6 Best Winter Hikes Opportunities That Amaze

Scenic Winter Hikes That Are Also Dog Friendly

Hike Year Round

Are you looking for the best winter hike in California? Or the best winter hikes in Yosemite? Or best winter hikes in Arizona? Or are you open to the entire U.S. best winter hikes? There are plenty of scenic trails to choose from that aren’t limited to the western U.S. Whether time allows for a day trip or a full vacation, here are some destinations to help beat cabin fever.

If you get the itch for a scenic hike during the winter months, never fear – there are plenty of scenic trails to choose from. Whether time allows for a day trip or a full vacation, here are some destinations to help beat cabin fever.

Credit Ken Lund

Yosemite National Park Valley Loop Trail, California

One of the best winter hikes in California, Yosemite National Park offers several trails throughout the park, but the Valley Loop Trail is the best winter hike in Yosemite. This 5.8 mile long, level trail takes you along the Merced River, through meadows, and under El Capitan. While the trail itself is easy, snowfall can make it a bit challenging. Be prepared with snow grips and hiking poles, just in case. There is plenty more to enjoy in Yosemite during the winter, just check for road closures ahead of your visit.

Dog friendly hike.

Rim Trail, Arizona

Have you ever done a hike in Arizona? You might consider the Grand Canyon as a winter hike in Arizona. However, it’s closed due to snow and weather. But, you can still enjoy its majesty while avoiding huge crowds on the Rim Trail. It takes you along the edge of the Grand Canyon, offering 13 miles of spectacular views.

While the trail is long, it is flat, making it suitable for the entire family. Just make sure to get an early start if you plan on hiking the entire trail. Also, check shuttle schedules if you want to hitch a ride back. These are just some reasons why this is one of the best winter hikes in Arizona.

Dog friendly hike.

Grand canyon winter hike
hiking trails
Credit Sean Munson

Franklin Falls, Washington

The best winter hikes in Washington includes Franklin Falls in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Park.. It does require some planning, as the road accessing the trailhead is closed during the winter. All the same, the walk in and along the trail is flat and great for snowshoeing if necessary. Including the hike into the trailhead, expect a six-mile trek to and from the falls. To be on the safe side, check conditions ahead of time, as avalanches do happen in the area.

Dog friendly hike.

Garden of the Gods, Colorado

The crown jewel of Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods has several trails for all seasons. The trails are easy and good for the entire family, weaving through the unique rock formations and taking you to awesome viewpoints. Every December there is a guided winter solstice hike, which takes place on the night of the solstice. Hosted by the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society, you’ll learn about winter solstice and the winter night sky. Reserve your spot ahead of time, as this event is popular and only happens on the solstice.

Dog friendly hike.

Credit James St. John
Credit Gila National Forrest

Gila National Park, New Mexico

If you would rather avoid winter snow, Gila National Forest is a great destination. The low-lying day trails rarely see snow, and there are varying degrees of difficulty to choose from. The family can go for an easy walk along the river, or more seasoned hikers can trek through the canyons. The Gila Cliff Dwellings and hot springs make for fun destinations, but make sure they are open ahead of time. Make the most of your time in this visually stunning area by renting a nearby cabin.

Dog friendly hike.

Hanging Rock State Park, North Carolina

Situated in the Sauratown Mountains, Hanging Rock State Park is the perfect destination for a day trip. Thanks to the region’s mild climate, you don’t have to worry much about ice or snow to navigate. The out-and-back trail to Hanging Rock is 2.6 miles total, and moderate in difficulty because of a few steep inclines. The view at the end of the trail is worth the extra work, as are the viewpoints along the way. Once you reach Hanging Rock, stay for a spell to take in the panorama of the valley below.

Dog friendly hike.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to hike in the winter?

Yes, it is ok to hike in the winter. Trails may be shortened or closed altogether, but hiking during winter is quite fun. It does require more preparation and safety measures where weather is colder. Avoid trails or situations where you could lose your way.

What temperature is too cold for hiking?

The temperature that is too cold for hiking depends on you, your knowledge, your provision, and your gear. For those that are experienced hikers with low temperature gear that question is individual. However, if you’re an average lay hiker, always take into account the weather in the area you’re interested in hiking in.

But, a better question could be, which trails are open in this temperature and weather? Rangers do a great job of keeping trails open when they. are safe, and closed when they are not. Make sure to wear temperature appropriate clothing.

Always be prepared for the unexpected.

Always air on the side of caution, simple situations can turn deadly.

What is snow hiking called?

Snow hiking is called snow shoeing.

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