Whether you’re headed out to the Jud Wiebe Trail in Colorado, Acadia National Park in Maine, or the Watchman Trail in Zion National Park, Utah, for winter hiking this season, make sure you’re fully prepared. Here are some things to keep in mind!
Where to Go Winter Hiking
A few of the most popular winter hiking destinations in the U.S. include:
Cumberland Trail State Park, Tennessee
Cape Falcon Trail in Oswald West State Park, Oregon
Mazama Ridge Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Snow Canyon State Park in St. George, Utah
Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana
No matter what time of year it is or where you’re planning to hike through the snow, make sure you know what to bring and what to wear to make your trip a success.
What to Wear
Some materials perform better or worse than others in cold temperatures. While some are excellent for insulating, others are moisture-wicking, while still others are excellent at protecting against cold winds.
Knowing which materials aren’t suitable for hiking conditions is just as important as knowing which ones will help you stay toasty warm out on the trails.
Wear the Right Fabrics
Layering is critical to maintaining a healthy body temperature and keeping moisture away in cold weather. Never go out hiking without layering.
A moisture-wicking base layer
An insulating mid-layer
A wind-resistant outer layer
As you’re grabbing your snowshoes and hiking poles to maneuver the snowy and icy trails, make sure to choose clothes made of the right materials for layering. You’ll also want to bring along two pairs of gloves, a winter cap, heavyweight winter socks, a first aid kit, and of course, a backpack for all of your supplies.
Your moisture-wicking base layer should be dryline wicking spandex or other nylon/polyester options
The best fabric for your insulating mid-layer is fleece, as fleece fabric is very warm but not overly heavy
Wear durable, water-resistant fabrics for your wind-protecting outer layer
Hiking clothing is manufactured from both natural and synthetic fibers. Some activities call for natural fabrics, while synthetic fibers may be more appropriate for others. Read up on the differences between natural and synthetic fabrics to know which ones are best for your specific needs.
Bring the Right Gear
In addition to your hiking clothing, snowshoes, and hiking poles, you’ll want to bring along some additional items to keep you warm, dry, and safe as you’re hiking America’s best winter hiking trails.
Pack an insulated thermos with a warm beverage to hydrate and stay warm while you’re on the trail. You’ll also want to bring along plenty of water to drink.
Place hand warmer packs inside your gloves. There are even warmer packs that can go inside your socks or shoes!
Bring high-protein snacks to fuel your body while on the trails. Take frequent snack breaks to rest and recharge your body.
Inspire Your Inner Adventurer by Being Prepared
There is something beautifully dramatic about hiking the outdoors during the winter. If you’re looking for enough inspiration to carry you through until spring, hike the best winter trails around this season!