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HomeOutdoorsCampingWant to Get Outdoors This Winter? Check Out These Unique Snowshoe Adventures

Want to Get Outdoors This Winter? Check Out These Unique Snowshoe Adventures

If you are seeking a new way to adventure this winter, snowshoeing is the perfect sport. Like hiking, it provides a very accessible way to explore the wilderness in some of our country’s most beautiful parks. It offers great mental and physical benefits, and is a low-impact way to improve your cardiovascular health. If you are new to the sport or are looking for inspiration to expand your trail portfolio, here are five great trails to explore this winter. 

Yosemite National Park, California 

Yosemite is open year-round and visiting in the winter can be even more fun than summer—fewer crowds plus snowy views. There are many incredible snowshoeing opportunities in the park, from touring the giant sequoias in the Mariposa Grove, to the old logging roads of the Crane Flat area that overlook the Merced River. However, there is no better option than snowshoeing to Dewey Point via Glacier Point Road. This hike rewards you with one of the most spectacular views of Yosemite from the valley rim. 

This trail is moderate, demanding 7.4 miles and nearly 900 feet of elevation gain. Be sure to come prepared with extra food, water, and proper layers. There is an entry fee of $35 per vehicle to get into the park, and during February an additional ticket is needed for entry. Before you go, be sure to check current road conditions and weather. It is not unusual for chains to be required during the winter months. If you need to rent snowshoes, you can do so in the park at the Badger Pass Nordic Center. Adult snowshoe rentals are $28.50 for the day. 

Ashcroft, Colorado 

What is a more unique experience than snowshoeing through a 140-year-old ghost town? Near Aspen, Ashcroft has become a popular destination for snowshoers and cross-country skiers because it features a serene opportunity to peek through the abandoned buildings and artifacts while enjoying Colorado’s stunning backcountry. 

The town was developed in the 1880s during the state’s silver rush but fizzled by 1893 when the silver market crashed. In the 1930s, there were plans to transform the area into a ski town but this plan also fizzled. Now, the area is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and offers travelers a great winter opportunity to dive into history plus around 600 acres of surrounding wilderness to explore. 

Though Ashcroft is remote enough to not have cell service, winter visitors can enjoy a full-service restaurant, several warming huts (stocked with warm beverages and water), and a Nordic center to grab rentals, lessons, tours, and horse-drawn carriage rides. Reservations are required for lunches and dinners at Pine Creek Cookhouse, and for snowshoe tours. 

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Image by Bonnie Kittle

Even if you’ve visited Bryce Canyon in the summer, it is definitely worth visiting in the winter.  The towering red formations of the park covered in a blanket of snow is a spectacular site. Snowshoeing is a great way to enjoy Bryce Canyon during the winter. All trails can be enjoyed via snowshoe—in fact, during the winter, hikers should always bring some sort of traction as trails get icy and difficult to maneuver. Popular trails include the Rim Trail, Bristlecone Loop, Fairyland Road, and Paria Road. 

A ranger-led snowshoe hike is a nice way to explore and learn during the winter. These are free and available for all levels of snowshoers and typically cover about a mile over a two hour time period. Participants on these tours are allowed to rent snowshoes and trekking poles for free. These hikes require reservations, so be sure to keep an eye on the public calendar to book the experience. 

Entry into Bryce Canyon is $35 per vehicle. More information about visiting Bryce Canyon in the winter can be found on the NPS website

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin 

One of the most unique and adventurous trails for snowshoers in Wisconsin is the Lakeshore Trail. This trail tours over 4 miles of bluffs above Lake Superior’s shoreline to the famous sea cave overlook. Mark Peterson, board member of the Friends of the Apostle Islands, reported that “snowshoeing this trail in the winter is a remarkable experience.” With a tour of beautiful cedar and hardwood forests that pause to reveal views of the ice-covered lake and shoreline caves, it is an unforgettable adventure. 

The trail can be accessed just north of Cornucopia at the Meyers Beach parking lot off of Highway 13. The Lakeshore Trail itself continues through the campground (an almost 11-mile journey round-trip), but hikers who only want to see the sea caves will only need to snowshoe about four miles from Meyers Beach and back. Because of the rugged environment, this is recommended for strong intermediate or advanced snowshoers only. Leashed pets are allowed. If you need to rent snowshoes, head to either Howl Adventure Center or Sweet Sailing in downtown Bayfield––about 20 minutes from the trailhead. 

As always, be sure to check local conditions before you head out. After heavy storms, this trail may be too difficult to attempt.  

Colchester Causeway, Vermont

Image by Ali Kazal

An old railroad track makes for a stunning snowshoe experience near Lake Champlain. Here, the views are wide open and seemingly endless—spanning from the Adirondack Mountains to the Green Mountains. Not to mention the fact that the trail intersects the lake, giving you an up-close experience. It should be noted, however, that this trail gets very, very windy. Be sure to bundle up with a face mask, beanie, tough outer shell, and gloves, in addition to your normal winter gear. 
The Colchester Causeway trail is great for beginners and leashed pets. While the entire trail is around 10 miles long (out to South Hero Island and back), you can make it shorter to suit the type of adventure you’d like to have. Snowshoers start at Airport Park and walk briefly through Causeway Park before the trail opens up to sweeping views. There are no fees to park or access the causeway. To rent snowshoes nearby, head to Alpine Shop in nearby Burlington (about 18 minutes south).

The post Want to Get Outdoors This Winter? Check Out These Unique Snowshoe Adventures appeared first on Outdoors with Bear Grylls.

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