5 Best Winter Hikes in the US

Celebrate National Take a Hike Day

November 17th is National Take a Hike Day! And while the weather has cooled down significantly and it’s outside what some may consider “peak hiking season,” winter hiking is a unique and fun way to get out and enjoy nature. One of the biggest benefits to winter hiking is the lack of crowds, as well as getting outside and curing your cabin fever. Here are some of the best winter hikes we’d recommend getting out and trying this season!

5. Mirror Lake Trail at Yosemite National Park

There are many reasons to visit Yosemite National Park year-round, but the Mirror Lake Trail is especially beautiful to explore during the winter months. The hike takes you alongside the Tenaya Creek with many footbridges to cross. Mirror Lake Trail takes you from lake to meadow in an easy five mile loop. It stays open all year except in cases of very heavy snowfall.

4. Sand Bench Trail at Zion National Park

Zion National Park is located in the southwest area of Utah and is defined by the steep red cliffs of the Zion Canyon. During the summer months, horses cross the Sand Bench Trail. But during the winter, this trail offers a quiet and tranquil escape for hikers. This easy 3.5 mile trail will take you up 500 feet to overlook the Court of Patriarchs. The trail is sandy, making it a bit of a slower hike. But that just gives you more time to take in your surroundings.

3. Rowdy Bend Trail at Everglades National Park

Just because this is a list of winter hiking trails, doesn’t mean there needs to be snow on the ground! Everglades National Park is located in Southern Florida, where visitors enjoy a dry season and no humidity when visiting December through April. Bird watchers will love hiking along the Rowdy Bend Trail featuring coastal prairie land and shady buttonwoods. This trail is as easy or difficult as you want to make it, with a 5.2 mile loop, or a 12.6 mile look when combined with the Snake Bight Trail.

2. Cadillac North Ridge Trail at Acadia National Park

There’s nothing like a winter in Maine, which is why we think doing a winter hike at Acadia National Park is something you should experience at least once! If you hike Cadillac North Ridge Trail, you’ll have the special privilege of being the first to see the sunrise in the United States. You’re also likely to come across snowy owls, which look all the more stunning against the backdrop of a blue ocean and snow covered mountains. This isn’t the easiest trail, but at 4.4 miles, it’s very doable if you just take your time and enjoy.

1. 49 Palms Oasis Trail at Joshua Tree National Park

And finally, number one on our list of best winter hikes is the 49 Palms Oasis Trail. This moderate, three mile hike is a must-do when visiting Joshua Tree National Park in California. And when you visit in the winter, you’ll find much cooler temperatures than if you chose to visit during the scorching summer months. While hiking, you’ll see barrel cacti and brittlebrush before descending down a rocky canyon to find a palm-tree shaded oasis with a trickling spring and clear pools.

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