GoCamp’s Top 8 Road Trips for Fall

Do you hear that? The soft sounds of autumn are whispering, “Come find me …”. Fall in love with the open road and celebrate the seasonal transition and magic of the equinox one mile at a time. GoCamp has the wheels you need to take you on your autumn adventures! We have vans available for pick up in Portland, Bend, Boise, Los Angeles and the Bay Area. We’ll take care of everything from bedding to kitchenware and every detail in between. All you need to bring are your coziest fall layers, and your favorite pumpkin-spiced snacks, naturally.  

Here are a few of our top picks for road trips this fall!

Pillars of Rome & Owyhee Canyonlands

  •  From Boise: 119 miles (a little over 2 hours)

  •  From Bend: 234 miles (about 4 hours)

Along the arid edge of U.S. Route 95 in Eastern Oregon stand 100’ clay cliffs that are an impressive 5 miles in length, and 2 miles across! As the sun begins to lower its cast and the days become shorter, the play of light on the Pillars of Rome will capture imaginations … and max out memory cards! Have your road trip playlist ready, because you’re going to want to spend some time cruising along the sparsely populated curves of the Owyhee River, windows rolled down to let the crisp high desert air envelop you in its sagebrush sweetness. No matter where else the road may take you — touring the Owyhee Canyonlands, exploring Jordan Craters, hiking Leslie Gulch — make sure it takes you to Rome Station for a fill-up (and maybe a cheeseburger!), because out here the skies may be wide, but the pit stops are few! 

Where to GoCamp: 

Rome Launch Campground 

BLM Birch Creek Historic Ranch 

 

 photo credit: John Waller,  Uncage the Soul Productions

photo credit: John Waller, Uncage the Soul Productions

Trailing of the Sheep Festival/Ketchum

  • From Boise: 153 miles (about 2 hours 45 min)

Rated as one of the Top Ten Fall Festivals, the Trailing of the Sheep Festival is back for its 22nd year celebrating Idaho’s rich sheep culture and herding history. The festival runs from October 10 - 14 and includes everything from fiber arts workshops to sheep dog trials, with music and good food consistently flowing, and the colors of autumn brilliantly glowing! Idaho’s fall foliage display is an event in its own right, so take your time meandering and making memories as you roll along in a GoCamp van, with all the comforts of home within easy reach.

Where to GoCamp:

So many options! See the Trailing of the Sheep website for nearby campground options. 

 

 photo via Trailing of the Sheep Festival

photo via Trailing of the Sheep Festival

Steens Loop Tour Route

  • From Bend: 218 miles (about 4 hours)

Steens Mountain is nothing short of a geologic wonder, but because it’s several hours from a major town or city, it’s blissfully free from crowds. Resembling a small mountain range, Steens Mountain is an impressive 30 mile fault block that tops out at about 9,734’, brimming with quaking aspen and dotted with small, still lakes that wait like poetry beneath early morning mists. Take a tour of this remarkable corner of Oregon and cruise along in a van from GoCamp! From Frenchglen traverse the southern end of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and cruise along the Wild and Scenic Donner und Blitzen River. Before reaching the rim of the mountain, pull over for jaw-dropping views at Kiger Gorge, a U-shaped glacial valley that’s home to a herd of wild mustangs! At the East Rim Viewpoint, on a clear day you can see the remarkable playa of the Alvord Desert a mile below, and in the distance, the far-stretching lands of Nevada, Idaho, and California! Capture the changing colors of fall with hikes in Big Indian Gorge and Little Blitzen Gorge before returning to the High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway to wrap up the loop.  Oh and bring your binocs! The Wildlife Channel is almost always on in and around Steens Mountain. 

Where to GoCamp: 

Jackman Park Campground

Page Springs Campground

 

 Photo by John Waller,  Uncage the Soul Productions

Photo by John Waller, Uncage the Soul Productions

Mt. Angel Oktoberfest + Silver Falls

  • From Portland: 40 miles (about 1 hour)

  • Sept 13 -16

Mt. Angel Oktoberfest always starts the second Thursday after Labor Day, right around the time the hops harvest is in, but still early enough to delight in the agreeable temperatures of early Oregon autumn.  Park and camp at multiple overnight spots in Mt. Angel for a convenient (and responsible) strolling commute between the libations of the lively festival. Nearby Silver Falls dazzles in red alder and captivates in a coat of vine maple. Hike the Trail of Ten Falls with raincoat at the ready (just in case), and camera in-hand. Take a morning drive through the rolling hills out to the Oregon Garden in nearby Silverton to stroll (or geocache!) among the stunning gardens and tour the Gordon House, designed by the late, great Frank Lloyd Wright. 

 

 Silver Falls State Park, credit @sergeybidun

Silver Falls State Park, credit @sergeybidun

Mt. Hood Scenic Loop

  • From Portland: 146 mile loop starting just 16 miles outside of downtown Portland

Cruise and nosh your way along the Mt. Hood Scenic Loop! From nabbing the catch of the day at Brigham Fish Market in Cascade Locks to sipping on Cider Days at Draper Girls Country Farm, you’ll find more pretty places to ponder in and around the Mt. Hood/Columbia River Gorge region than perhaps any place on earth. An exaggeration? We honestly don’t think so. The Fruit Loop is a fun route during peak harvest season, and you can fill your baskets with fresh-picked fruit and bring them back to your GoCamp van to enjoy home-cooked applesauce!  

Where to GoCamp:

Tucker Park Campground, Hood River

Cloud Cap Saddle Campground, Cooper Spur

 

 Photo credit  Francisco Lisci

Photo credit Francisco Lisci

Big Sur Food and Wine Festival

  • From San Francisco/Bay Area: 143 miles (about 3 hours)

  • Nov 1 - 4

The only reason anyone ever needs to road trip to Big Sur is … it’s Big Sur! Misty mornings cruising along the coastline will fill the memory tank to the brim! Big Sur has developed a reputation of almost mythical proportions, and the Big Sur Food and Wine Festival is back for its 3rd year to celebrate and stimulate the vitality of this community that’s tucked in tranquility along the towering Redwoods. Enjoy the food, art, and music that the festival has to offer, and then grab a bottle to go and head back to the campground to enjoy the cool breeze of California autumn, while wrapped in the homey comforts of a GoCamp camper van. 

Where to GoCamp:

Big Sur Campground

Ventana Campground

 “Hiking with Stemware” event at  Big Sur Food and Wine Festival

“Hiking with Stemware” event at Big Sur Food and Wine Festival

Truckee/South Lake Tahoe

  • From San Francisco/Bay Area: 187 miles (about 3 hours)

Oh, Tahoe. From the vibrant blue and white-capped waves of the Lake, to the hues and views along the Truckee River Canyon, you are the mini marshmallows to our hot chocolate, the stuff road trip dreams are made of. During peak travel times the roads that wend around the basin can be stoppered with summer’s visitors, but in the fall the pace begins to slow, the crowds dissipate, and a full tank of gas will gladly take you on a 72 mile tour of the Lake. For arts and entertainment and a bit more bustle, visit South Lake Tahoe. Or if a more tranquil experience is what you’re after, pull off the road closer to Truckee and explore the several small lakes nearby.

In the fall, Lake Tahoe is a great place to watch the colors change framed by the vibrant blue of the lake. You can see some of the best fall color views along Highway 89 by following the Truckee River Canyon from South Lake Tahoe to Truckee. Stay in South Lake Tahoe for a more vibrant evening community and active things to do. Stay closer to Truckee for a more relaxed community and small-town feel.

Where to GoCamp:

Lakeside Campground, Truckee

Campground by the Lake, South Lake Tahoe

 South Lake Tahoe photo credit  @lisaohlen

South Lake Tahoe photo credit @lisaohlen

P.S. There are certain places we don’t want to blast across the internet in order to keep them protected from the trammels of our selfie society, but if you book with GoCamp, we’ll be sure to pass along some of our other inside tips for destinations best kept off social media ...