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Old 12-05-2021, 06:32 AM   #1
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West Winter wheelin' ideas

For many years I was locked in to a schedule where we could only take long trips in high summer when my wife (former teacher) and kids were out of school. Things have changed and I'm trying to take a trip every few months to clear my head, many times I'm solo. I'd really like to get a little more info on some good spots that are tolerable in winter by those who visit them year round, not necessarily just relying on a short term forecast.

Unfortunately, the Colorado high country I love is out in winter but what about Utah, NM, AZ, etc? Anyone care to share some tips on great places to explore or get off road, off grid, stuck, lost and otherwise content during the winter months?

PM's always welcomed for spots you don't want to share with the world but hoping for a discussion of do-ability (rig and skill level) and weather trends (wind, rain, snow) of some general areas or trails that all might benefit from.

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Old 12-05-2021, 09:31 PM   #2
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Death Valley NP in CA.
Anza Borrego SP in CA.
Big Bend NP in TX.
Kofa NWF in AZ.

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Old 12-05-2021, 09:39 PM   #3
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Oregon coast is in the 40s that time of year. Very little if any snow. The ocean is restless and impressive before a storm.
Baja if you want warm beaches.
Southern Utah and the Arizona Strip will be cool and sunny.
Camino del Diablo on the AZ border.
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:34 PM   #4
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2nd for Death Valley. We did it in February when the van was still stock beside Falken AT3W.
We did the Saline Valley Road, then went into DV from the north to Eureka Dunes, did Titus Canyon, ...

Not sure about all the weather conditions, but what about the Pony Express? The part in Utah/ Nevada could be possible?!
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Old 12-06-2021, 02:07 PM   #5
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2nd the Oregon and Washington Coast. Lots of good weather to still be had but even if the weather is bad its usually worth watching.
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Old 12-06-2021, 07:24 PM   #6
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Add another vote for death valley. Just went through there in Nov on my adv motorcycle. It's beautiful, not crowded, not super hot, but also not snowing. Titus canyon road is a really cool 4wd road that I'd say you could do with a 4x4 e-series, as long as it isn't too top-heavy.

Wildrose campground is really cool. The road up the mountain from there (Charcoal Kilns) goes up to around 8k elevation. It gets pretty loose on the way up, but again, you could do it in a 4x4. There's a really cool, tiny campground up there. Only saw one rig up there - a full-size 4x4 truck with a hard-sided camper. If they can do it, a van can do it. There's also a 14 mile (I think) roundtrip hike from that area up to telescope peak, the highest point in Death Valley. I wish I had time to do it - it would be amazing to do it at night to see the stars.

The view driving back down from the top is worth the drive up. You look out on the horizon and can see the snow-capped sierras. If you continue on from Wildrose campground on Emigrant Canyon road, it turns to mostly gravel and spits you out with an amazing view of the desert. I didn't get to the salt flats or any of the more southern area, but I'm sure it is amazing as well.
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Old 12-06-2021, 08:59 PM   #7
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The Mojave Road.
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Old 12-06-2021, 09:13 PM   #8
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Keep em coming. Great ideas so far that might benefit lots of us. As for me I can't get as far as the PNW or CA (or Baja) very often but I'm hoping to satiate my wanderlust with some 10ish day trips as far as Utah, NM, AZ in the off season soon.

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Old 12-09-2021, 10:31 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by E-350 View Post
2nd for Death Valley. We did

Not sure about all the weather conditions, but what about the Pony Express? The part in Utah/ Nevada could be possible?!
The route of the Pony Express trail through central Nevada is fascinating with the ruins of several of the stations still around. Winter may not be the best time to visit though because itís high desert and can be very cold and snowy. Itís in fact snowing right now there (Thursday 12/9).

That said, I second everything suggested about Death Valley. Itís an amazing place. Rhyolite, Amargosa, and Beatty NV are all just outside and east of the park and worth a visit if youíre coming from that direction.
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Old 12-09-2021, 03:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by larrie View Post
Camino del Diablo on the AZ border.
That and the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument area have been in my winter time dreams for years. I've assumed that area would be best to not wander around alone in though. With the lack of any type of snow so far here on the Front Range of Colorado I've been contemplating the southern sections of the New Mexico BDR as possible winter wheeling this year.

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