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  1. Default Best route from NM to OR this winter

    Iím driving from northern New Mexico to southern Oregon in February. I have an AWD Subaru. Iíve never made this trip before. Iím not sure which route will be best with winter weather, and this is a La NiŮa year. Has anyone made this trip or a similar trip before? Can anyone recommend which route would be safest for winter driving? I know I could go straight west through Arizona and up I-5 through California, which is probably least likely to have snow, but very boring. And I-5 can be stressful to drive. Thereís a way through Utah & Nevada thatís probably prettier but may have more storms. Iíll have to check the weather the week I leave and see how itís looking. But if anyone knows these roads and has advice to share Iíd really appreciate it. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Any more info ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    As you have already pointed out, it's impossible to know what the weather will be doing until a few days before you head out. You don't say your exact start and finish points or how much time you plan to take getting there, but all main routes are safe it's a case of allowing enough time and not taking unneccessary risks should the weather deteriorate to a point that is dangerous. If you have some flexibility then check the weather for a window of opportunity and leave accordingly and although this trip could possibly be done in 2 days in summer (again depending on actual start and finish points) it would be better to allow for 2 overnight stops and some part of a day 3 to give 'wiggle room' for some delays. Its worth remembering that everywhere is someone's home and people need to get to work, school, go shopping etc so it's a priority to keep the roads clear and traffic moving, just be cautious.

    If you want to share more info as to locations, how much time you have and whether or not you want to sight see or get there as quickly and safely as possible, let us know.

  3. Default

    Hi! Thanks for responding. I'm going from Santa Fe, NM to Medford, OR. Google maps gives me a few options- One is to go west through AZ, up to Las Vegas, then Hwy 95 to Reno, and then up the eastern Sierras up 395, which could be very snowy. Another option is a more northern route- through Utah, through Moab, Provo, & Salt Lake City, then west through NV on I-80, linking up with Hwy 140 through Klamath Falls and over to Medford. Another option that I was wondering about is going just past Moab, then heading west from there, to Great Basin National Park, and east through NV on Hwy 50. I'd still have to take 395 up the CA Sierras with that route. I have no idea what these roads are like, which is why I reached out to this forum. Was wondering if others have driven any of these routes and what's better. And I can always go with straight west through AZ from NM, then up I-5. That one's least likely to have snow, it just won't be as nice of a drive. But obviously staying safe is the main thing. And that depends on many factors... like is it safer to risk ice & snow further north with less traffic, or would I-5 even with the traffic still be the best bet? So many things to consider! Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    I have driven most of those roads, mainly in a 30ft RV so none of the roads will cause you any concern, the weather on the other hand, could? As has been said, the weather will remain a mystery right up until you are close to departing. All things being equal I would probably opt to head to Moab and US50 across the Great basin. (I-80 being an alternative with more lodging options) This would be at least 2 overnight stops but take a close look at road and weather conditions before setting out. You should get a pretty good picture of what may happen with conditions while travelling, then weigh up the risk, if any.

  5. Default

    Hi Dave! Thanks so much for responding. That's funny you mention the middle route, through Moab and across US 50. That was the one I initially chose. For some reason it seems like it might be the best route to go. I've heard Hwy 50 called the loneliest highway, but I bet it's beautiful. Have you ever done 395 in the Sierras in the winter? That could be tricky. But I guess since this pops out at Reno I can just head down to I-5 from there if the Sierras are too snowy that week. I was looking forward to going through Moab and the Great Basin area if the weather's alright since I've never been there. I know the parks will probably be closed, but the scenery will still be there. I'm planning on breaking up the trip into as many days as I need to. I'm moving across country so I can take my time (I'm not towing anything- I'm shipping my things to make the drive easier). I really appreciate your help helping me navigate all this! What a helpful forum!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default The Oregon Outback could be on your way

    US 395 is gorgeous anytime of the year, but Nevada is a Basin and Range state and I would recommend US-95 all the way to the Oregon Outback before heading SW to Medford. Less travelers, but still gorgeous country and you could always head west on US-50 if the weather looks rough.

    Lots of nice hot springs in the Oregon Outback.


  7. Default

    Hi Mark! Thanks for your response. I have a couple questions- can you clarify what you mean by Nevada is a Basin & Range state as it pertains to my question? I'm not sure if you're talking about winter weather or scenery? And what do you mean by the Oregon Outback? I think you're talking about the high desert in eastern Oregon... Anywhere specific? Were you suggesting I take US-95 from Las Vegas up the western side of NV and then up into SE Oregon, near the Steens mountains? Like up to Burns and then back down to Klamath Lakes? I'm hoping to make this somewhat of a scenic drive if I can, as long as it doesn't take me too far off course or into bad weather, but I can adjust as needed on the drive. I did see there are some wildlife refuges around that area that looked interesting. And I know there are a lot of migratory birds at Klamath Lakes in the winter, which I'd love to see. I've never driven through Utah or Nevada, and never been to eastern Oregon, so I'm curious about all these places. I figured I'd try to hit some pretty spots along the way if I can, weather permitting. Making a road trip in February through the Rockies in a La Nina year might not be feasible. We'll see. I have never driven across country so I'm unfamiliar with any of these routes except I-5. So I appreciate all the info! Thank you.

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