A group of friends and I are planning a road trip in mid December from Sacramento to Seattle. This is the rough itinerary:
Day 1: Crater Lake National Park, OR
Day 2: Portland, OR
Day 3: Seattle, WA
Day 4: One of the National parks near seattle (Olympic/Mt. Raineir/North Cascades)
Day 5: More Seattle or a National Park
Day 6/7: Making our way back home with short stops in between
My main concern has to do with the weather conditions on the road. Given that most of us are from either Southern California or the Bay Area, none of us really know to expect when it comes to the winter weather of the American North West (sleet, hail, and snow). Are roads prone to closing this time and would we need snow chains for our tires? We would mostly be sticking with the I-5 for the trip.
As for Crater Lake, I did some research and found out that many of the entrances and trails are closed during the season due to excessive snow. Is it worth it for us to go to the park during this time? We intended on a short day hike and have no problem walking through snow as long as there is a safe trail that allows us to see the lake. All we really want is a good view of the lake; we would be happy with that!
My last worry has to do with El Nino. I know that this year it is expected to be more intense than usual and wanted to know how that would affect the usual weather patterns of the North West.
This post ended up longer than I intended so thanks a bunch for any advice!