For most of us, it seems that Old Man Winter has effectively hunkered down. In the Northwest, Midwest, and Northeast, ice-on-windows and the biggest puffy jacket in the closet is part of the daily routine. Our coworkers are sneaking off to tropical destinations, and we catch ourselves drifting off into daydreams of umbrella drinks.
But while it’s easy to shake a fist at the cold and the snow now in the middle of winter, we remind ourselves of that sweltering 100-degree day a mere six months ago in which we were desperate for a snowflake or an icy windshield. So, we lean into the cold and the snow with these top-notch adventures so packed full of scenic views, frozen waterfalls, gentle skin tracks, and goggle tans that we all but forget about the umbrella drinks.
While most of us most often pair snowy adventures with snowshoes, we’ve diversified the list to include some of the snowy sports you might not have tried yet and the ones that might have been on your bucket list for quite some time. So grab your favorite adventure buddies (furry and otherwise), brew a piping hot beverage to leave in the car for the ride back, and go embrace the cold!
A quick side note: always, always, even in the dead of winter, observe principles of Leave No Trace. Let’s make 2019 the year that we all pack in a few small trash bags to grab micro-trash, never cut off switchbacks, leave flowers, animals, and rocks alone, camp only on durable surfaces, and more. The onus is on all of us.
Just outside of Grand Marais, the accessibility of this sweet snowshoe trail makes it a favorite for locals. As you move deeper into the canyon, the walls become steeper and the space between them narrows, making for a nearly otherworldly winter experience. After about half a mile, you’ll reach a waterfall—if it’s cold enough, you might even spot some ice climbers.
While the park is open year round with numerous summer activities, it truly comes alive when the temperature drops and the lake-effect snow from Lake Michigan blankets the park in feet of powder. This family-friendly park draws visitors out of winter hibernation with snowshoing and cross-country skiing for all ages.
Quinn's Trailhead is the main access point to the large protected wild area known as Round Valley, one of the few legal off-leash dog areas in the entire state. Here you can snowshoe, cross-country ski on the groomed tracks, or ride fat tire snow bikes and let the dogs run wild!
Located just minutes from downtown Boulder, this hike is always busy. It's a perfect place for your daily workout or to walk your dogs throughout the year. And, once you’re thoroughly cold and full of the best views, some of the best dining experiences in the West are mere minutes away.
Mount Brew is a nice little zone that has a lot to offer backcountry skiers and snowboarders: friendly terrain on all aspects, a selection of open bowls of varying steepness, tree-riding options, and a hut with incredible views.
Deep in the heart of Callaghan Country at the base of three 2,000-meter mountains is a warm, cozy 5,000-square-foot lodge that sleeps 25 guests and serves a four-course dinner by candlelight. Almost 15 kilometers from any roads, outside are over 100 kilometers of cross-country ski, snowshoe, and alpine ski touring trails that lead to some unbelievable terrain and stunning vistas.
Before you go, check out the Insider’s Guide to Snow Fat Biking. Then, take a trip up to one of the best-kept winter secrets: the Methow Valley. After your adventure, stay and relax at the beautiful lodge or cruise through the cute shops in nearby Winthrop.
Revel in the crystaline cascade at the terminus of this quick out-and-back hike. Don’t forget your snowshoes!