What’s the best route from Portland to Bend in the winter?

I’m heading from Portland to Bend for a ski trip in January, and while I have a 4x4 SUV that handles great in the snow, I’m still a little nervous about running into bad weather. What’s the best route from Portland to Bend in the winter?

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Answer provided by
Alison Daurio
Answered on May 27, 2022
There are a few ways to get from Portland to Bend, but if you’re making the trip in the winter we suggest taking I-84 to US-197 and then taking US-97 to Bend. This route is about 45 minutes longer than the direct route under normal traffic conditions, but it has the advantage of allowing you to cross the Cascades close to sea level. This means it’s often less snowy than US-26 and Route 22.
While this route is usually the best way to go from Portland to Bend in the winter, you should still consult your preferred navigation app, as well as tripcheck.com—a website that provides information about Oregon roads, including weather conditions—before you leave.
It’s also a good idea to prepare a winter emergency car kit and to update your car insurance policy with roadside assistance coverage in case you run into trouble.
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