Tips for Winter Hiking

Written by

Do you pack your hiking boots away after the first snowflake falls? If so, pull them back out. Winter is a great time to hit the trail for more reason than one: not only are the crowds gone, but many parks show off their true beauty after a fresh snowfall. Zip up your jacket, grab the right snacks, and head to the nearest trailhead.

More: Winter Vacation Ideas: 8 National Parks to Visit

Wear Layers

Though it feels frigid at the trailhead, your body starts to generate heat after just 10 to 15 minutes of walking, especially if you've chosen a strenuous trail.

Still, layering is important to staying warm and maintaining a consistent temperature on the hike and at the top of the mountain, where it may be even colder than at the trailhead. When you layer, remember:

  • A base layer wicks moisture off your body
  • A fleece jacket is next—this is necessary for insulation and warmth
  • A shell helps to keep you dry and stops the wind from penetrating your core

Layers or no layers, always remember to avoid cotton. Once wet, cotton no longer insulates you from the cold. Moreover, it wicks heat away from your body and puts you at risk for hypothermia.

Other important winter hiking apparel includes:

  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Extra Socks
  • Scarf

More: Arches National Park: Your Winter Vacation Spot