Winter Roads


The law requires you to carry chains on your vehicle at all times during the winter. If you do not own chains and are going to buy a set, we recommend and use on all of our family’s vehicles Leclede Alpine Sport Chains. Unlike ladder (traditional) or cable chains, Leclede chains do not have to laid out and then driven over. The chains are wrapped around the tire and then secured, WITHOUT having to move the vehicle. These chains can be put on once you are stuck and can’t gain traction (I know this from experience). They are quieter to drive on than traditional chains too. Chains should always be placed on the powered drive wheels. It is recommended that you place the chains on the steering tires for 4wd and AWD vehicles. 

We purchased our chains from O’Reilly Auto Parts. When a winter storm hits chains sell out fast. 

Never exceed the recommended speed limit for your brand of chains (usually 25mph). Excessive speed on cleared roads is especially bad! You can at minimum break your chains and at worst have them wrap around your axle and bind causing severe damage. 

Always check your tire size before buying as chains are usually not returnable.

Leclede chain installation video


Most mapping apps will use this road. We will use this road too if we come up Moonridge Rd. However, once you pass Colusa it gets steep fast and bottle necks with stuck cars.


This is the road we take up. But this also has a very steep incline. Our Honda AWD truck and Subaru Forrester with chains makes this hill with no problems. It can become littered with vehicles that challenged the grade without chains.

Villa Grove

This has the most gradual incline of all roads heading to Upper Moonridge. But it is also the most used by folks who think they can make it without chains. Thus it becomes the most bottlenecked of all the streets when it is icy out.

Silver Tip/Colusa

Do not use if it is icy or snowy. Jeeps and mountain goats are the only things that should challenge these streets during winter weather. 

Tips we follow for getting around in winter. 

  • Chain up early
  • Leave plenty of space to the vehicle in front of you
  • Avoid stopping on a hill if you can. 
  • Always obey the maximum speed limit set the your tire chain manufacturer
  • Slow and steady wins the race
  • Bring some cash and your patience
  • Remember it is all part of the adventure

Some days it is an adventure getting to Upper Moonridge. There have been times we have had to try various streets, not because we can’t make it, but because there are so many stuck vehicles and getting around them is a challenge. The locals know the bad spots and there are some enterprising folks with huge trucks and tractors that will go around and offer to put on your chains or pull you out for a few bucks. Carry some cash just in case.

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