It may not be a flashy sport like skiing or snowboarding, but snowshoeing can take you to wonderful places where skis and snowmobiles can’t go. It’s also great exercise.
The quiet movement of snow beneath your feet is the soundtrack as you connect with nature along marked paths or into scenic public lands where wildlife is plentiful. Be aware of snow and avalanche conditions and cold weather challenges as you head out.
If you enjoy hiking then snowshoeing can be the winter sport for you. Here are six of the best snowshoeing spots to try.
A wilderness gem, Banff National Park is 2586 square miles of jaw-dropping spectacular scenery in the Canadian Rockies. Start easy on flat terrain with a walk around Lake Louise, the stunning clear lake formed from glaciers. Ascend up 1300 feet to the Lake Agnes Teahouse for a rest and the panoramic view of the lake and chateau nestled below.
Black Hills National Forest provides designated snowshoe areas that include 6000 explorable acres in Custer State Park. If you’re up for a real workout try the Centennial Trail, the 111-mile track that can sometimes be grueling but rewards with fabulous views passing seven lakes. You’re likely to spot free-roaming buffalo along the way. Jump on anywhere between the start at Bear Butte Lake and the southern finish at Wind Cave National Park.
It’s a different look at one of the most visited National Parks in America once the snow begins to fall. Snowshoe enthusiasts love trekking the 7-mile loop from Badger Pass to Dewey Point, ending directly across the valley from El Capitan. Gaze left to see Ribbon Falls, right to view Cathedral Point, and if you don’t suffer from vertigo, look down at the valley floor…3000 feet below.
Bonneville campgrounds close for the winter months and the snowshoeing here is more of an easy stroll over terrain that’s not much of a challenge even for the novice. What makes this a trek worth taking are the hot springs that remain open all year. Snowshoe out to the multiple hot water pools and the smaller private bathhouse designated for nude bathers. Submerge and savor the absolute quiet.
Between Abol Bridge and Monson, Maine’s Hundred Mile Wilderness is the wildest stretch along the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Mountain Club maintains many trails here including the 50+ miles on the Katahdin Iron Works property near Little Lyford. The club also does regular upkeep on two lodges that can provide cozy home bases for winter trekkers.
Mount Hood’s White River Trail is easily accessible from the White River West SnoPark heading toward an area known as “The Bowl” located in an old rock quarry that’s a popular sledding destination. Beyond the quarry the crowd thins out, leaving you alone with nature on great snowshoe terrain. This is a mellow walk with a view of the famous mountain straight ahead. Seasoned snowshoers might continue along Boy Scout Ridge, but that trail is a push uphill that gains 1800 feet in elevation.
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