Cold temperatures, snow, familiar holiday tunes, and the smell of delicious comfort foods fill the air during winter. Undoubtedly, the holiday season is all about family gatherings, overindulging in comfort food, and staying cozy indoors. However, what many forget are the stunning landscapes the country’s mountains and national parks have to offer.
In fact, seeing the beautiful winter wonderland across the country can help you get back on your feet and overcome lethargy. Winter hiking is an activity that can help you remain physically active while exploring the country’s mountains.
The most beautiful destinations and popular trails receive many hikers during summer and fall. These places become devoid of people in winter, resulting in tranquil experiences for winter hikers.
If you want to experience winter hiking this year, here are some trails you can try in some of the country’s best national parks.
Methow Valley, Washington
Backpacker magazine recommends the Methow Valley in Washington for first-time hikers. It is located in the foothills of the North Cascade mountain range.
The Methow Valley offers a low-angle terrain, perfect for novice hikers. Plus, the surrounding mountains shelter the valley from Pacific storms, allowing ample sunshine even during winter.
Trails in the Methow Valley are the most extensive cross-country trail system in the Northwest, including several mountains, lakes, and rivers. It offers different kinds of winter activities for all members of the family.
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Mount Rainier National Park is nearby, offering trails to hikers who truly love snow. The park receives 54 feet of snow on average every year.
Mount Rainier Park is surrounded by old-growth forests, meadows, waterfalls, and valleys, giving you breathtaking winter landscapes. And because of the snow and the stunning views, the park is an excellent destination for hiking, camping, climbing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, sledding, and skiing. If you love snow and winter activities, Mount Rainier National Park is for you.
For hard-core hikers and mountaineers, the park is known for the mountain that bears its name, Mount Rainier. It is, in fact, a volcano. It is the highest peak in the Cascade Mountain range.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Colorado is home to more than 50 of the country’s highest mountains, peaks, and elevations. Its highest mountain is Mount Elbert, and it’s the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains. This makes Rocky Mountain National Park the most popular national park in the state.
From summer to fall, though, the park is filled with visitors. To truly appreciate the area’s beauty, you should visit it when not too many people are roaming about. Winter is a perfect time.
You don’t have to climb Mount Elbert’s summit. The park already offers a lot of trails and activities you can enjoy, minus the dizzying elevation.
Cumberland Trail State Park, Tennessee
The scenic Cumberland Trail State Park is perfect for a winter day hike. According to Travel and Leisure magazine, you can enjoy the breathtaking views, rapids, waterfalls, and different geological formations in the Three Gorges segment of the park. You can get to this area of the park if you take the 9.5 miles (15.29 kilometers) Possum Creek hike.
Hillsborough River State Park, Florida and Death Valley National Park, California
If you’d like to take a break from the snow, visit Florida or California in winter. Both states still get cold during winter months but rarely experiences snow, especially in Florida.
Enjoy a winter hike in California in the Death Valley National Park. Exploring the park during summer can be dangerous when the heat can reach deadly heights. But in winter, temperature drops, and adventures become comfortable enough, even for children. Winter transforms the park from a hellish place to a winter oasis.
In Florida, not far from Tampa city, you can go on a hike in the historic Hillsborough River State Park. It gets cold in the Sunshine State, too. But not cold enough to forego hiking during winter.
In fact, you might enjoy winter hiking in the state too much that you might as well decide to live there. You can get in touch with a licensed real estate agent to help you find a property you’d love to move into.
Hiking in Florida during summer isn’t as dangerous in California’s Death Valley. However, you’d get swamped by blood-sucking mosquitoes, so make sure to bring protection.
Worth the Effort and Time
However, winter hikes require a different set of preparations. Still, they’re worth it, considering the snowy landscapes and adventures you’ll see and have when you get to your destination.
Enjoy the calm beauty of the country’s national parks this winter. Hopefully, the list above has given you an idea of where to go next.