Winter Driving Safety

The park's snow plow operators


Crater Lake National Park is characterized by very snowy winters (and falls and springs, and sometimes summers). Snow plow drivers work tirelessly to keep Highway 62 and the road to Rim Village open throughout the winter. Expect to encounter snow removal equipment at any time during your visit. Plows are big and heavy and can cause severe damage when involved in collisions with other vehicles. Drive with caution and give our Roads Crew plenty of space to do their jobs. Just because a road is plowed does not mean that all vehicles and drivers are equipped for it. Make your visit a safe one—research conditions, assess your vehicle, and plan ahead.

BEFORE YOU ARRIVE

  • Check the conditions—Check the weather forecast, webcams, and park alerts. To learn about road conditions and closures outside the park, visit TripCheck.
  • Assess your vehicle and winter driving skills—Check your brakes, heater/defroster, lights, and wipers. Ask yourself if you and your vehicle are equipped to climb a mountain on winding roads that are covered in packed snow and ice.
  • Carry chains or install traction tires—Chains should be in good working order and should fit your tires correctly. Practice putting them on BEFORE you actually need them. Traction tires are snow tires or studded tires that meet the tire industry's standard for being suitable in severe snow conditions. They are marked with a mountain/snowflake emblem on the sidewall.
  • Fill up on fuel—Don't let your vehicle fall below half a tank on winter trips. There is no gasoline, diesel, or electric charging available in the park from mid-October to late May.
  • Pack a basic winter survival kit—Include an ice scraper, flashlight, batteries, blanket, snacks, water, warm coat, hat, gloves, boots, and first-aid kit.

AT THE PARK

  • Slow your speed—Drive for the conditions. The posted speed limit is not always a safe speed to drive. When you see a plow coming toward you, gently decelerate and give it plenty of room to get by.
  • Keep alert—Be mentally prepared to meet other vehicles as you drive around each corner.
  • Give 'em space—When following a vehicle or plow, do not follow closely. The standard "two-second" rule for following a vehicle applies only on dry roads. In winter conditions, you will need much more braking time and distance if the other vehicle makes a sudden stop.
  • Stay in your lane—Never drive in the wrong lane, even if it has been plowed and your lane has not.
  • Make your presence known—Don’t assume that other vehicles can see you. They may have limited visibility due to falling snow, ice- or fog-covered windows, and blind corners. When driving near a plow, turn on your headlights and even your emergency lights to make yourself more noticeable.
  • Wait to pass—Do not pass a plow unless the driver waves you ahead or you are absolutely sure that you can pass safely.
 
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Duration:
4 minutes, 18 seconds

This video describes the hazards you might encounter here in the winter. Learn how to prepare yourself and your vehicle for the adventure.

Last updated: November 16, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Crater Lake National Park
PO Box 7

Crater Lake , OR 97604

Phone:

(541) 594-3000

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