Road and Driving Conditions

Road conditions on Forest Service roads can change at a moment's notice.  Sudden storms can cause land slides, deep mud, erosion and flash floods. Periods of warming and cooling can increase the risk of avalanche.  Areas that were easily accessible in other seasons can become treacherous in winter. Some forest roads may be closed and gated in winter.  Call or visit your local District Office to find out the status of the area you want to visit.  Always be prepared for bad weather when driving in the mountains.  For a list of winter driving safety tips, click here. In the summer, bring extra water, especially during hot spells.  Be prepared for a possible overnight stay in your vehicle.  Even in the summer, nighttime temperatures can drop significantly (especially at the higher elevations), so bring blankets or even consider throwing a sleeping bag in your vehicle before leaving home.

Some forest roads can change from pavement to gravel to native-surfaced roads within a short distance. Consider a high-clearance vehicle when travelling within the forest.  In the spring and fall (and certainly during the winter) one can expect snow drifts possibly blocking the road, especially on the shady, north-facing aspects.  A shovel could come in very useful when stuck in a snowbank.  Chains are always a good item to have year-round when travelling on forest roads.  Also, if you do have a dead battery, jumper cables can save the day if you meet another car and ask for a "jump".  Many times the other car may not carry jumper cables and your pair may save a long walk for help.

Lastly, cell phone coverage is very spotty and should not be depended upon to request assistance. Always try first, then consider walking to a higher spot nearby to improve your chances of reception.

Always let someone know where you are planning to travel to and from, and when you are expecting to return.

Plan for a safe and comfortable trip!