Hiking during winter months can give you some of the most beautiful views of the entire year, however hiking in between December and April can be a drastic change for those who don’t know what to expect.
I’ve composed some do’s and don’ts for those who still want to explore in the cold. There is certaintly several tips on this list that I wish I would’ve read before heading to the Sierras.
1. Do find trails that are accessible
Most parks and recreation areas will close for a period of time during the winter months, taking away the only parking lot around. Consider looking up your route to ensure you can still find parking and have access to the trail head.
2. Don’t wear sneakers, ever.
Trust me wearing Nike’s is not your best option. Think of wet socks and cold feet. Brrrrrr.
Always wear boots to avoid snow and cold temperatures.
3. Do be prepared to have a little bit of a harder time
You’ll be tramping through the snow, which means more energy needed! Be prepared for your easy summer hikes to turn difficult.
4. Don’t continue on the trail if you see blood on the ground
(This has happened to me several times recently) Predators could be near and hungry.
5. Do take advantage of the beautiful landscape
Before you know it all the snow will be gone and the sun will be blazing again. Don’t miss out on feeling like an ice queen surrounded by a winter wonderland!
6. Don’t forget lots of layers
I make this mistake frequently. I’ll leave the house when the sun’s out, but forget how cold it can get on the mountainside. Think about ALL of the possible conditions you could experience (reasonably).
7. Do drink some fresh ‘spring’ water
If you find a running stream take advantage of some of the freshest water you’ll drink all year round!
8. Don’t get lost
Always easier said than done, getting lost during the winter is much more likely when you can’t see the ground and familiar landmarks. Pay attention.
9. Do keep an eye out for wildlife
Animals are starving during this time so don’t be surprised if you come across some fresh tracks. You should always prepare for wildlife when you’re outdoors but it’s a whole new level during winter months.
10. Don’t forget to be present. Nature time is healing time.
The more time I spend outside, the clearer my mind is. I try to take in each moment, especially when I’m outdoors because I always feel like I can be myself. I seem to laugh more and smile bigger when I’m out there.
Hope these tips will serve you in the future.