gocamp road trip + oregon
From the time I was little and running around outside for hours on end, my mom nicknamed me "her free spirit". She always said I was one to never stay in the same place for too long. So it's no surprise that traveling and road trips have become a large part of who I am today. The itch to rent a camper van and explore beautiful Oregon has been something I've wanted to do for awhile now so I was beyond stoked when I stumbled upon GoCamp while I was scrolling away on Instagram. Their insta is filled with real life GoCamp adventurers that rented one of their vans, hit the road and evoked that familiar feeling of tucking yourself away in Mother Nature. I reached out to them and well, had one amazing road trip with "Vanna", the Nissan Conversion Van with the perfect "Vanna White" pop top. Hope you enjoy a look into our road trip!
Day One: Portland, Gales Creek, Cannon Beach, Pelican Brewing
We hopped on a late night flight from Denver the day before and crashed at a nearby no frills hotel in Portland. After getting some much needed shut-eye, we woke up to a text from Vanna's owner, Tracy, saying to head on over whenever to pick-up our camper van. To say it simply, we were absolutely stoked. We hopped in a Lyft and took the short trip over to meet Tracy and our new road trip sidekick, Vanna. After grabbing the keys and taking a tour of Vanna (she was a beaut and everything we could ask for), we dropped by Trader Joe's for our food + drink needs before hitting the road to stop by where we would post up for the night. The HipCamp site we'd crash at that evening overlooked rolling green mountains and had a beautiful yurt on the property.
After stopping off there for just a bit, we hopped in Vanna to make the short trip to Cannon Beach. There were so many options on what to explore on the Oregon coast but Haystack Rock was at the top of the list. The drive to the coast was incredible. The lush trees and winding roads with Tom Petty on the radio gave me some serious adventure feels. Arriving at Cannon Beach, we walked the small town along the coast, grabbed some beers at Pelican Brewing and stopped by the van to make a dinner to take down to the beach and catch the sunset. I don't think anything prepares you for how insane the sunset is at Cannon, or how incredible those rocks are. It's in these moments when Mother Nature can make you feel so small and yet so significant to be able to witness something as amazing as what's in front of you. The wind, the golden light, the massive rock formation with the waves crashing against it... it's something forever imprinted in my memory.
Day Two: Lost Creek Campground in Mt. Hood, Burnt Lake Trail
After crashing at Gale's Creek, we hit the road early in the morning headed east towards Mt. Hood National Forest to grab a spot at Lost Creek Campground. Our campsite was perfectly tucked away in the towering trees with other campers scattered far enough away that you felt like no one else was around. We popped the top on Vanna and made some lunch before heading to Burnt Lake Trail for some hiking. Vanna really has all the things you could need in a camper van. The stove + sink combo pulls out of the van so you can have more room to cook or wash dishes. Attached to that is a table that pops up if you need more cooking space. Inside is a convertible couch + bed so it's perfect for an easy sitting or sleeping option. Not to mention, Vanna is stocked with any cooking and camping needs.
Hiking into Burnt Lake Trail makes you feel like you have walked into a different time and place completely with the huge trees and the peaceful forest. A storm lingered overhead with thunder booming through the mountains as we trekked through our hike. It was a total surreal adventure. With tired legs and the sun creeping down the sky to set, we headed back to Vanna to make dinner and relax around the campfire. Lost Creek was honestly one of my favorite campgrounds. It was tucked away right by the creek and you could hear the rushing water right outside the camper van. Best nights sleep a girl could ask for.
Day Three: Mt. Hood Roasters, Trillium Lake, Salmon River Trail
We woke up early to head to Trillium Lake to get our kayak rentals for the morning. With not a ton of time to make coffee (like I said, it was a solid night's sleep) we stopped off at Mt. Hood Roasters to try out the local coffee spot. We were greeted by Emily, a local to Rhododendron, and we chatted all things Mt. Hood, the Rockies and told her if she was ever in Colorado, to hit us up. We rolled up to Trillium Lake just in time to catch Mt. Hood in all her bluebird glory and her beautiful reflection on the lake. The camera didn't make it onto the lake (for obvious reasons) but I will say if you have a chance to hit the lake, DO IT. Our local guide, Sarah, from Government Camp was the real gem of this whole trip. She had lived everywhere around the world and settled in Government Camp as a guide and also the caretaker for the museum. She gave us the best suggestions on hikes, places to explore and scribbled it all on a map for us.
After some kayaking, we took Vanna down a windy road to Salmon River Trail. I thought the trees at Lost Creek were massive, but these by far were the biggest I'd seen. As the wind blew through the forest you could hear the creak of the trees swaying and the moss fluttering off them. Of any trail, this one stole my heart.
It was our last night with Vanna staying at Trillium Lake Campground. We made a feast of a dinner and then made our way down to the amphitheater to check it out. Making sure we wanted to do it up right, we took Vanna down and around the lake to watch the sunset on Mt. Hood. The chilly temps set in and the clouds rolled in and out through the mountains. We could catch snippets of Mt. Hood, showing off all her beauty only to have the clouds play coy and cover her right back up again. It was an evening for the books and an epic way to end our road trip.
Day Four: Portland
Our time with Vanna was coming to a close so we made some coffee and hit the road back to Portland to return Vanna. Oregon really is one incredible place. With lush forests, peaceful hikes, beautiful mountains and the most friendly, chill locals... it was more than I expected in every way. I have a feeling that Oregon will be a place I'll be visiting again soon and definitely taking Vanna for another spin.
*Below is a map that shows the route we took on our trip. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions on our trip or if you'd like to collaborate + adventure!