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Are you willing to give up outdoor life for months on end? The hell you are. The benefits of winter hiking far outweigh the risks of staying inside for months on end.
This winter, kick cabin fever in the face, drive depression into the dark, and work wonders on your well-being.
Get ready to reinvent your winter experience with these twelve life-changing benefits of winter hiking.
Benefits of Winter Hiking
See Fewer People
Far fewer people hike in winter. That means far less crowds, way more parking, and tons more solitude. (And the people you do meet? They’re literally cooler people.)
Burn More Calories
Winter hiking is a great way to maintain the strength and fitness you built up during the warm months, and to keep your winter weight gain under control. Skip the gym for a day. Get into nature — which has a whole slew of its own benefits, like…
Improve Your Winter Mental Health
If you suffer from S.A.D., or just feel generally crummy while our days are so short, you’ll get such a boost from hours of direct sunlight. Movement and sunshine do wonders for the body, the soul, and the mind.
Enjoy Incredible Scenery
The trail is so different when the ice and snow hits. On a winter hike, you’ll see scenes like this…
And you’ll also…
See Winter-Only Views
Some views only open up in winter when the leaves are off the trees. One of the greatest benefits of winter hiking is that the number of peekaboo views and fresh angles on beloved scenes goes through the roof.
Learn the Thousand Forms of Ice
Frozen water has so many forms, you don’t even know. Icicles are just the beginning.
Give Your Knees a Break
When the trail is covered in ice and snow, all those lump rocks are covered too — which means much less foot-pounding and ankle twisting. (Just make sure you have excellent traction.)
Give Your Ears a Treat
You don’t know the meaning of quiet until you’ve heard the quiet of a mountain after snowfall. It’s as close to absolute silence as you can get outside of a lab.
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Revel in Zero Bug Nature
Spot Animal Tracks
From squirrels to weasels to bobcats to deer to coyotes to bears, it’s so much easier to spot animal tracks in the winter. You’ll be blown away when you see your first coyote, bobcat or bear print.
- Learn how to identify coyote and bobcat prints — key differences explained
Alter Your Perception of Winter
Winter is now my favorite season. I used to hate winter but it’s true: there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. Having the right gear means you can actually LOVE winter.
Rise to The Challenge
There’s no question that winter hiking is more challenging — and if you think that’s a benefit, you’re right!
Read More: Tips for Winter Hiking
Grab this free downloadable and printable Essential Winter Gear Checklist.
Ready to get out there this winter? If you’re keen to rise to the challenge, read 27 Unbeatable Tips for Cold Winter Hikes and enjoy an amazing winter hike.
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