Outdoor

One of the best winter hikes in nationwide parks

If you try hiking in Yosemite Valley in the summer months, you will encounter hundreds of visitors. But go to winter and you will have a lot Room to breathe. Winter in national parks means peace, solitude and plenty of hiking trails that are still good for hiking. Be sure to check the conditions and bring the right gear, whether it’s microspikes for your shoes or antifreeze water bottles. We asked Hannah Singleton, a seasoned Arizona Wildland Trekking guide who runs guided hikes in many of our country’s national parks, about her favorite winter hikes in national parks.

Taylor Creek Trail, Zion National Park, Utah

(Photo: Courtesy Wildland Trekking)

The five-mile Taylor Creek Trail begins in the less-visited Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park. “This hike is a fantastic winter option as it includes over 30 crossings over Taylor Creek, which is frozen and easier to cross in winter,” says Singleton, who suggests bringing microspikes so your shoes can grip the ice. “As soon as you step onto the finger of Kolob Canyon, the towering sandstone walls rise above you as you wander through the lush shoreline.” Kolob Canyons is the western end of Zion and is accessible via the lesser-used Exit 40 of Interstate 15. So you see far less traffic than in the main park.

Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch Loop, Death Valley, California

Death Valley Winter Hike_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy Wildland Trekking)

Connect the Golden Canyon to the Gower Gulch Loop, starting at the Golden Valley trailhead in Death Valley, for a four mile loop. The temperatures from November to February are between 40 and 77 degrees and are therefore ideal for hiking weather. You can pin additional sections for a total of approximately eight miles. “I love this trail because it has a bit of everything,” says Singleton. “Slit canyons, colorful, mineral-deposited rocks, a little bit of climbing and expansive views of the wasteland. Due to the lack of shade, it is a perfect winter destination which makes it very undesirable in summer. ”

Lone Star Geyser, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

art(Photo: Courtesy Wildland Trekking)

The Lone Star Geyser in Yellowstone erupts up to 45 feet approximately every three hours. To see it in winter, when temperatures range from below freezing to the low 30s, cross a groomed, snow-covered path along the steaming Firehole River – best on cross-country skis or snowshoes – about eight kilometers long. Excursion. “This is one of my favorite geysers in the park all year round, but a layer of fresh snow makes this hike spectacular,” says Singleton. “Bring a thermos of coffee or hot chocolate in case you have to wait for the geyser to erupt. Game viewing is incredibly common: bison and elk often hang around because of the warm soil. “

Yosemite Valley Loop, Yosemite National Park, California

Hinterland travel(Photo: Courtesy Wildland Trekking)

Much of Yosemite is covered in snow at this time of year, but the Yosemite Valley Loop remains relatively dry in winter, with temperatures between the high 20s and low 50s. “This 11.5-mile loop is one of the most underrated trails in the park,” says Singleton. “They connect all the important places in the valley with sections of individual forest and river walks. Most of these trails are old wagon roads, so they are relatively flat and pleasant. My favorite section is from Camp 4 to El Capitan Meadow: You pass numerous beaches along the river and end with a fantastic view of the legendary monolith. “

Alum Cave Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Landscapes and plants in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from the Alum Cave Trailhead to Mount Le Conte(Photo: Yuan Yue / iStock)

Hike amid mature trees on your way to an 80-foot-high concave escarpment. It’s about a five-mile loop trail to Alum Cave Bluffs, a narrow tunnel under an arch that leads to Peregrine Peak, or ten miles if you continue to climb 6,393-foot Mount LeConte. “In winter, icicles dangle from the overhang of Alum Cave Bluff – don’t stand under them,” says Singleton. “This trail also takes you to the top of Mount LeConte, where you get a panoramic view of the entire park. This is one of the most popular hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which averages 40 degrees in winter. So don’t expect to be alone. “Since Newfound Gap Road, where the trailhead is located, occasionally closes in snow, Singleton also recommends Mount Cammerer as a good alternative at low altitude.

Edge to edge to edge, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon Winter Hike_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy Wildland Trekking)

Looking for a winter backpacking trip? Going edge to edge in the Grand Canyon, a stretch of more than 40 miles, is a multi-day hike that must be done. (Wildland Trekking offers a guided five-day version of this winter trip starting at $ 1,395.) For a day hike, consider the South Kaibab Trail. While it’s often covered in hard snow and ice, “you’ll experience three different winter environments: the dusting of snow along the south rim, the dry desert canyon floor, and the snow-capped north rim,” says Singleton. “Ribbon Falls, a sacred site of the Zuni, is an incredible green oasis in the Red Sea.”

Thunder Creek, North Cascades National Park, Washington

Thunder Creek Winter Hike_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy Wildland Trekking)

The round trip to the Thunder Creek Trail is a total of 12 miles and climbs to around 4,900 feet. However, you can always turn around if you want a shorter ride. It is especially nice in the colder months when the temperatures are between eight and 30 degrees. “Winter is a great time to hike the North Cascades because although heavy rain falls on the area, the trees stay green and the undergrowth thrives,” says Singleton. “The path meanders through an old Douglas fir and cedar forest. Thunder Creek’s turbid turquoise water gets its color from glacier powder, the result of modern glaciers that grind bedrock into a fine powder. ”

Cohab Canyon and Cassidy Arch across the Pan, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Cassidy Arch - Capital Reef National Park, Utah(Photo: RobertWaltman / iStock)

Joining Cohab Canyon and Cassidy Arch on the Frying Pan Trail in the Fruita, Utah, Capitol Reef area is a point-to-point route. So you can take two cars or a round trip about ten miles long. “You will see all of the geological features that represent Capitol Reef National Park: the white domes of Navajo sandstone, the eroding castles of the Moenkopi Formation, and the sheer red walls of Wingate sandstone. According to legend, Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch used the Grand Wash to traverse this region. This trail has very little snow and mild temperatures averaging 30 degrees, making it accessible all year round. “

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