Some people bunker down and hibernate during the winter months. They grab their favorite fuzzy blanket, make a fire, and start a book they’ve been wanting to read. And while we all love a cozy day in, we also love playing in the snow. If you’re not a ski bum but still want to explore all that winter has to offer, then snowshoeing is your new best friend! Seriously, so many people overlook snowshoeing, but if you love hiking in to alpine lakes in the summer, just imagine that lake covered in a sheet of crystal clear ice and snow covering the fir trees; did that convince you? If not, here are a few more reasons, along with some tips, on why snowshoeing is our new favorite winter pastime.
Anyone Can Do It
What exactly is snowshoeing anyway? Snowshoeing is just hiking in the snow, so anyone who can go on a hike can go snowshoeing. Although, it does take a little getting used to, and a little more hip strength, but once you get the hang of it you can go for miles. If you’re concerned about getting lost, worry not! Most snowshoe/cross-country ski trails are marked with blue diamonds and are usually well-groomed so explorers won’t stray from the trail.
It’s “Off Season”
Summer adventures always bring the crowds, but winter is the time to explore without worrying about finding a parking spot and finding that sense of solitude you’ve been craving. With most of these places now only accessible by snowshoe or cross-country skis, the amount of travelers goes down significantly. The once favorite lake to swim in is now covered in ice, and if it is thick enough, you can spend the afternoon walking across the frozen lake and enjoy having the place to yourselves. Maybe even hike to a waterfall and take all the photos you want without worrying about other people wanting to get the same exact shot. Plus seeing a waterfall frozen solid is one epic sight!
It’s A Whole New Perspective
A fresh blanket of snow completely changes the look of our favorite summer hiking spots, in a good way! Seeing a waterfall with snow all around the base and the water so frigid it’s icy blue is amazing to see, especially when you had swam in the same pool only a few short months before. Our favorite summer hikes have turned into our favorite winter snowshoe hikes, and we love watching our favorite places change with the different seasons.
Now that we’ve got you hooked on snowshoeing, here are some tips to make your trip go as smooth as possible.
It’s cold out there! But, if you plan on going on a longer snowshoe hike, be sure to wear layers as you will start to get hot during your hike and will be able to shed layers as you go. Whenever I’m layering up, I opt for a light long-sleeved shirt as my first layer to help the sweat dry faster and then a polyester or wool shirt as my second layer. As for the third layer, be sure to use an insulated puffer jacket, just like North Face’s Premonition Down Jacket, to trap in the heat. Top it all off with a waterproof breathable jacket to keep you dry throughout your long snowy hike and you’re ready to go. Don’t forget to grab one of our Parks Official Beanie to keep your head nice n’ toasty throughout the hike!
Bring A Map
Always bring a map with you or have an offline one saved to your phone, even if you’ve done the trail before. Google Maps offers an option to download maps based on location to your phone just in case you lose service on the trail. The snow can be deceiving and may lead you in the wrong direction! If you’re on a designated snowshoe/cross-country ski trail, always follow the blue diamonds that are nailed to the trees.
Wear The Right Shoes
Make sure you try on your snowshoes with the shoes you plan on wearing during your hike. If you’re renting your snowshoes (most local sport shops have them for rent) ask them if they think your shoes will work for snowshoeing. The worst thing is starting your hike and your snowshoes either a) keep falling out of the snowshoe bindings or b) don’t keep your feet warm and dry. Waterproof insulated boots are the best shoes to wear while snowshoeing!
Pack Your Snacks
Snowshoeing will definitely make you work up an appetite! Bring your favorite trail mix bars, dried fruit, or whatever fits in your bag. Always bring water or a water filtration system. And, if you’re really wanting to enjoy the winter weather, bring your pocket rocket stove, your favorite tin mug, and some hot cocoa mix! Enjoying some steaming hot cocoa after a long snowshoe in to your favorite spot is always a delicious reward.
Know Your Limit
If you’re just starting out snowshoeing, go on a short hike first to see what you are able to handle. Snowshoeing can be tough on your hips and legs as you have to push through the snow, so getting used to how it feels is necessary before you start going on long hikes. Plan out your trip and keep track of the distance you’ve traveled. If you need to take a break, take a few minutes to catch your breath! Always monitor your energy level and turn around if you need to.
If you’re looking for a fun way to get out of the house and have fun in the snow, then take our word for it and try snowshoeing! You’ll be able to see places you never thought you could in the winter, or see some of your favorite places in a whole new perspective. Tell us your favorite snowshoe hikes below and tag us in your favorite snowshoe adventures!