When Does Hiking Season End?

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Hiking trail, Wittenberg, Catskills

Hiking trail, heading up Wittenberg

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Look, I don’t want to be rude but seriously?

When does hiking season end? Hiking season never ends.

Columbus Day? — No.

Halloween? — No.

Thanksgiving? — No.

Christmas? — No.

New Year’s Day? — Definitely not. I did the best hike in the Catskills on January 1st!

We never stop!

Fall, Shoulder, Winter, Shoulder

Fall brings some of the very best hiking weather: Catskills Fall Foliage is amazing!

autumnal trail
Spruceton trail

With the leaves off the trees, many hidden views open up. We get cooler temperatures. Moodier cloudscapes. Later sunrises for amazing sunrise hikes.

Plus, it’s mushroom season.

Before the really cold weather comes, we have a shoulder season — late October, November, into December — until the bitter snow arrives.

But even then, somehow winter brings even better hiking weather…

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Winter Hikes Made Me a Winter-Lover

Amazing bluebird days. Frozen lakes, white peaks and white hollows. And the air — crisp and clean and clear. Ravens cawing in the cloudless sky. It’s unbelievable.

In the mountains, there’s just so much beauty, so much real life winter wonderland to wander through.

snow-covered trees on hiking trail
Serious winter wonderland on the trail to Balsam Lake

Winter is now my favorite season to hike.

Bonus Benefits: we all suffer in the winter from not getting out enough, not exercising enough, not seeing friends enough. During the year’s darkest, hardest days, a winter hike with friends is a brilliant way to boost your mood, your energy, and your life.

Winter Hiking Gear: hat, gloves, ice axe
Hat, Ice Axe, Mitts

Bad Clothes

There’s no such thing as bad weather—only bad clothes

That’s what the Scandinavians say. They like their kids to be outside as much as possible, and being outside does not stop for snow.

In America, we’ve caught up. We know about base layers, liner socks, smart wool, gaiters, mid-layers, soft-shells and hard-shells. We’ve got great buffs, hats, gloves and mittens. Hand warmers and balaclavas. All set.

Our winter gear is also top notch. Microspikes, 12-point crampons, snowshoes, ice axes.

Modern winter hikers have most of this gear, if not all of it, in their winter arsenals.

Check out this comprehensive Winter Hiking Kit List and learn how to stay warm and safe.

Fall and winter are also a great times to pick up solid hiking gear deals.

Grab the Winter Day-Hike Checklist — a handy printable PDF download with everything you need listed in one place.

With research and planning, you can extend your hiking right through the fourth — and greatest — hiking season.

When does hiking season end? Hiking never ends…

Weather Concerns

Mountain weather is unpredictable 365 days a year. Here’s some knowledge to help you prepare for constant change…

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