Crisp air and no crowds: why you should hike in winter

written by Intrepid Travel February 28, 2023

When you think of winter, what comes to mind? We’ll bet it’s more of a ‘Netflix and takeaway’ vibe than it is a ‘let’s get outdoors’ one. But with our new range of winter active trips, we’re here to convince you that hiking isn’t just for the summertime.

Ah, winter. A season like no other, especially in nature. Sure, it can be harsh – low temperatures, freezing winds and snowstorms – but it can also be pure magic. Think crisp air. Clear mountain views. Snow crunching underfoot on the forest floor. And the best way to experience all that winter nature has to offer is to be in it.

Check out our range of Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing tours ahead of the northern hemisphere’s chilly season. 

Why we love winter hiking

Hiking in winter brings a whole host of benefits that you simply don’t get with a summer sojourn. For starters, you get to see iconic scenery in a completely new light. “One of the benefits of hiking in winter is gaining a different perspective – even on a familiar trail,” says Radek Nowak, Intrepid’s Walking & Trekking Product Manager and expert in all activities that involve walking in the great outdoors.

Plus, not many hikers are willing to conquer the trails in the depths of winter. The advantages of this are two-fold: no crowds means there’s guaranteed to be plenty of elbow room on your walks (and no lines for photo ops!), and you also get extra bragging rights for taking the harder, less-travelled road.

We’ll bring the expertise, you just bring yourself

Organising a winter-time adventure can be difficult on your own. “Winter logistics are different and often more complex,” says Radek. “There are less public transport connections, mountain roads can be closed or blocked, and many local hotels close for the low season.” That’s where Intrepid comes in. We have an extensive network of experts and plenty of experiences in different regions, which makes it easier for us to navigate those circumstances. 

You don’t even have to have expert gear or years of hiking experience to sign up (though a base level of fitness certainly helps). Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, our experienced local leaders are on hand to help make your trip as safe and seamless as possible, from renting the necessary equipment to monitoring weather conditions and safety hazards, helping you attach and practise walking with snowshoes or crampons and organising the best refuel food (winter hiking really does take it out of you). Intrepid will even help you with your packing list.

And when the long, cold hiking days finish, all that’s left to do is find a warm spot, snuggle in and get cosy. “Having a glass of mulled wine in front of a fire after a long hiking day is a dream,” says Radek. ”And don’t forget about a good dinner to refuel and restore all the energy used, as tomorrow, another beautiful hiking day awaits.”

River and snow.
Firehole River, Yellowstone National Park.

Our six new winter hiking and snowshoeing tours

1. Discover the beauty of Mount Toubkal, 7 days

This trip takes you from the bustle of Marrakech up to the ‘roof of North Africa’, the stunning snow-capped Mount Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains. Fuel yourself with traditional Moroccan homemade meals as you travel with your expert crew (plus a pack of mules!). Radek has done this trip, and in his own words: “​​It was fantastic and I loved every bit of it. The celebration dinner in Aroumd (where we stay after climbing Toubkal and Ouanoukrim) is the best I ever had.”

2. Walk rim to rim in the Grand Canyon, 6 days

Sleep under the stars on this very special small group hiking adventure. See both rims of the world’s most famous canyon in a way few people do – in the clear calm of winter. Expect to see waterfalls, Native American ruins, box canyons and more.

3. See Yosemite – minus the crowds, 4 days

Yosemite National Park takes on a silent beauty in the colder months, and this highlight-packed hike lets you take in the best of it. Better yet? There’s no need to rough it. Each night finishes with you nice and cosy in your shiny Airstream trailer.

4. Explore the winter wonderland that is Yellowstone, 5 days

Cross snow-covered meadows, pass frozen waterfalls and take in world-famous geysers on this short but oh-so-special hike through one of the world’s most adored national parks. Sleep in cosy lodges and rest easy knowing all your meals, gear and transportation is taken care of.

5. Take in the winter stillness of the Rocky Mountains, 4 days

Enjoy the solitude that winter brings in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. Spot elk, lynx and even the rare wolverine on your daily hikes before settling in to enjoy cosy lodging and tasty food with your group each evening.

Keen to put your best food forward? Check out our full range of Hiking & Snowshoeing Tours & Holidays.

Feeling inspired?

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