If you have the time and energy to travel around the country, a trip from Los Angeles to Seattle might be for you. The route, which stretches over thousands of kilometres on various roads, offers countless beautiful places to admire on the way to the Emerald City.
A drive from Los Angeles to Seattle can take about 17 hours. If you have a few weeks off, enjoy your trip along the Pacific Coastline Highway, which runs through California and Oregon, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
Read below for help in planning this incredible journey – you’re sure to need it!
What is the distance between Seattle and Los Angeles and how long does it take to get there?
A drive from Los Angeles to Seattle takes between 1130 and 1400 miles, depending on the route. If you want to get there quickly, you can divide the trip into several days and drive a total of 17 hours, while the most scenic route can take up to 30 hours.
|1,135 miles||6:00 p.m.|
(via motorway 1)
|1,404 miles||28 hours|
|1,172 miles||7 p.m.|
The easiest way to get from Los Angeles to Seattle is to take the I-5. You’ll pass through major cities like Sacramento and Portland, and the last two-thirds of the journey has something to offer on your way to the major tourist attractions.
If you want to make the Californian part of the route more scenic while keeping it as short as possible, consider taking Route 395 from Los Angeles along a long line of forests and national parks. It only takes a few hours longer than the I-5, but the downside is that you can’t get through Sacramento.
The legendary Highway 395 in the Owens Valley offers other picturesque views of California.
Autumn Sky Image/Shutterstock.com
Finally, the whole West Coast (with the exception of Alaska) is without doubt the most epic route you can take on Highways 1 and 101. If you stay on the Pacific coast, you will usually pass through a huge chain of attractions and natural wonders.
However, if you don’t have a lot of time – winding coastal roads require slow and careful driving, which means that a one-way trip can take about 30 hours, even without traffic.
Best route from Los Angeles to Seattle
In terms of vision, the route along the Pacific coast is, where possible, a clear winner. If you have a long holiday ahead of you, you can probably take this route in both directions and still have places to visit for next year’s trip.
Such an action is a big bet, but you may be tempted to go in a different direction. If you are not particularly interested in Sacramento or the detours along the coast, the 395 offers many beautiful views without having to make too many kilometers.
Take the I-5 north of Los Angeles and drive through the Santa Clarita National Forest and Los Padres. Continue north through Henry W. Coe Park and Stockton before you finally reach Sacramento. The division of the trip into 3 days is a good place to spend the night.
Go through Sacramento and you’ll find yourself between the Mendocino National Forest on the left and some forests a bit further east – you’re pretty close to the Lassen National Forest further north before crossing the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
Continue uphill through Umpqua National Forest, through Eugene and Salem and you will soon find Mt. Go through Hood National Forest before you reach Portland, another important stopover.
After crossing the Columbia River, you will pass Mount St. John’s Volcano National Monument. Helens and the Capitol State Forest to reach Olympia. Continue on the highway through Lakewood and Tacoma, it’s only a matter of time before you get to Seattle.
Coastal road (motorways 1 and 101)
Start with a high score, follow Highway 1 through Santa Monica and along the coast of Malibu through several national parks to Oxnard. From there take Route 101 East through Ventura and Santa Barbara, then Route 154 through Los Padres NF and along Lake Cachuma.
Take Highway 101 via Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo and then, as you approach the coast, take Highway 1. Follow the highway along a beautiful chain of attractions – Big Sur and the surrounding parks, then Carmel by the sea and Monterrey.
The Bixby Creek Bridge on California Highway 1 offers breathtaking views.
Cross Monterey Bay, go through Santa Cruz and cross the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Drive along Mendocino and leave the coast for a while along the King Range National Conservation Area on Highway 101.
Shortly thereafter you will return to the coastline and pass Redwood National Park and Rogue River Sisku National Forest.
Cross the Columbia River to Oregon, through the Willapa National Wildlife Area and along Willapa Bay.
Instead of returning to the coast via Highway 105, take Highway 101 – shortly after crossing the North Pole – on Highway 107 (which is separated by Highway 8) to the east by Capitol Forest to Olympia. From there, follow the I-5 to Seattle.
Forest road (motorway 395)
From Los Angeles take State Route 14 via Lancaster – continue north until you cross the 395. Once on the highway, Death Valley National Park is on your right and most parks and forests of California on your left.
Beautiful view of these colorful wildflowers in the hills of Henry W. Coe Park State
Some of the most notable places you will encounter in California are Sequoia and Iño National Forest, Yosemite National Park, Tahoe National Forest and Lake Tahoe, and Shasta Trinity National Forest.
Travel in Oregon through Fremone-Winema, Umpqua and Willamette National Forest before taking the I-5 at Eugene.
Once on the Interstate, follow the same route as the I-5 – north through Portland and Olympia before finally reaching Seattle.
Best stopover between Los Angeles and Seattle
With three huge and very different routes, there is no shortage of places to stop between Los Angeles and Seattle. You will definitely want to stop and explore as often as possible, and these are some of the best places to do so:
Admire the elegance of the Palace Hotel (San Francisco)
Enjoy a night at the breathtaking Palace Hotel after a city tour.
It’s the kind of holiday where you’re constantly on the move. So if you only have to spend a night or two in San Francisco, you can spend it in style! One of the best hotels on the whole West Coast should be San Fran’s Palace Hotel.
High ceilings and gilded walls give this beautiful hotel a castle-like atmosphere. It would be easier to list all the facilities that are not available at the Palace Hotel – you can enjoy your meal or drink here, and an incredible dining room or bar, glass dome indoor pool, spa and fitness centre and 24 hour concierge service will ensure that all your needs are met. Moreover, the rooms are very spacious and offer incredible views of San Francisco.
The only thing better than a fantastic hotel is a well located hotel, but the Palace Hotel is characterized by these two images. Located in the heart of San Francisco, you can reach all of the city’s major attractions in just a few minutes. The rooms are not cheap, but an unforgettable stay is guaranteed.
Bring the winch to Tenaya Lodge (Yosemite National Park)
Few places in California are as picturesque and iconic as Yosemite, and there are some fine hotels. It’s not easy to choose the best, but Tenaya Lodge must be a very strong opponent.
Yosemite National Park offers you a combination of elegance and tranquility.
Daniel vine photography/Shutterstock.com
Tenaya Lodge combines the elegance of the Yosemite Mountains with stylish design and first class facilities. It features a spa, a fitness centre, a fantastic on-site restaurant and incredibly stylish furnishings. If you are the cozy type, go to the beautiful communal pool and meet your colleagues.
This hotel is an ideal centre for exploring Yosemite in all seasons. The varied landscape of the region makes it an ideal place for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, climbing and almost all other outdoor activities. Did I mention the incredible scenery in Yosemite?
What to see on a trip from Los Angeles to Seattle
With a total of 50 hours of driving time between 3 routes (and maybe even more if you’re creative), there’s too much to list them all. No matter how big Seattle is, few holidays can be compared to travelling from Los Angeles.
Here are some places you should definitely check:
- San Luis Obispo – is a beautiful city with the beach of Pismo and the Montana de Oro Park.
- BridgeBig Sur/Bixby Creek – this unique scenic coastline consists of mountains and redwoods.
- Carmel by the Sea/Monterey – Two large cities on the central coast of California, there are several places where it is best to relax by the sea.
- Large Red Forest Basin National Park – mix of red forest and many other species defines this unique forest.
- Point Reyes National Seashore is a huge park reserve with one of the best views of the ocean you have ever seen.
- Humboldt Redwood State Park – beautiful red forest, the largest primeval forest in existence today.
- Klamath National Forest – A beautiful forest of almost 2 million hectares, with lakes, ponderosas and a beautiful view of the mountains.
- Rogue River-Siskiew National Forest – with incredible views of the mountains and the world’s tallest pine trees, this forest is impossible to miss.
- Olympic National Park – this beautiful area offers great beaches, forests and meadows with wild flowers.
- Death Valley National Park – one of the warmest places on earth and home to countless canyons and salt deserts, this park needs no introduction.
- Sequoia and Inyo NF – Between these two forests you can see incredibly high redwoods and a large part of the White Mountains, including Mount Whitney.
- Yosemite National Park is an ideal cross for mountains, valleys and rare formations, this geological wonder is a must.
- Lake Tahoe and National Forest – offers beautiful green spaces, beautiful lake water and stunning views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
- Williamette and Mount Hood National Forest – Two very picturesque forests along the Williamette River, the first of which is thought to contain an endangered northern spotted owl.
- Capitol State Forest – There are numerous beaver dams and unexplained Mima Hills in this forest.
- Mount Rainier National ParkMount Rainier – a breathtaking park with meadows, waterfalls and Mount Rainier stratovolcano.
- Venachi Okanogan National Forest – is one of the most spectacular mountains and beautiful valleys in America.
A walk across the steep slopes to the Point Reyes lighthouse is the perfect way to stretch your legs on the way from Los Angeles to Seattle.
Best time to travel from Los Angeles to Seattle
Some parts of the road from Los Angeles to Seattle are better at certain times of the year. For example, if you drive along the Pacific coast on a warm summer morning, you will often have to drive through thick fog, and many of the forests and parks you drive through are closed in winter.
Although each route has its advantages depending on the season, Seattle itself has a different history: an average of 18 rainy days per month during the rainy season (mid-autumn to January) and the highest temperatures at this time of year are around 50 degrees, while the lowest are around 35 degrees.
The best time to visit Seattle is between the middle of spring and early autumn. In summer the temperature reaches 73 degrees and in May it deviates from the ideal value of 65 degrees. It was at this time that most of the major events took place in the city, including the Seattle International Film Festival.
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