2016 Heartland Gateway 3650 BH
2016 Heartland Gateway 3650 BH
There's one thing that goes relatively unnoticed in Sacramento and that's the onset of winter. The city's amazingly mild climate means there are only a few nights of the year when the temperatures drop to below freezing and you might wake up to see a covering of frost on the ground. Snow is a rarity you could be waiting a long time to see. The biggest snowfall ever recorded in Sacramento amounted to no more than three inches and that was over three decades ago.
The lack of a harsh winter means you can enjoy outdoor recreation pretty much all year round in Sacramento, which includes everything from hiking through one of the city's many parks to canoeing up the American River. It also means that events like the Aftershock Festival don't have to be preoccupied with the weather or be too concerned they'll get rained off. It's also good to know you don't need to wrap up too warm if you're walking between the city's museums, sightseeing in Downtown or heading out for a night at the theater.
That all makes Sacramento sound perfect, and it pretty much is until the Tule fog rolls in or if you just happen to be an avid fan of winter sports. To get away from the all-enveloping wetness of the fog, the poor visibility, the damp dripping off the tree branches and just about everywhere else, plan a wintertime weekend RV road trip from Sacramento to Ogden in Utah. There's snow in Ogden in the winter, so pack your skis and snowshoes in the rig, load your snowmobile onto a trailer if you have one and escape from Sacramento along the I 80 to some fantastic places where you can find the fun side of the winter season.
For any winter sports enthusiast, a visit to the Utah Olympic Park is a must-do on their RV road trip from Sacramento to Ogden. The park was built to house the 2002 Winter Olympics and continues to be used as an outdoor recreation center throughout the twelve months of the year. The Utah Olympic Park is located in Park City which is on the eastern side of Salt Lake City so a little off route for Ogden, but the extra mileage pays dividends in excitement.
Take a look around the Winter Games Museum before trying your skill on the Nordic jumps. Go tubing down the ski runs and clamber over the winter summit course fifty-five feet above the ground or the lower canyon course that's only twenty-five feet up. Both take plenty of nerve but not as much as the bobsled experience where you zoom down an ice track at high speed in an Olympic standard bobsled steered by a pilot. Not something for the faint-hearted, no matter how much of a speed freak you might be.
Half an hour after you cross over the Nevada-Utah state border, you could be forgiven for thinking you're passing by an endless, although very flat, winter wonderland that stretches as far into the distance as you can see. If the winter sun is shining, the landscape will glisten and sparkle just like a glittered coated Christmas greeting card. It's not snow you're seeing but the coating of salt that covers the Bonneville Salt Flats.
The Bonneville Salt Flats are thirty-thousand acres of BLM managed public land where the Land World Speed Races are held during the late summer. The final races are held in the early fall so don't expect to see any rocket-propelled vehicles zooming across the flats when you're there in the winter. It is an amazing place to drive through though and to take photos of. If the sun is shining, make sure to wear shades as the glare can be bad for your vision.
There's no doubt that ice fishing requires a completely different skill set and equipment to most other types of fishing, but if you can handle the cold, it can be fun and ultimately productive. As you continue your road trip from Sacramento to Ogden, when you get to Elko take a short detour north to the Wild Horse Reservoir State Recreation Area. It's one of the best spots in Nevada for ice fishing so park up, get your fishing gear out and give it a go.
Once you've ascertained with the rangers that the ice is thick enough to take your weight, you can set about drilling through it and settle down to wait to see what will take a likening to your bait. Taking a folding chair is a good idea because if you sit on ice, the intense cold will soon creep through to your skin no matter how many layers you're wearing. Patience will undoubtedly reward you with one or another species of trout so don't give up too easily.
When you motor out of Sacramento on the I 80 eastbound for Ogden on your winter weekend RV road trip, you won't have long to wait before you can start to hit the drifts. In around two hours, you'll enter into the Tahoe National Forest and between Soda Springs and Truckee, you'll see the signs for the Donner Memorial State Park.
The park sits at a high altitude amid the mountains of the Sierra Nevada Range, and if the weather is on your side, it will give you your first sighting of a real snowfall. There's a large campground at the park that's open all year round and can cater for rigs up to twenty-eight feet in length. Once you've pitched camp, wax those skis or strap your snowshoes on and hit the trails. There are around eight miles worth in total so plenty to go at. Take time to have a browse around the visitor center while you're there as it houses some interesting exhibitions.
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Ogden is a paradise for winter sports with cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails leading directly out of the city to the lower regions of the Wasatch Mountains. There are ski resorts galore with fantastic downhill slopes all within a few miles drive. When you've had enough snow for the day head to the historic 25th Street for dinner and then take some drinks in a rooftop bar to see the city lights at night and soak up the atmosphere. Don't stay out too late or you won't be on form for hitting the slopes in the morning.