Planning a trip from Los Angeles to Portland is no small task. You have a long journey ahead of you, no matter which route you take, and you really need to be motivated to explore to justify not flying. Fortunately, it is one of the most beautiful properties in America, and you won’t want to miss it if you fly in its place.

A car trip from Los Angeles to Portland can be made non-stop in about 15 hours. The scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway takes a week to explore the beautiful landscapes of California and Oregon.

Read the guide for tips on the best stops and attractions to discover on your way to Portland.

What is the distance between Portland and Los Angeles and how long does it take to get there?

The road from Los Angeles to Portland can be between 960 and 1260 miles long, depending on the route you choose. The quickest route can be reached in just under 15 hours (without stops), but these two landscape options extend your journey to 19 or 28 hours.

Whichever route you choose, it’s certainly not a day trip, but if you can afford to stay overnight, the shorter I-5 route is the best option for you.

You can divide the trip into two more or less equal parts by staying in Sacramento, but the catch is that the first day of the trip only gets pretty boring after passing the capital of California.

The highway to Mount Shasta in the Shasta Trinity National Forest in Northern California.
After Sacramento, the road becomes much more picturesque with the I-5 (Mount Shasta in Northern California).

Leonid Andronov/Shutterstock.com

With this in mind, driving Highways 1 and 101 along the Pacific coast will be one of the best travel experiences of your life if you don’t let the long car rides and bends to the coast disturb you.

Travel time depends on traffic congestion at various points along the route, but it takes an average of 28 hours to complete the Pacific Coast Highway along the coast from Los Angeles to Portland.

The alternative route through the deserts of California and Nevada, 1150 miles away, takes about 19 hours and offers a variety of landscapes, views and times.

Best route from Los Angeles to Portland

Finally, to drive from Los Angeles to Portland, the choice of 3 routes is reduced to personal preferences. You can travel in a few days or enjoy a unique holiday to explore some really great sites.

To make the most of your trip, take one of the scenic routes on the way to Portland and the other on the way back. It can be a considerable investment of time and money, but you can explore the most beautiful coasts, parks and forests on the west coast in just a few weeks travel.

Route Distance Driving time
Fastest route
(via I-5)
960 miles 3:00 p.m.
Pacific Coast Highway 1,260 miles 28 hours
Desert Road
(through Death Valley and Nevada)
1,150 miles 7 p.m.

If you just don’t have time for all these adventures, don’t worry about taking the I-5, because the Sacramento Portland section of this road is beautiful in itself, and there are still some incredible places to stay.

Fastest route (via I-5)

Take the I-5 north of Los Angeles and go through Santa Clarita. Continue on the I-5 past Bakersfield and follow the highway to Sacramento – there’s plenty to do in this posh town to make up for the somewhat boring ride here.

If you drive further north on the I-5 the route becomes more and more interesting, because from Sacramento you’ll see a long row of woods on both sides of the road. You will cross the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and pass many other national forests such as Klamath, Umpqua and Williamette.

On your site you will be accompanied by Mt. Hood National Forest and Tillamook State Forest through Eugene and Salem to Portland.

Pacific Coast Highway

Leave Los Angeles via Santa Monica and take Highways 1 and 101 via Ventura to Santa Barbara. From Santa Barbara take the short CA-154 along Lake Cocuma and continue north on Route 101 through Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo.

From there, ignore the navigation device and continue on Highway 1 in a northwesterly direction along the coast. Walk in Morro Bay and enjoy the bends of Big Sur and pass Carmel-by-the-Sea.

After passing Santa Cruz and arriving in San Francisco, the route crosses the Golden Gate Bridge and then returns to Highway 1 to pass through Point Reyes National Seashore and Tomales Bay.

After crossing the Russian river you will continue through the Salt Point National Park and the picturesque town of Mendocino. Drive just off the coast past Humboldt Redwoods State Park and turn north on Route 101.

Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park lighthouse in the district of Mendocino, California.
The Point Cabrillo Lighthouse in Mendocino County is one of the many tourist attractions along the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to Portland.

yhelfman/Shutterstock.com

On the rest of the route you will find a rugged Pacific coast on the left and breathtaking forests on the right. You will pass through the national forests of Rogue River Siskew and Siuslav and be careful not to follow the signs to Portland until you reach the famous Cannon Beach. From there turn right to Hwy 26 and drive to Portland.

Desert Road (via Death Valley and Nevada)

Leave Los Angeles and head north on Highway 14 east of Santa Clarita. Follow the highway north through Lancaster and Red Rock Canyon State Park to USA-395.

Follow this breathtaking road along the Death Valley on your right and the Sierra Nevada Mountains on your left with some of the best national parks in the country. Depending on the time of day, you should definitely visit Death Valley and the Royal Canyon or Sequoia National Parks.

Follow the US-6 from Bishop and continue north on Nevada Highway 376, which turns into Highway 305 past Austin. The I-80 highway takes you to the US-95, from where you can reach Oregon.

Oregon 78 and US-20 will take you to Bend, Oregon. Take the George Millikan Northbound Road to Princeville, 25 miles before Bend, and from there the US-26 will take you to Portland.

Best stopover between Los Angeles and Portland

No matter which route you choose, there are plenty of places to stay if you travel from Los Angeles to Portland. The best way to end a day of epic adventure is in a luxury resort, and it’s one of the best on the road:

Feel the beauty of Lake Tahoe

It’s a real achievement to stand out among the many amazing places, but Lake Tahoe is truly one of the best holiday destinations in all of West America and beyond.

The best place for a stopover in Lake South Tahoe is the Black Bear Lodge. The rooms combine light charm, comfortable natural wood and a relaxed alpine atmosphere.

You can stay in one of the luxurious rooms in the main building or in one of the cabins, which also have their own kitchenette with coffee maker, for which you will be grateful in the morning.

Situated between the Tahoe and Heavenly skiing area, you are in the middle of it and can walk to some great restaurants.

Raise your legs after a day of water sports or exploring the mountains and enjoy the cod fire built into every room.

The shore of Lake Tahoe with its rocks and pine trees in California.
Lake Tahoe is a great place to stop whether you’re driving in summer or winter.

Chris LaBasco/Shutterstock.com

Watch the view in Big Sur

The incomparable landscape of Big Sur makes it one of the jewels of Pacific Coastal Drive, and that says a lot. Whether you sleep in a small bungalow or in a luxury suite, exploring the surroundings will be an unforgettable experience for the rest of your life.

However, each resort has its own specific accommodation requirements, and the champion of Big Sur should be the Ventana Inn and Spa.

If you thought it would be a pleasure to go to Big Sur, wait until you see the ocean from the balconies of the Ventana Inn Hotel and Spa. What a short time you won’t spend outdoors, relaxing by the outdoor pool (and yes, the pool overlooks the ocean too!), the beautiful Sur House bar, the spa or your first class room, equipped with everything you need and much more.

Breathtaking sea views from the Ventana Big Sur pool.
The views of the ocean and the surrounding wooded hills make Big Sur the perfect place to relax.

Ventana Big Sur

It’s a pleasure to explore only the resort’s facilities – with 160 acres of land to explore, you won’t miss beautiful places just minutes from your room. Andrew Molera Park and Pfeiffer Beach are also within easy reach.

What to see on a trip from Los Angeles to Portland

The three routes mentioned here total over 3000 miles, so it’s impossible to list all the beautiful places along the way – it’s this type of route that keeps coming back year after year. Here are some essential tips to get you started:

  1. Malibu Forestry size: Perfect forest strips and sandy beaches near Los Angeles
  2. : the national forest of Los Padres: a vast mountain forest with Lake Kachuma.
  3. Big Sur: a unique object with rocks, mountains, forests, beaches and ideal roads.
  4. Monterey and Carmel by the sea: two charming coastal towns representing California
  5. Pinnacles National Park: This park owes its name to the massive rock formations created by the ancient volcanic eruptions.
  6. Large state park in the Red Forest Basin: California’s oldest park is home to redwoods and many unique birds.
  7. San Francisco: The unique architecture, the pleasant temperatures and the many places of interest are only a small part of what makes this city a metropolis.
  8. Wine growing regions of California: Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, the Russian River and others are located in Northern California.
  9. Redwoods Humboldt State Park: This beautiful park includes the Rockefeller Forest, the largest of the so-called pristine forests in the world.
  10. Mahogany National and State Parks: Amazing mahogany forests with the tallest trees on the planet.
  11. Death Valley National Park: Known as one of the hottest places on earth, these desert mountains and salt plains need no introduction.
  12. Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks: Both parks are home to epic mountains and the tallest trees in the world.
  13. Yosemite National Park: Between the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, the sequoias and the beautiful views of the tunnel, this place guarantees only days or even weeks of exploration.
  14. Tofu Lake: Unbelievable, both in winter and summer it is one of the biggest attractions in California and Nevada, and for good reason.
  15. Crater Lake National Park: Oregon’s only national park has a crystal clear crater lake, beautiful forests and mountainous terrain.
  16. Hay Rock at Cannon Beach: A unique rock emerging from the sea just off the coast, with tidal pools full of animals.

Wizard Island in Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, USA.
Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is a great place to stop and stretch your legs on your way to Portland.

Bill45/Shutterstock.com

Best time to travel from Los Angeles to Portland

With great weather in California and Oregon and countless routes and places to choose from, there’s hardly a bad time of year to take a trip on the road from Los Angeles to Portland.

Views are an important part of long car journeys, so remember that the Pacific coast is often covered in thick fog from the beginning to the middle of summer. Although this is usually a morning phenomenon, it can be completely avoided if you travel in late summer or early autumn, ideally in September.

If you drive Route 395, many parks and forests will be at their best between spring and early autumn. On the other hand, access to some roads and areas can be limited in winter and many passes in the Sierra Nevada are closed throughout the winter season.

Summer is the best time to discover Portland, thanks to the wide range of entertainment on offer and the pleasant summer temperatures, which peak in August at an average of around 81 degrees.

It is not for nothing that Portland is called the City of Roses – the International Rose Test Garden blossoms in summer and is one of the city’s main tourist attractions.

If you are planning a cheaper trip, September is ideal for an off-season visit as you can take advantage of the temperatures around the summer season for a small part of the price.

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