any wineries?
- What is the best time of year to visit the Rogue-Umpqua Byway to see the waterfalls?
About Ask Oregon Expert Sarah Lemon
Sarah Lemon is a writer and editor for the Mail Tribune newspaper in Medford, Ore. The Tribune's food editor, Sarah covers Southern Oregon's unique, up-and-coming food scene in the weekly section, A la Carte, and on her blog, The Whole Dish. She also produces stories on a wide variety of topics from the outdoors, health and fitness to entertainment, the home and gardening for the Tribune and associated publications.