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Winter driving conditions from Portland to Bend

Canton, CT
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Winter driving conditions from Portland to Bend

We will be flying into Portland and driving to Bend Thursday, January 17 and returning to Portland on Sunday, January 20. Our rental will be a four wheel drive or have chains. How dangerous is the ride? Any safety tips?

Portland, Oregon
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2,463 posts
16 reviews
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1. Re: Winter driving conditions from Portland to Bend

tripcheck.com is the best resource and checking weather before is the best advice. If you have 4WD and chains(and know how to put them on) should be ok. Hwy 26 is a good pass, but still a mountain pass. If snow is of concern at high elevation, it might be easier to go up I-84 the Gorge to Hwy 97 and follow that all the way down to Bend- its longer, but if snow is an issue may not be that much longer. But best advice is to check- since the Gorge can get bad too.

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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2. Re: Winter driving conditions from Portland to Bend

Didn't notice you had a duplicate posting, irsgm. See your other thread as well.

Bend, Oregon
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119 posts
14 reviews
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3. Re: Winter driving conditions from Portland to Bend

All good advice. One other thought: if you look at a map, don't be tempted to travel south on I 5 to take hwy 22 over the Santium Pass to Bend. Hwy 26 is a much better way in the winter - shorter and more traveled. I, too, recommend a 4W; traction tires should be fine. Normally if there are chain controls on the pass, traction tires are ok. I see you are from Connecticut so should be used to driving in snow. You'll know then, if roads are iffy, go slow! Have a good trip.

Edited: 07 January 2013, 20:00
Bend, Oregon
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for Bend
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1,632 posts
20 reviews
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4. Re: Winter driving conditions from Portland to Bend

Huh? We take Santiam all the time, year-round. In general there's less traffic and fewer semis. You're in the "snow zone" for a shorter distance and it's a very well maintained road. There are a couple of curves but shouldn't be a problem as long as you drive a reasonable speed.

Camp Sherman, Oregon
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5. Re: Winter driving conditions from Portland to Bend

Like fiveforefun, we take the Santiam all the time also. I cringe every time I take 26 as it is excruciating to have to go through Wood Village, Gresham, Sandy, etc., then Madras and Redmond(though going through Warm Springs is nice and the views of the cascades from the east are great). Much easier(to us) to go south to Salem, then just through the four small towns on the west side where speeds are reduced slightly. Only bottleneck would be Sisters.

6. Re: Winter driving conditions from Portland to Bend

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