A fun Interstate 5 road trip starts with knowing where you'd headed!
On this I-5 Road Map Page, you'll find links to all sorts of great Interstate 5 maps that can help you plan your I-5 road trip! Interstate 5 runs through the Pacific states from border to border---touching Canada on the north, and Mexico to the south. I-5 travels through 3 western states: Washington, Oregon and California.
Overview map of I-5: If you're unfamiliar with the area through which Interstate 5 runs, you might like to see an overview map of the entire USA Interstate Highway System. There, you can locate Interstate 5 as a red line running from Canada to Mexico through the three western states of Washington, Oregon and California...and you can view this road in relation to the rest of the US Interstate Highway System. You'll note that Interstate 5 runs through some of the largest cities in the Pacific Coast states...cities such as Seattle, Olympia and Tacoma, Washington; Portland and Salem, Oregon; Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego, California. You may use the following link to view a very good printable
US Government PDF map of the Interstate Highway System.
Note: in the picture on your left, you're viewing a photo of Washington's beautiful Mount Ranier National Park. Mount Ranier is one of Washington's foremost natural wonders (in a state FULL of natural wonders!) The park is certainly a "don't miss" Washington attraction for nature lovers...and it's only a short side-trip off of Interstate 5.
Interstate 5 Road Map Page -- Washington State Road Maps
The northern end of Interstate 5 lies at the US/Canadian border in beautiful Washington State. As you head south from the Canadian border, you'll pass through Washington's largest city, Seattle. As you keep traveling in a southbound direction, you'll also pass through Washington state's lovely capital city, Olympia.
PDF maps of Washington: Here is a detailed PDF map of Washington State; tourist information is marked on the map, as are Interstate exit numbers. If you're looking for "just the basics," here is a simple Washington PDF map which shows only the major highways...and, of course, the Interstate Freeways. And if you would like to print out a map that REALLY makes I-5 stand out for you, here's a PDF map of Washington with the state's interstate highways highlighted in bold red ink!
PDF Maps of Seattle, WA: Despite the fact that Washington is not one of the USA's most heavily populated states, you may come to a different conclusion on your I-5 road trip. Interstate 5 cuts through the heart of Washington's busiest cities---Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia. You'll certainly want to plan to pass through these areas at some time other than rush hour!
It's easy to stay on I-5 and not veer off in the wrong direction, even through these busy cities. Interstate 5 is well marked at all points. Even so, you may feel more confident driving through this region with a PDF map of the entire Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia metro area in your hands. Or, if it's just the Seattle area that has you worried, here's a PDF map of metro Seattle, showing you the 2 choices you'll have to get through the city from north to south. You may stay on I-5, or you may skirt the downtown area by taking I-405 (which later re-joins Interstate 5, as you can plainly see on this map.) Do you wish to tour around Seattle's interesting downtown area? Here's a PDF map of downtown Seattle with many of Seattle's major tourist attractions plainly marked.
I-5's National Park side-trips: Visitors who have come to the state to enjoy its many attractions and natural wonders will be glad to know that two major sight-seeing destinations are only short side trips from Interstate 5. These are Mount Ranier National Park and Mount St. Helens Volcanic National Monument. To help you plan the details of your trip, here's a link to the
Mount Ranier National Park official website.
Another interesting side trip from I-5 would be a visit to Mount St. Helens...or what's left of it, I should say! To me, it was intriguing to see half of a mountain standing in a spot where a WHOLE mountain should have been. You'll find an attractive visitor's center in which you may view interpretive exhibits and see a film about the volcanic explosion at Mount St Helens.
Many tourists visiting the area don't realize that not only the mountain itself was blown away in the violent eruption. All the trees in this area were knocked down in the explosion, as well! Hundreds of volunteers re-planted trees by hand on the barren ground after the cataclysmic event. While you're on the grounds of the Visitor's Center, you'll see a tribute to these hard-working volunteers who are responsible for the new greenery that you can now see all around you!
Mount St Helens contact information: For further visitor information about Mount Saint Helens, you may view the Mount St Helens website. It will fill you in on all the details you need for planning your trip...including any attractions or roads which may be closed due to continued volcanic activity!
Interstate 5 Road Maps -- Oregon Road Maps
As you drive along I-5 through Oregon, you may expect to encounter a fair amount of traffic as you pass through the state's major cities of Salem and Portland. Outside of these major cities, you'll find traffic to be generally light.
Online maps of Oregon: Here is a collection of Oregon maps, including road maps, which you may find helpful in getting acquainted with the state's terrain.
PDF maps of Oregon: If you're simply looking for a guide to drive through the state, here's a simple PDF map of Oregon which you may print out & take along in the car with you. All of the state's major roads...including Interstate 5...are marked on this map. If you'd rather, here's a different, more colorful, PDF Oregon map. However, if you're looking for tourist attractions, exit numbers, and other more complex information, you may prefer the following detailed PDF map of Oregon, instead. If you have difficulty reading the small print, this map is easily enlargeable.
Crater Lake National Park: One of Oregon's major tourist attractions, Crater Lake NP, may be reached by taking a side-trip from I-5. This beautiful lake boasts deep azure waters...and a volcanic cinder cone rising from the lake's center! Several interpretive centers explain the lake's natural history, wildlife and other interesting topics to guests. If you're thinking about adding Crater Lake to your road trip's itinerary, here's a link to the Crater Lake NP website, which will fill you in on all the details you need to plan your excursion.
There's another interesting website about Oregon you might like, called "Romantic Oregon Coast Vacations. At this enchanting website you can see photos and make plans for a vacation along Oregon's Pacific Coast...including "things to do," best beaches, places to stay...and see detailed maps of the Oregon Coast, as well. (To your upper left, you can see a photo of the beautiful Oregon Coast. Tony...from Romantic Oregon Coast Vacations actually LIVES in Oregon & sent me this photo. He wants you to see how beautiful the coastline is there!) Use the following link to visit
Interstate 5 Road Map Page -- California Road Maps
Heading southwards from Oregon along Interstate 5, you'll enter the state of California in a mountainous, thickly-forested region of the state. You may be puzzled if this is your first trip to California. Where are all the buildings, the movie stars...and the people? Despite the image everyone has of California's huge cities, MOST of the state is lightly populated. So, don't expect to be in heavy traffic for most of your I-5 trip southwards through California, because it "just isn't so."
Online California maps: You may wish to view a selection of California maps, including highway maps, online. Here's a good site which features a
selection of California maps
which may interest you.
California tourism website: California's official tourist website is stuffed full with information about every corner of the Golden State. You may even order a free, large-sized folding map of the state of California and/or the official California State tourist guide. The www.VisitCalifornia.com website also offers you a large selection of print-at-home discount coupons to some of the state's major tourist attractions, as well! For your convenience, you may use the following link to
visit the State of California official visitor's website.
PDF maps of California: You may wish to run off a free PDF map of California on your own home printer. This is a simple map which shows the state's major highways and interstate freeways. If you would like a more detailed map, you'll have to print up two of them. Because of California's shape, it's difficult to get a detailed map all onto one page! First, here's a PDF map of Northern California, with major cities well-marked. It also will show you the locations of National Parks and forests. Secondly, here's a detailed PDF map of Central & Southern California for you to print at home. It shows the entire region south of the San Francisco Bay area and north of the Mexican border.