Winter is officially here! For many off-roaders, winter’s a time to store their rig in the garage for the season and begin projects to get ready for summer wheeling. But for others, winter is primetime. It’s the holiday season, the kids are out of school, and many trails are loaded with the white fluff that we call snow.
Determining which snow trail to take can be tricky. Aside from snow level and distance, understand the terrain that is under the snow. If you’re headed to moderate to extreme trails, remember the rocks, boulders, and logs are still there – they’re just buried under snow. If you’re unsure, it may be best to stick to forest service roads; they’re just as fun!
Before heading out – understand the risks and do your research. Check for trail and road closures due to weather conditions, avalanches, or even snowmobile sections and determine if chains are required by law to get to the location.
TIP – Snow is unlike any other terrain. If you’re unfamiliar with impacts that it can have on your driving and vehicle, don’t explore alone. Invite a few buddies that are more familiar to show you around. Check out our past winter blogs for additional tips.
Sitting in the San Bernardino Mountains, Big Bear Lake in Southern California is one of the prime wheeling spots on the West Coast. Roughly two hours from Los Angeles and three hours from San Diego, this year-round off-road paradise features mild to extreme rocky trails in the warmer months. But once snow begins falling in November, it quickly mutates into a winter wonderland for the next 3-4 months. Most of the trails and service roads are relatively close together. If you choose a clearly marked off-road trail over a service road, watch out boulders buried under the snow.
Often referred to as the sister range of the Rocky Mountains, the Big Horns are a sight to see for any adventurer. The snow capped mountains, glacially carved valleys, profuse alpine meadows, and crystal lakes make it one of the most diverse landscapes in Wyoming. And in the winter is no exception. The Big Horns lead through northern Wyoming and southern Montana. The 189,000 acres of wilderness encompasses 30 campgrounds and 1,200 miles of trails.
Feeding right through our stomping grounds of western Washington, the Cascades extend north from Northern California, through Oregon and Washington, and eventually end in southern British Columbia. As soon as snow begins falling, the Cascades quickly turn into a scene out of your favorite holiday film. The fir trees covered in snow and icicles become a postcard worthy holiday photo. If you’re a Pacific Northwest native with a four-wheeler, you live for winter wheeling in the Cascades.
The White Mountains lie within the Appalachian Mountains which is known to be the burden of some of the harshest winter storms. Their winters consist of below freezing temperatures, heavy snow, dense fog, and strong winds. The White Mountains are bound to challenge any off-roader, regardless of how well equipped their rig is. If you dare, add the White Mountains to your calendar this winter.
There is no place like Alaska, it is truly any adventurer’s paradise. If you’re one of the lucky few that can turn the dream of off-roading in Alaska into a reality, Wasilla, AK is a must stop. Most of Alaska feels remote compared to many parts of the US and this feeling only adds to the experience. Although it’s only less than an hour from Anchorage, Wasilla is no exception to this feeling. Keep an eye out of dogs pulling sleds, this is one of the many appealing parts of Wasilla in the winter.
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