I know winter hiking can sometimes come across as a bit intimidating… it requires a little more preparation, a tiny bit more gear, and waking up a tad earlier but for these reasons it is so worthwhile! I want to share the top 5 reasons why winter is one of my favorite times of year to get out there and hike, and hopefully inspire more people to get themselves away from the holiday hustle and out into the frosted forests this year!
The Peace & Quiet
Since most people choose to hike during the peak seasons its truly wonderful to get to have some of the most beautiful trails to yourself or just a handful of others. There is something quite different from the quietness of a summer hike to the silence of a winter hike but both of them hold a special place in my heart. The snow blanketed surroundings create a heavy yet peaceful atmosphere that helps bring fresh energy to your lungs and outlook.
A Unique Perspective
I can do the same hike multiple times in the summer but when I get out there and do that same hike after the first heavy snowfall its incredible how the hike truly looks like one I have never done before. I love the way the snow shapes a new trail, and frosts everything over so the trees, mountains, and foliage all look so dramatically different. Its worth doing the same hike in every season because you get to know it that much more but the beauty in that hike never ceases to surprise.
A Little More of a Challenge
It’s fun for me to learn about what to do, and what not to do on any given hike but I think you learn quite a bit more on a snowy hike. The conditions are more harsh so it requires you to take a little more time in the beginning to be prepared. Do I need micro spikes or snow shoes? Should I bring a little stove and make hot cocoa at the end? Will I need gaiters? How are the avalanche conditions right now? Checking road conditions, trip reports, and making sure you have the right gear all make it just a tiny bit more challenging in the beginning of the experience but pays off so much during the trek out.
Setting Aside the Ego
During summer hikes you can go further, higher, harder, and longer so sometimes you get caught up in choosing more challenging hikes because the season allows it. Sometimes people attach themselves to these well deserved achievements but forget to appreciate the smaller, easier hikes that helped them get to where they are in the first place. I love that winter hikes can sometimes be a little restrictive due to avalanche safety because it brings people back to the beginning. Sometimes the hikes that get set aside as too easy in summer are some of your only options in winter, but these simple and easy hikes help bring relaxation.
Making More Memories
It’s true you make memories on every hike you go on but there is something I love when I look back over the past year and see hiking and backpacking photos from every season. If I miss a season it makes me feel like I missed out on an opportunity and winter is no exception. I love to bring new friends out and share my favorite winter hikes with someone who has never hiked in the snow, or choose and new winter hike with someone just as excited as me. To me, more than anything, hiking is about making memories with great people.
What about you?
What are your favorite reasons you love to get out in the snow? I’d love to hear about the memories you’ve made, or any of your favorite winter hikes, or any tips and trick to make it even more memorable!