The Go List
Winter is here again, that time when you just feel like dashing into the open air to catch some outdoor games. While for some, this may mean hibernation, but for the adventurous souls, it’s a chance to piling on a few more layers and getting out there to explore and play. Now note in places like New England, temperature drop doesn’t stop the fun, it’s just the beginning. So what do you do if this is just your first time hiking in the snow near the mountain? Or maybe you are not a skier or snowboarder?
Though hiking in cold temp or snow may mean more having more caution or getting more prepared, camping and hiking in the winter could be more fun and worth it! And if you are winter hike lover like me, one favorite place to go for hiking among others in the winter is the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
So what makes winter such a great time hikers love to go out for hiking? One the noisy crowd are usually nowhere to be found and mosquitoes and other bugs are usually redundant in the cold climate. The cooler temperature also makes the Southern hikes a lot more enjoyable.
With that being said let’s some places you may want to visit in the winter for hiking experience. But before we do that, make sure you are extra motivated in the morning before setting out on the trail for the days are shorter and it can be pretty cold out there. But as long as you’re properly geared up—layered correctly, have your hands and head covered, and own footwear that’ll keep your feet warm and dry as you climb over ice and kick through snow—a little winter hiking can pay off big. Especially if you log any of these hikes, which seem tailor-made for winter.
Now let’s look out some of the pleasant places you can go out for your winter hiking. Are you ready! Let’s catch some fun!
1.Arizona: Sedona, Bear Mountain Trail
Distance: 5 miles round-trip
Recommended Gear: None
One of the attractive thing that makes the Sedona’s Mountain one of the best place to hike is the blistering summer temperatures and springtime crowds. This atmosphere makes winter one of the best times to hike the area’s trails. Now let’s consider one of Arizona’s hardest short hiking trail, the Bear Mountain trail with about 1,800 feet in 2.5 miles and ends with a view of Mount Humphrey. When standing on Arizona’s highest point, one can see the north in Flagstaff 30 miles away.
2.Texas: Big Bend National Park, South Rim Loop
Distance: 11.6-mile loop
Recommended Gear: None
Looking for an alternative to the flat Texas terrain? The big bend national park may just be the best place to consider. If you are a great explorer, the wooden bowls of Boot Canyon is a great place to get into. Also be ready to summit the 7,832 foot Emory Peak, and enjoy vistas of Chihuahua Desert which straddles the U.S. – Mexico border. This hike is most comfortable in the mild, dry winter months when threats of thunderstorms and excessive heat are removed from the equation.
3.Alaska: Kenai Fjords National Park, Harding Icefield Trail
Distance: 8.2 miles round-trip
Recommended Gear: Snowshoes or crampons, trekking poles.
And after a hard time at the end of a bruising four-mile ascent that gains nearly 1,000 feet of elevation each mile comes the big payoff – the Harding ice field of Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. The Harding Icefield Trail is the largest field of ice solely contained with the U.S. stretching on for 700 square miles in Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park.
The report shows that winter is the predominant period when the area’s large black bear hibernates so that will be a comfortable time to climb. As you pass through the cottonwood forests, you begin to catch some views of exit. So be prepared to be transported back to the Ice Age when you hit the summit.
4.Maine: Acadia National Park, Gorham Mountain Trail
Distance: 4-mile loop
Recommended Gear: Snowshoes or cross-country skis
1913 to 1940, John D. Rockefeller built carriage roads about 50 miles to Acadia National Park. During the snowy winter months, when the hiking trails are being taken over by the snowshoes and cross-country skiers, the roads become open only to non-motorized use. Whereas the Gorham Mountain is pleasurable for hiking, it gets a nod due to the mixing ocean views and sea air that goes with your snowshoes.
5.Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park, Odessa Lake
Distance: 8.9 miles round-trip
Recommended Gear: Snowshoes or cross-country skis, trekking poles
During the summer, Rocky Mountain National Park holds an estimate of 500,000 visitors in a month and between 50,000 to 70,000 in the winter month. With this number, hikers feel more like having a personal escape than a tourist destination.
A view of Longs Peak, grace falls and the Glacier Gorge can be seen along the way when you climb through the snow-covered aspens to the high alpine Odessa Lake following the Flattop Mountain Trail.
6. Washington: Mount Rainier National Park, Mazama Ridge
Distance: 6 miles round-trip
Recommended Gear: Snowshoes
The Mazama Ridge offers a gorgeous view to snowshoers and the freedom to wander in a winter wonderland like this, is second to none. 900 feet away, the trails offer a rolling subalpine meadow that allows hikers to blaze their way through the deep snow. The views of Mount Rainier and the Tattoos Range as you climb the ridge are some of the best the park has to offer. So don’t miss the chance to play among the tall wind drifts.
7.Washington: Mount Rainier National Park, Mazama Ridge
Distance: 6 miles round-trip
Recommended Gear: Snowshoes
Mazama Ridge is gorgeous any time of year, but the freedom it offers snowshoers to wander in a winter wonderland is second to none. Gaining only 900 feet in three miles, the trail follows rolling subalpine meadows that allow you to blaze your own way through deep snow. The views of Mount Rainier and the Tattoos. Range as you climb the ridge are some of the best the park has to offer. Don’t miss the chance to play among the tall wind drifts.
Useful Winter Hiking tips
Although winter hiking in the White Mountains could be a serious and strenuous undertaking, it doesn’t have to be so if you are well guided. To help you enjoy the moment, here are some useful tips we put together for winter hiking.
• Get some good gears
There are several hiking gears in the market with different packing lists, yet there are basic items every avid winter hiker should be prepared to buy some of these include; waterproof pants and jacket, crampons or snowshoes, gaiters, waterproof boots, knee-high gaiters, insulated jacket, a lightweight backpack, hiking poles, camping stove, wraparound sunglasses. Instead of going for cheaper sub gears, I recommend you use coupon instead.
• Be Conservative
The margin for error in the winter is much smaller in other words things that are of little effect in the summer can become a major hassle to overcome in winter. And it becomes more life-threatening when the temperature drops. So make sure you get your kits together to overcome the dangerous terrains. Carry your shelter along instead of relying on making it to a cabin.
• Water and Food
Since you will be expending more energy in winter coupled with the dry air, water is always important when in the woods as you tend to dehydrate much quicker. So drink lots of water like 4 liters per person per day on a minimum even though most people will drink much more than that. But drink some water every time you stop to take a rest as you will be burning up a tremendous amount of energy, so you need to continually replenish your supply. To help you cope the more out in the winter, eat 4000 – 5000 calories per day as your body will working extra hard. To avoid hypothermia, don’t allow yourself to travel a long distance without food.
There are different boots for different hiking you may want to go for in the winter. So if you are going for only a day hiking, you can get by with a heavy leather hiking boots.
But if you’re planning to go out overnight and is pretty cold out there, wearing a leather show may just be inadequate as they soak up water during the day and freeze up overnight making it difficult or impossible to put them on in the morning.
Recommended snowshoes are the insulated liners to be worn to bed and warm boots in the morning if you are on outing overnight to make sure you always have dry warm feet.
To scale hiking in the winter, layering is a must. And you can start wearing a layer of wicking underwear, with tops and bottoms. A good polypropylene material will just be fine. This will help to wick the moisture away from your skin and cool you off.
And that’s it on our list. While not start planning your next epic winter visit to the New Hampshire’s White Mountains with this guide. And when you are done adventuring, don’t forget to fuel up yourself with some food and brews. Love to hear your thought in the comment section below.