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Trip Help: WA, OR, CA, AZ, UT in winter
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Miles Barger
(milesbarger) - F - M

Locale: West Virginia
Trip Help: WA, OR, CA, AZ, UT in winter on 10/30/2008 22:26:32 MDT Print View

Hi all,
I'm going to be going on a long road-trip. Here's the tentative itinerary.

As you can see, there's a mix of visiting friends, couchsurfing, hiking, and backpacking. Suggestions for good winter dayhikes and trips in these areas, places I should go instead, etc. are all welcome.

Thanks in advance.

Craig Burton

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: Trip Help: WA, OR, CA, AZ, UT in winter on 11/01/2008 06:39:58 MDT Print View

Looks like a fantastic trip. Are you going alone or with others? I finished a long road trip with a good friend back in September. Most of our nights were in campgrounds, and despite the time spent hiking, traveling, etc. the times we spent in campgrounds were some of the most memorable; so if you are going with others I would consider more camping! However, one thing to keep in mind, is that almost all campgrounds are shut down in the winter -- as in, gates are locked and access is absolutely forbidden. When I previously did weekend road trips to campgrounds in the winter, I purposely drove through plenty of public land to make sure I could find a campground with an unlocked gate, or, as a last resort, park the car at a turnout somewhere and pack in my camping gear, hike out 100+ yards from the road, and legally camp.

I will recommend one leg of your trip that I am very familiar with -- SLC to Jackson. Instead of your Google route, take I-15 up to Brigham City and take US-89 all the way up to Jackson. You will go through Logan Canyon, past Bear Lake, go through some very nice mountain valleys in Wyoming, and take a nice ride along the Snake River. The ride is much more scenic than the Evanston-Kemmerer route, and it takes just about the same amount of time too -- not to mention that wind-blown snow is also known to shut down some major roads along your planned route.

Finally, when driving from Jackson to Kentucky, it is worth your while to make your way through the Rapid City area to head towards Mt. Rushmore, the Black Hills, and the Badlands. The roads SHOULD be open and you can enjoy this area in less than a day while making a direct route through. I made a similar route when moving from SLC to NC last November, and I really wish I had more time to spend there in South Dakota.

Enjoy, and drive safely.

Edited by MissingUtah on 11/01/2008 06:43:52 MDT.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Trip Help: WA, OR, CA, AZ, UT in winter on 11/01/2008 07:28:48 MDT Print View

Great roadtrip! You'll love your WA leg- beautiful drive out there. And the Hoh is a classic- you won't be disappointed.

Sounds like you'll be moving but consider stopping at a couple of the beaches along the way near Forks and the Hoh. These are some of the most wild beaches in the continental US.

Have a great trip!


Miles Barger
(milesbarger) - F - M

Locale: West Virginia
Thanks on 11/02/2008 23:12:08 MST Print View

I'm going it alone. Wish I had a trip buddy, but, alas, no one else in my life is as big of a bum as me right now. Some of my favorite moments have been out camping with friends (definitely the case for a recent trip to Deadhorse, AK via the Dalton Highway), and if others were coming along, much more camping would be involved.

I've checked out all these campsites and campgrounds pretty carefully to make sure they'll be open, and I think I'm good. I might have missed something; I try to trust that something will work out at the time if that's the case!

Thanks for the route info through Idaho/Wyoming! I'm now planning to take that route.

As for SD... I've crossed the north-central part of the country about all the ways you can and definitely prefer the route you recommend. I have friends in Douglas, WY, however, so will probably be swinging down the southern route.

Doug: I hope I have time to stop in at some beaches on the peninsula. I tried to give myself time that day and plan to be up every day as soon as there's a hint of twilight in the sky.

Thanks for all the well wishes. I know that this whole trip is just going to make me want to come back to every place and spend much longer there.