The Best Winter Hikes
We all love snuggling by the fire. But just because temperatures drop doesn’t mean hiking season is over. Lace up and get out for a dose of fresh, cool air and vitamin D, along with some breathtaking views.Here are some of our favorite trails for great winter hiking that anyone can enjoy. Don’t worry: You can leave the snowshoes at home.
CALIFORNIA: BIG TREE TRAIL, SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK
It’s hard to deny the beauty of trees covered in a light dusting of snow. To get your fill of winter beauty without strapping on your snowshoes or cross-country skis, wander through some of the biggest trees in the world.
Why we love it: Thanks to a well-maintained raised boardwalk, you can easily navigate and enjoy this trail in the winter, making it the perfect destination for families, beginning winter-hiking enthusiasts, or anyone wanting to immerse themselves in a picture-perfect winter landscape.
FLORIDA: FLORIDA NATIONAL SCENIC TRAIL
Are you a sun lover looking to escape the cold completely? Head to the sunshine state for 1,500 miles of warm weather hiking. If you’re an experienced hiker with a month to spare, trek all the way from the cypress forests to the shoreline. For the not-so-experienced, there are options for short hikes that require minimal to zero equipment.
Why we love it: As one of the most biologically diverse areas of the country, this trail offers a one-of-a-kind hiking experience for hikers of all levels. While you won’t experience much of an elevation change, you’re sure to see landscapes and wildlife you haven’t seen anywhere else.
COLORADO: THE GARDEN OF THE GODS
Just an hour and twenty minutes from Denver lies the Garden of the Gods, a stunning natural park featuring towering red stone walls covered in a thin layer of snow. With 21 miles of relatively flat terrain to explore, this is an ideal spot to take in winter’s glory.
Why we love it: The Garden of the Gods park is home to numerous trails, from family-friendly paved walkways to slightly more moderate paths. No matter which you opt for, you’ll run into natural winter scenery that is hard to beat.
TEXAS: BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK
We get it. Snow isn’t for everyone, no matter how light. Luckily, Big Bend National Park stays virtually snow-free all winter long. Grab your favorite hiking gear and experience brisker temperatures and beautiful views without the worries that winter can bring elsewhere.
Why we love it: From river canyons to the Chisos Mountains, Big Bend boasts more than 150 miles of diverse hiking terrain to choose from. Plus, the mild, dry winter weather gives you access to sweeping desert vistas without the risk of intense heat or thunderstorms.
TENNESSEE/NORTH CAROLINA: THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS
Have a good amount of winter hiking experience under your belt? Journey into the Great Smoky Mountains this winter. What you give in planning and preparation you’ll get back in crowd-free hiking and striking winter scenery.
Why we love it: While the mountain range contains some easier trails, winter is in full force as you venture upward. If you’re willing and able to make the trek through the forests to one of the mountain summits, you’ll be met with unforgettable winter views.
WASHINGTON: BAKER LAKE TRAIL, NORTH CASCADES
In the North Cascades, winter doesn’t always mean leafless trees and white panoramas. At lower elevations, Washington’s Cascade range offers perfect winter day hikes for those who prefer their adventures snow-free.
Why we love it: Trails like the Baker River and Lake Trails feature mountains, lakes, and lush old-growth forests all wrapped up in one. Plus, these trails can accommodate hikers of all levels.
ARIZONA: THE RIM TRAIL, GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
For the perfect mix of crisp air and sunny skies, take a trip to this wonder of the world. While most hiking trails are suited for highly experienced hikers only, the Rim Trail gives casual hikers a chance to take in the views without trekking the complete 13 miles.
Why we love it: The Grand Canyon is a tourist hotspot—during the summer. In the winter, you’ll enjoy far fewer crowds, not to mention the sunny skies and gorgeous, snow-sprinkled vistas.
UV damage doesn’t stop when temperatures drop. Before you hit the trails, get all of your sun care essentials here at Panama Jack.