A lot of people I know have the silly idea that hiking is for summer. Nothing could be farther from the truth, however! I frequently go on hikes in the winter. Sure, it takes a bit more effort to dress yourself properly for such a winter hike. You’ll especially need a good pair of winter hiking boots. But once you get into the groove, you’ll quickly learn that it is totally worth it.
Winter hiking is quite a different beast from summer, spring or even autumn hiking. And I’m not just talking about the temperature difference. You’d have to actually give it a shot to understand it. You can still work up quite a sweat when hiking in the winter, though.
And if you’re going to winter hike, then you might as well get it right. And you can get it right by visiting some of the best trails that the good ole’ US of A has available for winter hiking!
1. Adirondack Park, New York
Just when you think that New York had nothing better to offer than just being the Big Apple. But in fact, New Yorks Adirondack mountains are a sight for sore eyes. Especially when they are snow capped. These mountains offer trails for hikers of all sorts of skill levels.
If you are a very experienced hiker and would like to have a challenge, then the high peaks such as Ampersand, Cascade and Haystack will be to your liking. If you wanna go easy on yourself, then it’s probably best if you stay at lower elevations.
2. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
You can find some of the most gorgeous scenic views you’ve seen in your entire life here. You’ll have to climb to the 800 foot Swamp Canyon Overlook, though. If you’re a fan of clear blue sky, fiery red rock and virgin white snow, then you are going to have barrels of fun at Bryce Canyon!
3. Acadia National Park, Maine
If you are dead serious about getting a good winter hike, then Acadia is maybe one of the best places to go. With Maine being the most northern state in the whole east coast, I’m sure you can imagine that winters tend to get pretty brutal out here.
You’ll get to walk the Gorham Mountain Trail. At 4 miles long, it’s actually pretty short. But what it lacks in length, it more than makes up for in scenic views of the ocean come wintertime. You better be wearing some good winter hiking boots for this trail. Especially if you’re planning on standing around for a long time to enjoy the view.
4. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
How can you call yourself a true American patriot without ever having visited America’s greatest asset… the Rocky Mountains. If you want to experience them in their full, true glory then you will have to visit them when it’s winter.
Sure, Colorado may have the reputation of being a winter ski destination. But there’s lots of room for hikers as well! There are plenty of trails on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, that are waiting for you to come on over and have a looksy. Think of Deer Mountain and Chasm Falls, for example. Both are very accessible trails!
5. Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite attracts up to 4 million visitors every single year. If you’d care to visit the place yourself, then you’ll soon find out why that is. Winter is actually off season for Yosemite, and most of the park will be closed during this time (save for Yosemite Valley).
This is a prime opportunity for you to enjoy the beautiful landscape without having to fight your way through hordes of curious tourists. Your hike will take you past Mist Trail, Mirror Lake, Bridalveil Falls and Lower Yosemity Falls. All of which are a sight to behold!
6. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
If you think Mount Rainier looks good in the summer, then you haven’t bothered to look at it in the winter, when it’s at its most beautiful! Get your snow shoes out, because you’re going to need them if you want to reward your climb with some of the greatest views this mountain has to offer.
You’ll be trudging up no less than 3 miles, which is quite a climb by most hikers’ standards. The snow covered banks that you will find in Mazuma Ridge are totally worth it though. You can’t compare those to anything else. Make sure to be there when the sun sets. You will soon find yourself forgetting all about your worries, as you share this beautiful moment with mother earth.
7. Everglades National Park, Florida
This one’s for those of you who want to escape that infamous Florida heat and enjoy some of its less notorious cold. If you plan on visiting this area, then December to April are your best bets. The Rowdy Bend Trail is well over 5 miles long. It won’t take you past snow capped peaks, but it’s really great for bird watching, if that’s any consolation!
8. Big Bend National Park, Texas
Always wanted to visit Texas, but could never find a good excuse to actually do it? Well, let me help you on your way. Texas is normally pretty humid. But in winter time, it is much drier. There’s also a lower risk of running into aggressive thunderstorms.
In these times, you’ll definitely want to pay a visit to Big Bend. This park has 3 ecosystems in 1. These include the Riparian Zone Along Rio Grande, the Chihuanhuan desert and the Chisos Mountains. These mountains are at a pretty high altitude.
If you’re looking for a challenge, these mountains might be right up your alley. The South Rim Loop will give you a ride along all of these areas. It’s 11.6 miles long, so make sure to be wearing good hiking boots for winter if you’re going to attempt this trail!
What are you still doing huddled under your warm blankies in wintertime? Strap on a pair of boots, get your your winter hiking jacket and go see all the gorgeous scenery that Uncle Sam has to offer you in wintertime!