The 7 Best Winter Hikes

The 7 Best Winter Hikes

As Jon Snow would say, “winter is coming,” and for many, it’s the season they look forward to every year. From the snow to the warm sweaters to the endless cups of hot chocolate, it is a cozy time to be alive.

Unfortunately for us outdoor lovers, the winter season can make it tough for us to stay active and hike. The cold, the snow, the shorter days — there are so many things that keep us inside.

But fear not, because we have taken the time to compile a list of some of the BEST winter hikes across the states so that you can still get out and hike this season!

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Navajo Loop Trail

Moderate

Navajo Loop Trail is located in Bryce Canyon National Park, down in Southern Utah. This park is open all year ‘round and is constantly plowed after snow storms throughout the winter to keep it safe for visitors.

This park has so many different hikes that will are open for the winter season, but the Navajo Loop Trail is the most popular. Ranked at moderate for difficulty, it is 1.3 miles round trip, but if you decide you want to keep going, the Queens Garden Loop Trail is close by and adds an additional 1.8 mile to the hike.

If you drive your own car in you must pay a fee of $30 per private vehicle, or if you enter by foot it costs $15 if you are over 15. Read more on their parks website here!

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Lake 22

Easy

Lake 22, located in Granite Falls, Washington, is an extremely popular summer hike destination — however, it is equally as stunning in the winter! It is about 5.5 miles long and is rated at a beginner level so it is a relatively easy hike.

The hike is a combination of both boardwalk and trail with an elevation gain of 1,350 feet. The trail is known to be a bit slippery and wet so be sure to bring some waterproof gear and to walk the trail with caution!

Along the trail you can also see Three Fingers off in the distance, and there are also several waterfalls along the sides of the trail. You can read more about this stunning hike here!

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Boulder River Trail

Easy - Moderate

The Boulder River Trail, down in Washington state, turns into a stunning winter wonderland as snow begins to fall. It is rated as a moderate to easy hike because of its slow incline and easy wide trail.

There are two options when embarking on this hike: you can do the 4 mile hike or hike the entire 9 mile trail. The 4 mile in and out trail is the most popular and takes you by two stunning waterfalls — this is the perfect trail to take if you are looking for a nice winter stroll with friends or family.

The trail also has some history to it as it used to be an old railway line! For more information on this easy winter hike check out their website here.

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Cloudland Canyon

Difficult

Cloudland Canyon is a 6 mile hike located right near Atlanta, Georgia. It is gorgeous year ‘round but especially stunning during the frigid winter months! As the leaves fall from the trees, leaving them bare, they allow for more visibility of the scenic landscapes and the freezing temperatures cause icicles to form around the waterfalls.

This hike is rated difficult due to the varying landscape: begining on a paved road, but at the 0.6 mile mark, turning into an unpaved trail that descends into the canyon below.

At the one mile mark of the hike you will reach the absolutely breathtaking Cherokee Falls that makes this trail a favorite in Georgia. Read up on more details of the trail here!

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Yosemite National Park

Easy - Difficult

Yosemite National Park is located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It is a very popular summer destination that turns into a dreamy wonderland every year during the winter season.

As the park quiets down for the snowy season it is a perfect time of year to visit and enjoy Yosemite in a completely different way. From an enormous “snow cone” that piles up beneath the falls to guided winter snowshoeing, it is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Something unique about Yosemite is that during the winter, they offer guided winter snowshoe tours that are approximately 6-8 hours long and overnight trips! Click here for more information and to plan your trip today.

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Gothic Basin

Difficult

Gothic Basin, located in Granite Falls, Washington, definitely isn’t for the feint of heart, but is 100% worth the journey! This nine-mile round-trip hike is a must-do during the winter months.

Along the way you’ll be met with some of the most stunning landscape views — about five waterfalls and creek crossings, and at the end, a beautiful deep blue lake. (If the weather is cold enough the lake will freeze!)

This hike should be done before a major snowstorm, so be sure to pay attention to the weather when planning your trip. Learn more about the trail here!

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Whiteface Mountain

Difficult

Whiteface mountain trail, located in Wilmington, New York, is covered with lush green trees and in the winter — dusted with snow!

It features stunning views of Lake Placid and is rated as one of the best hikes in the area because it is the only hike in the Adirondacks with evidence of alpine glaciers!

This 9.3 mile loop is rated as difficult, but during the snowy winter months, the trail is far less busy, so the views will be even better. You can learn more about this hike here!

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Hiking in the winter definitely has its pros and cons. Yes it is a lot colder and you need to ensure you wear the proper layers, but winter hiking helps you avoid the busy summer crowd — and you get to experience nature in a completely different season! The key to winter hiking is to be well educated on where you are going and to make the proper preparations to have a safe but rad time.

Don’t let the winter blues get you down! Grab a sweater, get outside, and set off on a hike this winter season!