Imagine your winter road trip as you cruise along a stretch of highway feeling like you’re driving through a black and white photo. The peaceful silence of snow covered surroundings engulfs you like a warm blanket. This is the type of experience you can have while on a winter road trip through the Interior Cascades. Some of the most beautiful winter scenery can be found on and around Route 97 between British Columbia and North Central Washington. Through canyons and mountain passes, your journey will lead you on an adventure.
Mountains and high elevations are tricky in the winter. Changes in elevation can cause highway conditions to become unpredictable, beginning as early as October. You could start your adventure surrounded by beautiful sunshine, then suddenly face stretches of snowfall and ice throughout the drive.
Winter Tires are the Law
Make sure your winter road trips are remembered for fun times and scenery by ensuring you are ready for winter road conditions. Be aware that the law requires anyone travelling on mountain passes in British Columbia to have winter tires from October 1 to March 31. Each set of tires must have at least 3.5 mm of tread depth and have either a “M + S” symbol or a three-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol.
Keep your vehicle well maintained, including proper winter tires and windshield wipers in good condition. Keep a snow brush in your vehicle, as well as emergency items such as a shovel, jumper cables, a flashlight/new batteries, water and/or radiator fluid, and a couple warm blankets. And don’t forget to top up the wiper fluid with winter rated windshield wiper fluid. Bring extra, just in case you end up in slushy conditions.
First Aid and Emergency Kits
Pack two kits for your trip. One for first aid, and one for emergencies. Your first aid kit should include such things as sterile gauze pads, adhesive tape, various sizes of bandages, scissors, instant ice packs, and antiseptic wipes. A complete list can be found at the Red Cross website.
Pack a couple of hot hand glove warmers, extra socks, hats, some candles, paper, and a lighter and matches. Also grab a few of your favourite granola or protein bars and at least one bottle of water for each traveller.
While cruising the winter highways, watch for posted signage. To help ensure you don’t encounter any unexpected surprises while travelling, check local road and weather reports before heading out.
Check out the Web Cams
When you stop for a meal or a break, check out the webcams to see how road conditions are ahead. There are webcams for the Southern Interior Region of BC, and the Northern Interior. You won’t be able to take WA State Route 20 in the winter. It’s closed from early November until the snow melts. You can check out their webcams and information here.
We want you to have the best experience ever as you explore on and around Route 97 in the winter. Hit the slopes, trek the backcountry, snowmobile up a mountain or take in a winter carnival. It’s all here for you to enjoy. Stay warm. Stay safe.