Brrrr it’s getting cold out there! But no cold is going to stop us from having fun. Canadian winters are the epitome of a magical, snowy wonderland. There are a ton of beautiful scenic drives, snow sports, wildlife spotting, and even the Northern Lights. So bundle up, grab a friend or two, fill the thermoses, load up on car snacks, and head out for an epic winter road trip.
Here are some road trip ideas to experience this winter:
- British Columbia – Sea to Sky Highway: More officially known as Highway 99, this extremely scenic route starts in Vancouver and goes up north to Whistler. This is a beautiful cliff-hugging road that’ll take you from the ocean to high up in the mountains. You’ll pass by small villages and scenic parks, all of which make for fun stops. End with the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish to see gorgeous sweeping views of the snow dusted landscape.
- Alberta – Icelands Parkway: Known as Highway 93 North, this is an especially breathtaking road trip during the winter. Connecting Jasper National Park to Banff National Park, this 230 km road winds through the heart of the Canadian Rockies. You’ll pass beautiful turquoise lakes, impressive waterfalls, canyon gorges, and Columbia Icefields, where you can explore Canada’s ancient glaciers. Just be careful, this road is known for being twisty!
- Ontario – Algonquin Park: This is an easy trip from Toronto but a great escape where you can find all sorts of winter activities. There’s cross-country skiing or snowshoeing for those more athletic, or dog sledding for those wanting to get in touch with their wild side. You can also choose to camp or get all cozied up in a luxury yurt. There’s something for everyone!
- Yukon – Alaska Highway: This area of Canada is known for its wild and rugged mountain-scape. Here, the winters mean short days and long nights. But this is a prime location to see the Northern Lights show. The Alaska highway covers over 2,000 km, so decide where to start and stop. This is a trip that will take more planning as this is the true wilderness and amenities are sparse.
Before heading out on any of these road trips, make sure you have winterized your car. Your car needs to be ready for a road trip and you need to be prepared in case anything happens. First of all, make sure your car is properly serviced, including:
- Get an oil change using oil with a lower viscosity. In freezing temperatures, a thicker oil doesn’t lubricate your engine as well.
- Test that the battery is still in good condition and has not corroded. The last thing you want is to be stuck on the side of the road with a dead battery and no one driving by to help with a jump start!
- Inflate your tires to the proper pressure so you have the best traction possible on icy roads. The tire pressure naturally drops as the temperatures decrease. If it’s snowing more heavily, you may want to get snow tires.
- Make sure you have the proper level of anti-freeze, or else you run the risk of your coolant system freezing up in the cold.
- Make sure the windscreen wipers are working properly. Replace them if they’re not. You can also change to windscreen wiper fluid to one that has antifreeze.
Also, it’s extremely important to make sure you have a safety kit, such as this Winter Safety Kit from Canadian Tire. This kit contains all the essentials such as a tow strap, shovel, traction aid, booster cables, and headlamp. A fleece blanket, hat, gloves, and hand warmers will keep you warm. It also comes with one year free roadside assistance.
A light is also an essential emergency item in case you’re stuck somewhere after sunset. This Motomaster Eliminator Hybrid Solar Worklight from Canadian Tire has up to 20 hours of run time and can be charged via solar power. It can also charge your cell phone and camera.
Are you ready to take a road trip this winter?