You are here

4-Wheel Drive in the Rocky Mountains 

We HIGHLY recommend 4-wheel drive and/or at the very least, AWD (All Wheel Drive) when visiting the Rocky Mountains in winter.  In fact, some homes require this over front or rear wheel only vehicles. Each home will specify 4-wheel drive requirements under its Amenities list on the website.  If you are visiting during a powder day storm, make sure you follow all TRACTION LAWS set in place by the Colorado Department of Transportation prior to heading up I-70.  

If you plan on renting a car for your upcoming trip, make sure you reserve a 4-wheel drive vehicle.  Book early as these rental car specifications tend to go FAST in Colorado.  

Helpful traveling tips for when you arrive

Tires - Check your tires!  Whether you are road tripping from home or renting a car from the airport, ensure you have good traction.  Most all weather tires are sufficient as long as your vehicle is equipped with 4-wheel or all-wheel drive capabilities.  If you must arrive by front or rear wheel only drivetrains, do your best to get those snow tires on!  This will take the stress out of your wintery visit. 

Extra Room - Leave room between you and the car in front of you.  Try to aim for two to three car spaces at the very least.  When the roads get icy, stopping takes much longer than on dry asphalt.  

Drive for Conditions - Use good judgment when driving in unfamiliar territory, especially when the weather creates visibility issues.  Just because the speed sign says one thing, does not mean the roads are suitable for it. Use common sense, slower speeds are advised for a reason. 

Snowplows - Maintain your distance from the snowplows! Yes, they go slower than the average driver, but they are out there working hard to keep the roads as safe as possible in bad weather environments.  Don't crowd them and let them do their work. If you must pass, pass on the LEFT and with extreme caution.  

I-70 Smart - I-70 is often the road most traveled when coming from Denver International Airport.  Keep aware of closures, updates, travel advisories and more before you head up!  Stay informed at GO 1-70's Real Time road casts.  GOI70-Travel Forcast 

Have a Plan - If you're traveling in winter, here are recommended tips: 

      • If caught in a storm, don't leave your car!  If you must run the car to stay warm, check that your exhaust is not blocked by snow.  Take breaks turning it on and off. 
      • If possible, keep blankets, water, snacks, a flashlight, and jumper cables in one of the compartments of the vehicle 
Additional Colorado Department of Transportation Info

Always anticipate icy roads in the high country.  Some months rarely see a day above freezing and any snow melted by the sun can quickly turn to black ice.  Stay informed and use your resources.  Know your traffic laws and keep educated on I-70 traveling.  For additional information like cameras, road closure updates and more, visit COTRIP.ORG

Be Safe Out There!