Skills & Techniques

Five Winter Hiking Tips

Faith Overall - December 15, 2019

Winter is an awesome time to get outside and explore your local hiking trails. However, with this season comes some special considerations. Here are five Leave No Trace tips for enjoying your winter hiking adventures.

Pack Layers and Prepare for Extremes

To ensure you enjoy your trip, be prepared for whatever mother nature may throw your way. Even though the temperatures outside are cold, you may warm up quickly while cruising down the trail. Pack layers that you can easily remove if you get too warm, as well as those that are warm and waterproof for when you stop to enjoy the view or have a snack break.

Visit Popular Trails

With fewer people out braving the cold, winter is a great time to visit popular trails that would usually be swamped with people during the summer months. Not only will you lessen the impact on these areas by avoiding times of high use, but you may also get to enjoy a bit of solitude on an otherwise crowded trail.

Stick to Trails

Though deep snow (6 inches or deeper) is a durable surface, when it melts it can cause trails and vegetation to be especially susceptible to damage. If traveling on deep snow is not an option, be sure to stick to trails and walk in the middle of the trail even when wet, slushy, or icy to avoid erosion and damage to trailside plants.

Watch Critters from Afar

All wildlife from squirrels to elk have to work a lot harder to survive in the winter! Remember to always enjoy wildlife from a distance and never feed them no matter how hungry they may look.

Pack Out Your Pet Waste

No one loves hiking in the snow more than our furry companions. However, no one enjoys seeing dog waste, even bagged dog waste, littering the trails. The next snowstorm may temporarily hide that brown pile, but once the snow melts that waste will still be there. Be sure to always pick up after your pets and pack out all bagged dog waste to the nearest trash can.

You don’t have to be a snowsports enthusiast to enjoy the outdoors in winter. So get out there, enjoy your trails and Leave No Trace!

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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