Hiking is one of the greatest summertime activities. It gives you the opportunity to exercise by taking long walks in the great outdoors — either by yourself, or with family members and friends. Hikes can allow you to experience some of nature’s most stunning vistas, or they can just be a walk alongside a river or creek near your house.
As nice as summertime hikes are, there’s no reason winter hikes can’t be just as wonderful. In some cases, they may even be better. Of course, the weather doesn’t always cooperate, and it might not be best to go hiking in the middle of a blizzard. But if you pick a clear and sunny day, your wintertime hike can be a magical and exhilarating experience.
Here are just a few of the reasons to go hiking this winter.
Escape the Crowds
Most popular hiking trails and destinations are packed during the summer. It’s hard to feel like you’re getting in touch with nature when you’re surrounded by crowds of people talking, taking pictures and clogging up the parks. When you hike during the winter, you’re far more likely to have the trails to yourself.
Enjoy a New Perspective
As beautiful as green forests, rushing streams and lush tree-covered mountains are, winter brings a uniquely special kind of beauty. Places you think you know can look vastly different in the winter. And there’s just something special about seeing frozen waterfalls, icy cliff sides and fields of snow-covered, leafless trees in the wild.
Hike Without the Bugs
One of the most unpleasant parts of the great outdoors in the summer is the bugs. Some days, it seems like you can’t escape the gnats that buzz around your head, not to mention the insects and spiders you’re likely to encounter on the trail. But when you hike during the winter, you can enjoy your wilderness experience without the bugs.
Don’t Worry About the Heat
Hiking during the summer can be a challenge, especially on days when the humidity is high and the sun is beating down. It can be hard to appreciate and enjoy your hike when all you want to do is collapse from exhaustion and heat. During the winter, this isn’t a problem. You’ll have to bundle up to face the cold, and you should still stay hydrated, but you won’t have to worry about the heat anymore.
Try Some Other Fun Winter Activities
Winter hiking is one of the most fun and exciting activities you can do in the winter, but it isn’t the only one.
Winter rafting is another winter activity to try, especially if you already enjoy and have some experience with whitewater rafting. Ice skating is another adventure you can do either outdoors in a natural setting or indoors in an enclosed rink. Skiing is also an excellent winter sport to take up, although it requires a bit of experience to get the hang of it.
Let us know why you love winter hikes, and what your favorite winter activity is.
Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington