Most of us would rather not spend the night in a highway rest area–particularly along an interstate highway. The noise, lack of privacy, frequent dirtiness, and all the rest, make rest areas less than desirable overnight spots. But for some reason, “the first and the last” along California’s Interstate 5 seems to break the mold on that thinking.
Traveling northward, the “last” rest area (or going south, the first) along I-5 is just south of Hornbrook. Officially called the Collier Rest Area, this stop is sandwiched between the interstate and the beautiful Klamath River. But what really sets this rest area apart from your typical, “get off the highway and hit the bathroom” stop is the setting. While the average rest area sits on the same level as the interstate, the Collier Rest Area sits way below the nearby interstate. As a result, the noise level from the freeway is dramatically reduced.
Adding to quiet, the rest area is nicely landscaped, and a separate parking area for RVers is set aside from everyone else. With pull throughs dedicated to recreational vehicles, you’re set apart from noisy “reefer” units on semi-trucks, and the typical round-the-clock in-and-out noise of the passenger vehicle area. Roll in, set up your rig for the night, and you can actually get a good night’s rest. Next morning, if you have the time, take the scenic Klamath River Highway south and follow the river and its wonderful scenery.
It’s not often we really get to pass along “kudos” to state government, but this one really got it right!
I used to work between Ca & WA. I still travel to Seattle to see my daughter, this is a MUST STOP for dog owners as well. Great walk about. Also going north into OR, at the Valley of the Rogue State park is another rest area, next to the water with lots of quite space. After Central Point and before Grants Pass. It's a nice breaking distance to stay rested and your dog will love you.
The first time I stopped at this rest area it wasn’t that nice. The septic was plugged or the water wasn’t working and the people just kept using the toilets it was awful. The other times this rest area was just great. The place is really pretty.
Just used this Rest Stop on our way home from Yuma, AZ. They were working on the Rv section, but you are correct, it was the quietest Rest Stop we have encountered, nice rest rooms also.
This rest area is privately owned and leased to the state. My husband talked with the owner about 5 years ago and he had big plans for this area, none of which has come to pass. It is a beautiful rest stop and, though we haven’t been ready to stop for the night, so haven’t slept here, it’s a “restful” place to get off the highway.
Appears you use Exit 786 either north or south bound. The Rest Area lies west of I-5 next to the Klamath River.
Thanks. I’ve marked it in my GPS for my next trip thru in May.
Don’t forget that while “parking” is allowed in California rest areas, “camping” is not. Thus, your rig must look like you’re “parked,” and not look like you’ve set up camp. If you’ve deployed awnings or set anything outside your rig, a passing law officer will be far more likely to issue a ticket for camping where it’s not allowed. Extending slides may also get you a ticket for “camping.”
Remember also that the time limit for parking in California rest areas is eight hours.