Winter isn’t the first season that comes to mind when you think about hiking. However pristine, snow-covered landscapes are prime for those of us who can’t quite put our hiking boots away.

1) The Lack of Crowds

If you’re the kind of hiker that doesn’t like crowded trails, consider utilizing the power of winter to hit up the more popular areas. Cold and fluffy white stuff often keeps many sun-worshipers at bay, so you can enjoy the trail without the crowds of people. Just be sure to check weather and avalanche conditions before heading out. Due to avalanche danger, some trails are just better hiked without the white stuff.

Winter hiking is the best

2) Test Your Navigation Skills

Snowy winter trails grow their own personalities over winter. Since the dirt path is often buried in snow, people improvise, often resulting in a confusing series of footprints. After a fresh snowfall, there may not be a trail. This is a great time to flex your navigation prowess. Bring your map, compass, and GPS to stay on track.

3) Great Weather Days are Fantastic Weather Days

Wintery conditions often bring wind and freezing temperatures. On the rare occasion, the wind dies, the sun is shining, the temperature isn’t too cold feel like a godsend. Getting on these bluebird days bring a joy to those cherry-red cheeks. Go ahead, get outside and bask in winter’s fantastic glory.

4) It’s All About the Alpen Glow

Picture-perfect sunrises are a coveted event in the high alpine year-round. Peaks frosted in white and snow-drenched pines add to the drama, reflecting the pink glow of the sky right off the ground. Enjoy the winter magic with an alpine sunrise.Alpen Glow in the Rocky Mountains

5) The Quiet Storm

Snow dampens sound, transforming the trails into an isolated winter wonderland. The deafening sound of falling snow creates an eerie calm that only winter can provide. Even an otherwise dull trail gets a facelift in the falling snow.

6) Fast Descents

It’s often said that the downhill is where the hurt is. The uphill gets that heart rate up, but the downhill wears on your joints and causes pains in parts of your body you didn’t even know you had. The snow provides a bit of relief from that downhill grind. Glissading or skiing the downhill gives an added adrenaline rush that summer just can’t deliver. Always make sure you have the proper safety gear and training before attempting to glissade or ski.

7) Winter Brings the Drama

That fresh layer of snow brings a drama to the landscape. Snow-streaked peaks make dramatic cliffs pop while a wide-open valley blanketed in snow begs to be jumped in. Familiar trails transform into a whole new winter wonderland, begging to be explored.

8) That Goggle Tan

Nothing says, “I had a blast this weekend” quite like coming into the office on Monday sporting a goggle tan. Rosy cheeks contrasted with white lines around your peepers send the message that you, in fact, are a snow lover. Don’t wear goggles when you hike? Don’t worry, a snazzy pair of shades have the same effect in winter. Remember, the sun reflects off the snow, so be sure to hit under your nose and neck with sunscreen. You want to rock the tan, not the blistering sunburn.

9) Lakes Look Better Frozen

Lakes are the highlight of many hikes, but seeing them frozen in time is something truly special. Seeing the veins of white criss-cross their way across a newly frozen lake is truly mesmerizing. Although it’s never recommended to walk on a frozen lake, let’s face it: sometimes it’s simply irresistible.

Winter Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park

10) Dogs Love the Snow

We all love to get outdoors with our furry friends. The magic of winter gets our pups excited to play outside as well. A little bit of play time in the snow with your four-legged best friend is a guaranteed way to have a few laughs and bring a smile to your face.

Don’t just take my word for it, get outside this winter and discover why hiking in winter is fantastic for you.