5 Tips for Safe Winter Travel to Trailheads
Winter is a great time to be a hiker in Washington. With the right tools and knowledge, you can get outside year-round! We chatted with our friends, the Western Washington Honda Dealers, about how to stay safe while traveling to trailheads in winter.
Presented by your Western Washington Honda Dealers.
We’re going to let you in on a secret: Winter is a wonderful time to be a hiker in Washington. There are lowland trails to be explored and snowshoe adventures to be had. With the right knowledge and tools, you can get outside year-round. We chatted with our friends, the Western Washington Honda Dealers, about how to stay safe while traveling to trailheads in winter.
1. Check conditions before you go
There’s no shortage of good online resources for road conditions and mountain weather. For road conditions, WSDOT has up-to-date mountain pass conditions, including cameras on five well-traveled routes. Check recent trip reports on wta.org for conditions. It is wise to call to the local ranger station for information, including if storms or fallen trees have shut off any routes.
2. Think ahead, pack chains
Getting to trailheads in winter is easier in high clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles, like a Honda AWD Pilot or Passport, but you can also get there in sedans with the right tires and some research. For any vehicle, it is essential that you carry chains or have snow tires. Most mountain passes require that chains be carried in the winter. Be sure you know how to put them on.
3. Keep extra supplies in your vehicle
Always bring the 10 essentials on your winter hikes. You should also store blankets, food and water in your car. Pack a portable shovel, which will be handy if the weather changes while you’re hiking and you need to shovel a path out of the trailhead parking lot.
4. Be ready to drive in snow or ice
In wintry conditions, leave a good amount of space between your vehicle and the car in front of you, since it takes longer to stop on slick roads. For the same reason, brake early and gently to help avoid spinning out. And if you start sliding on ice, take your foot off the accelerator and guide yourself away from the icy area by steering.
5. Have a backup plan
Sometimes, you’re excited to go on a hike, but along the way, you realize conditions aren’t safe. Have a backup plan for a snow-free trail in case your ideal hike doesn’t work out. Lowland, urban and coastal trails are often safe bets. And remember, it’s always okay to turn back. You can return on a different day. Your safety always comes first.
Thank you to the Western Washington Honda Dealers for supporting WTA and safe winter travel to trailheads.