Winter Road Trip Tips

We take a lot of road trips, and travel doesn’t slow down during the winter months. This weekend we’re off to Telluride Fire Festival, and two weeks after that we’ll be headed to the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge.

Colorado winter driving can be challenging, but when you're prepared it's a breeze.
Colorado winter driving can be challenging, but when you’re prepared it’s a breeze.

In Colorado, winter road trips into the mountains can be a bit of a challenge, but they are well worth it. With winter festivals happening somewhere in the Colorado Rockies just about every weekend, there are lots of reasons to drive. Here are some simple tips that will make your next winter road trip a breeze.

1. Travel during off times. This is where we self-employed folks have it good. If you can, travel on a Saturday morning and head back on a Monday. This will save you the headache of dealing with ski traffic on I70. Another good tip for Colorado Front Range dwellers is to take Hwy 285 as an alternate route to places like Breckenridge or southwest Colorado. Hwy 285 isn’t without its own issues, however. The highway often closes between Kenosha Pass and Fairplay due to blowing snow, so check with CDOT before you go that way.

2 girls and a shovel

2. Pack a roadside emergency kit. I traveled without an emergency kit for years until my mom got us one for Christmas a few years back. Thankfully we haven’t had to use it, but it’s comforting to know that it’s there. UPDATE 2019: With the sudden influx in avalanches along I70 this March, we should put this emergency kit in our car. If you got caught inside your car during an avalanche you aren’t suppose to get out.

Road kits include things such as first aid supplies, flashlights, ponchos, utility knives, bungee cords and other items that will help if you get into a bind. It’s not a bad idea to have a small shovel in your car during the winter months as well. No one wants to have to dig themselves out of a snowbank, but should the need arise a shovel works much better than your hands.

Having blankets in your car is a good idea as well, although now that I think of it, the only additional blanket in our car right now belongs to the dog. I’ll have to pack a few more for our weekend getaway.


3. Water & snacks. I bring water and snacks on every road trip. It’s vital to stay hydrated and to keep your blood sugar level when driving. My husband and I are all too aware that low blood sugar leads to bad moods. Whenever we start to argue on a road trip, 99 percent of the time it’s because we need to eat something.

Water is imperative, especially during the winter. Should you find yourself in that snowbank and have to wait for rescue, you’ll want to have some H20 on hand. While scientist says that a human can survive up to 3 weeks without food, says the human body can’t go much longer than 3 days without water.

Lastly, I just want to remind you to make sure your window washing fluid is full before you set out on a Colorado winter adventure. It’s smart to carry a gallon in your car, just in case you run out.

So there you have my top tips for winter road trip travel in Colorado. Feel free to share your tips in the comment section.


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