This is a long weekend road trip; one because of the distance to Crater Lake; but two because you’re going to want to take more time and indulge in the beauty of what’s along the way. Instead of trekking the 400-plus miles straight to Crater Lake, take Highway 1 along the coast, soaking in the small hamlets dotted along the coast.
After getting your fix of the beauty of the coast, head north towards Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park in search of the ‘Boy Scout Tree.’ A convertible makes the experience even more otherworldly as the sheer mass of the native flora short circuits the brain.
Find the trailhead to the Boy Scout Tree and walk the few miles to the massive redwood and to the trail termination at Fern Falls for a truly awe-inspiring hike. Carry in and carry out lunch for a proper picnic.
Treesort for short—for the night where you stay in rustic treehouse cabins before the journey to Crater Lake in the morning. Hopefully the weather is clear, because Crater Lake has some of the bluest water we’ve ever laid eyes on. The collapsed volcano has multiple trails, hikes and views that stretch for miles and overlook the lake. You can even tour the lake by boat, which happens to be one of the deepest lakes in the United States. Stay for a while and soak in one of the great wonders of the west coast.
Since Southern California weather more than likely cooperates most of the time, the trip out to El Mirage Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert is almost always a sure bet for beautiful panoramic landscape vistas. If you’re not prone to getting car sick (check with your passengers, too) Angeles Forest Highway serpentines its way throughout the Angeles National Forest with elevation changes rising to over 6,600 feet and then dropping to around 2,800 once you get to El Mirage.
Make sure to bring a camera because the surreal alien landscape makes for some truly awesome photos of the dry, cracked, sun-beaten earth. And if you’re brave enough, the lake technically has no speed limit, so if you are of the daring type, you could try to bring your vehicle up to triple digit speeds. El Mirage is the home to multiple Land Speed Racing events during the year.
If you’re a plane spotter, UFO believer, or just a lover of aviation, the area always features drones and military aircraft testing in the desert thanks to Edwards Air Force base close by. That being said, there’s a good chance to see otherwise reclusive aviation vehicles circling overhead, as well as airplane “grave yards” scattered around the surrounding area.
Sunscreen and light clothing is a must. It is a desert after all.
[^1]: Photo by Michael Crenshaw
[^2]: Photo by Michael Crenshaw
Currently the full-time Editorial Director and Content Manager for RxSpeed.com, & contributing writer for Scout.com. He also loves photography, videography, his Shiba Inu Mia and driving sports cars.