How to Winter Hike: The Essential Roundup

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Hiker standing in snow on mountain ridge

Well-prepared winter hiker.

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If you’ve never hiked in winter, this is a great page to get started on your winter hiking journey.

Whether you need basic winter hiking knowledge, winter hiking tips, winter hike gear lists, or general winter safety information, this post has it all.

Learn how to gear up and dial in your winter hiking system over time so every hike is better, safer and more enjoyable than the last.

Wondering, “How do I start winter hiking?” You’re definitely in the right place. Save this page and read on.

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Winter Hike Knowledge

12 Life-Changing Benefits of Winter Hiking

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.

Trail Terms: Winter Lingo

Once the cold weather sets in, you’ll start to see and hear these winter trail terms online in forums and social posts. Here’s what they all mean.

Identify Bobcat vs Coyote Prints in Snow

One of the most exciting things to discover on a winter hike is a set of bobcat or coyote tracks in the snow — but which is which?

Identify Bear Tracks in the Snow

It’s so exciting to identify bear tracks in snow. A clean bear print is an impressive thing, always a thrill to see.

Winter Hiking Tips

27 Unbeatable Winter Hiking Tips

Hate the coldest season? With a little extra gear and prep, and these winter hiking tips, you can stay warm and dry and hike into the wilderness for an incredible adventure.

35 Best Quick Tips for a Safe Winter Hike

These 35 quick tips for winter hiking will help keep you safe in the harshest conditions

Winter Hikes & Safe Limits

How Cold is Too Cold to Hike?

Here are 6 things you need to think about: weather, comfort, safety, frostbite, hypothermia, and gear.

How Windy is Too Windy To Hike?

I moved my hike from a windy Friday to a less windy (but much colder) Saturday. 80% of my online followers agreed with me. Here’s why.

You might also enjoy…

The DEC Winter Hiking Video

Winter hikes can be lots of fun, but they can also be dangerous if you’re not prepared. Before you head out into the snow, set yourself up for success by reviewing what gear to pack and how to prepare. Learn more about safe winter recreation on DEC’s Winter Hiking Safety webpage:

Winter Hike Gear

Winter Hiking Gear: Survive & Thrive in the Cold

Winter hiking in the Catskills is spectacular. Make sure you have the best winter hiking gear and know how to use it.

Essential Winter Hiking Gear Checklist

Grab this essential winter hiking gear checklist and stay safer on the hills this winter.

Winter Hiking Essentials

Winter hiking essentials — crucial gear and intel to hike safely this winter.

Winter Hiking Gear: Microspikes

Microspikes have, effectively, opened up the world of winter hiking

Snowshoe Basics

The number of snowshoe options is overwhelming. Here’s a quick guide on what to look for, and where to get your first pair.

winter hiking how-to: cabin in snow on mountain summit
Hunter Mountain summit cabin

General Hiking Safety

It never hurts to review the basics. Winter means extra gear and slower pace, and amazing winter scenery! — but it’s all built on top of regular safe hiking practices and classic gear recommendations.

Basic Mountain Hiking Gear

While hiking gear can change from trail to trail, and from season to season, the following items will serve you well on every hike. They are a fleshing out of The Ten Essentials (the absolute bare minimum you should pack for every hike). This hiking gear list focuses on day-hiking.

The 3 Best Ways to Not Die on a Hike

Every month, people get into trouble in the Catskills, almost always because they are under-prepared. Here are the 3 best things you can do to stay safe on your hike, while making sure you’re prepared in the event of an emergency.

It’s a Great Idea to Turn Around When…

Have you ever turned around on a hike for any reason? Hike safely. Always listen to your gut.

Winter Hike in the Catskills

If you’re coming to my neck of the woods, here are three links that are specific to the Catskills region.

Catskills Trail Conditions

A round-up of current Catskills Trail Conditions. Reported by hikers fresh off the trails.

Platte Clove Road Winter Access

Hitting the Devil’s Path or Kaaterskill High Peak in winter? From November 15 each year, Platte Clove Road is closed to traffic on its eastern end. but the good news is you can use this alternate route to get to some of the best hikes in the Catskills.

The Winter Posts Tag

Check out the winter tag on to see all the winter-specific content. It’s a mix of how-to and super-detailed trail guides from hikes I’ve personally done in winter.


Is it safe to hike in winter? With the right gear and appropriate precautions, absolutely! 

Is it comfortable to hike in winter? Honestly, even if you hate the cold, it still can be. Really. Even in frigid temps, I’m often too hot and have to de-layer to stay cool.

How hard is winter hiking? It is harder. And it can be a lot harder. But when the snow covers miles of rugged and otherwise difficult trail it can sometimes be easier, in terms of overall effort.

If you have any questions, reach out to me on my Instagram account @TotalCatskills. I’m always happy to chat about hiking, and I’m a big advocate for getting people on the trail safely in winter.

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