Many people mistakenly believe that winter means the end of hiking since the weather is simply too cold for it. However, there are plenty of hiking opportunities throughout the year as long as you take the proper precautions and prepare carefully. If you want some ideas for some places and trails you can try, here are 15 hiking trails to explore this winter.
Cumberland Trail, Tennessee
This still-growing 200-plus mile hiking trail is ready for you to tackle at any time of the year. There are plenty of places for you to start and stop along the trail, letting you travel at your own leisure. Some parts of this Tennessee trail even cross near some waterfalls you can enjoy gazing at on your hike.
Watchman Trail, Utah
The Watchman Trail is located in southern Utah; the state’s dry, warm summer heat makes it perfect for hikes in the winter when the temperature is cooler. The trail is a bit shorter than others mentioned here, but the hike passes some of the most unique sights in the world. You’ll see places with sandstone spires and cacti you’d never see in a northern climate.
Mazama Ridge Trail, Washington
If you’ve ever been to Washington, you’d notice the huge active volcano that sits in the area. Mount Rainer hosts hiking trails all year round, giving you plenty of time for your trip through the six-mile stretch of mazama ridge trails.
Roundabout Trail, Colorado
The Roundabout trail is the shortest trail on our list so far, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t special. The town it sits near is rife with winter activities and events, and there are plenty of other trails you can tackle around the area, too.
Lone Star Geyser, North Pennsylvania
The Lone Star Geyser trail is very popular during summer, but, just like a lot of other hiking trails, it loses a lot of hikers during winter. However, you can take advantage of this by hiking during this time so you can explore the area without worrying about others. The Lone Star Geyser trail has a short round trip, and it’ll bring you to the geyser itself so you can watch it explode.
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley is a famous park, and while the name might sound scary, the trail itself isn’t scary for hikers who prepare properly and know what they’re doing. In fact, hiking in Death Valley during winter can be amazing as the place is much warmer during that time compared to most other trails. Traveling a full trail will take more than one day and require good navigation skills.
Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon National Park
At the southern rim of the Grand Canyon lays the Bright Angel Trail. The trail slowly descends down into the canyon over the course of four and a half miles. The canyon bottom is warmer than the top. This trail is amazing and has many spectacular sights.
Bear Mountain Trail, Arizona
The Bear Mountain Trail in Arizona is a hot place during summer, which makes it the perfect hiking getaway during winter. The trail climbs Mount Humphrey and ends at the top, giving you the tallest viewpoint in all of Arizona.
Red Eagle Lake Trail, Montana
Doubling both as a hiking trail and as a skiing location, the Red Egal Lake Trail gives you the option of exploration at your own rate. It’s an eight-mile hike round-trip. You can easily hike the path, walk along the edge of Saint Mary Lake, and go all the way to Red Egal Creek.
Harding Icefield Trail, Alaska
If you’re a fan of beautiful and awe-inspiring sights, then the ending of the Harding Icefield Trail is the place for you. The trek will take you along a one-way, four-mile trail where you get a few peeks at the glacier area. You end the hike at the Icefield, a stupendous place where you can see the frozen beauty of winter.
Aska Trails, Georgia
The Aska Trails sit close to the downtown area of Blue Ridge. It’s a quick hike, so you can enjoy it along with the town’s other activities—or, you could try the mountain cabin rentals Blue Ridge has to offer. There are dozens of paths nearby that take you to some amazing waterfalls and forest areas in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Ozark Highlands Trail, Arkansas
Hiking is the best way to see the gorgeous mountains of Arkansas. The Ozark Highlands Trail has 160 miles of trail you can travel along. This trail has plenty of beautiful natural wonders and spectacular views.
Pinhoti Trail, Alabama
This trail winds its way between Georgia and Alabama. It’s a long 350-mile trail that stretches across a large part of the state. There are plenty of different sights you can see and terrains you can travel through; some of the trail goes through towns so you can rest after traveling the more secluded parts.
Starved Rock, Illinois
Starved Rock State Park sits near the Illinois River and is about 90 miles west of Chicago. It has over 12 miles of hiking trails. You can easily enjoy your trek around the park at any time of the year; there are some gorgeous frozen waterfalls in the winter. Additionally, this park is near Matthiessen State Park, which holds another six miles of trails which you can enjoy.
Gorham Mountain Trail, Maine
The Gorham Mountain trail has an interesting history: it used to be carriage roads made by John D. Rockefeller. The roads are now open for public use in the winter, which makes it great for hiking near the ocean.
Hopefully, in this list, you’ve found a great hiking place or two that matches your tastes. These 15 hiking trails to explore this winter are some of the best the states have on offer. You can always try other trails and hike summer paths during winter, but these trails are well worth your time if you want to hike when it’s cold and snowy.