Warm up with a wintertime hike! Winter is actually a perfect and special time to get outdoors, explore, and work up a sweat. You don’t have to wait for summer temps to put on your hiking shoes. The strength and fitness you built up over the warmer months can be maintained all winter long with easy to moderate winter hikes. On the right trail and with the right layered gear you can stay warm and dry and experience an adventure!
3 Benefits to Winter Hikes
Benefit #1: The boost you get from hours of direct sunlight on a winter hike will stave off those dreaded winter blues. Let’s face it, the shorter days and longer nights that come with the winter months can affect our moods, but the vitamin D we gain from direct sunlight can instantly help to reverse these blue moods.
Benefit #2: No pests buzzing you while you’re on the trails. There are less insects out and about during the colder months.
Benefit #3: Snowy views are one-of-a-kind opportunities! If you are lucky enough to hike after a snowfall you won’t be disappointed. When all of the leaves are off the trees and the skies are clear blue, you will see vistas that stretch farther than you can imagine. Only those who take on the challenge of a winter hike are rewarded with these expansive scenes.
3 Important Tips for your Winter Hike
- Know what time sunset is going to be on the day you plan to hike. Plan to finish your hike early in the daylight. Pay attention to the time during your hike, and set alarms every thirty minutes or so to keep you on track and alert.
- Bring a friend or several friends with you. The buddy system is fun and wise on winter hikes. Also, letting someone know about your hiking plans before you head out is advisable.
- Check the forecasts multiple times before you leave for your winter hike, this is key. Be sure to watch the reported “wind chills” and cancel your plans if the forecast calls for harsh winter weather activity.
Although many trailheads near the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the western NC area are closed during the winter season, there are still some moderate and easy paths you ought to hike this winter! Keep in mind some parks and trails might be closed on holidays or in severe weather conditions. Check here for updates on the Parkway closures!
Listed From Easy to Lightly Moderate, Try a Winter Hike
Boone Greenway – Just under 3 mile drive from downtown Boone, NC
The Greenway is the perfect path for all ages and hiking levels. It stretches through Boone. Pets with leashes are welcome on this trail. Portions of the trail are paved. Amenity features include free parking, water fountains, picnic tables, and restroom facilities! Check out this 1.2-mile loop and plan to spend an hour less on the path.
Moses Cone Park Trail – Just under 10 mile drive from downtown Boone, NC
The Moses Cone Park offers up 25 miles of gently sloping easy to moderate hiking trails. In winter months, it’s a great place for cross country skiing and snowshoe hikes. The amount of time you can spend exploring varies on these trails. Leashed pets are welcome to visit too.
Elk Knob State Park Summit Trail – Just over 10 mile drive from downtown Boone, NC
Elk Knob State Park has one of the highest peaks in North Carolina’s high country and offers four separate trails, each with beautiful views. Catch panoramic vista views of Grandfather Mountain and more! Many allot roughly 2 to 3 hours when hiking these 3+ miles of trail paths. This is a very popular area for hiking, snowshoeing, and exercising. Leashed pets are welcome in this area.
Stay Warm and Cozy After your Winter Hike
Returning to a comfy vacation rental is just what you’ll want to do after your winter hike. White Fence Farm Rentals offers three unique home away from home feels. Two of the rentals are situated right in the heart of downtown Boone, North Carolina on King Street, just a few miles away from the recommended hiking trails. Check out The Downtown Boone House and The Appalachian House for your winter hiking retreat. Bring a group of friends and book both spots; you could easily sleep about 8 people between the two vacation rentals. Make winter hiking a part of your wellness plan this winter, and head into the next year feeling clearer and stronger after conquering cold weather trails.
TO BOOK YOUR COMFY WINTER STAY!
Rewarded for your Winter Hike…
Treat yourself to a few comforting treats after you’ve completed a winter hike. Yes, the views and the health benefits are reward enough, but you’re on vacay and it’s time to indulge a little. Try one or all of these local treats. Pro Tip: pick these treats up on your way home from the hike, and savor them after a hot shower.
Hatchet Coffee Porter from Booneshine Brewing Co.
Fresh-made Glazed Yeast Donuts from Local Lion
And last but not least…a bottle of red wine + fine chocolate from Venture Chocolate & Wine Co.
Written by Andrea Morton, Creative Blogging + Marketing Strategies