The Countdown: Backcountry Alternatives to a Typical New Year’s Eve

The Countdown: Backcountry Alternatives to a Typical New Year’s Eve

The Countdown: Backcountry Alternatives to a Typical New Year’s Eve


After reflecting on the last year outdoors, it’s time to prepare ourselves for 2017. In just a few days, people around the world will be welcoming in the New Year in all kinds of ways. Some will visit Times Square in New York. Some will tune into the ball dropping from their home. Others will find some place to watch fireworks near their house (or light their own). And, even others may be falling asleep before the clock strikes twelve.

But, if you want to take your New Year’s Eve to the backcountry this year, we don’t blame you. Outdoorsy people always want a good excuse to get outside. And, what better way to start of 2017 with a little taste of the outdoors?

Ditch your typical New Year’s Eve party for one of these awesome plans:

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10. Visit a Wilderness Ski Resort

This is the perfect time of year to go skiing if you’re in most places of the U.S. and Canada! Make New Year’s Eve special this year by taking your typical “adventures” to a wilderness ski resort. Hang out in the lodge, hit the slopes, or go for a show shoe walk outside. Many ski resorts will be holding New Year’s events, like New Hampshire’s New Year’s Eve Backcountry Shakedown Ski. Sign up now!

9. Travel to a Backcountry Destination Abroad

Can’t really think of exciting plans this New Year’s? Does the cold weather make you a bit unmotivated? Then take your New Year’s Eve to a backcountry destination abroad. There are so many places around the world (and in the U.S.) that are warm this time of year. What’s cooler than bringing in the new year somewhere completely different AND outdoors?

8. Watch the Sunset and Sunrise

There’s something special about saying “goodbye” to the year behind and “hello” to the year ahead. Even if you don’t plan on bringing your plans to the Land of the Rising Sun, you can still do this anywhere close to home. Find a good sunset and sunrise area near your hometown, and welcome in the new year the old fashion, fun way!

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7. Go Camping

This one speaks for itself. Camping is always an awesome time. Bring your close friends and family, or even go solo. Set up a comfy spot, and welcome in 2017 surrounded by nature, a warm fire, and a nice tent to call it a night in.

6. Start Your Hiking Resolutions Early

If you have big hiking goals planned for next year, then it’s time to get ahead on them! Start your hiking resolutions early. Head to a trail that’s not too difficult, but can get you on the right path for the coming year. You’ll feel great that you’re starting off the new year this way, and you’ll have a good time spending New Year’s Eve on the trail, too.

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5. Attend an Event at a National Park

National Parks are always a hit, especially around New Year’s. While not all parks are open or in their high season, some parks are participating in incredible holiday events. Just to name a few, Big Bend National Park is having a New Year’s River Trip, and for something a bit more fancy, you can head to the New Year’s Event at Yosemite National Park.

4. Go On a Firework Hike

Watching fireworks at midnight on New Year’s Eve is a tradition many of us are not willing to change. But, watching them live on top of a mountain after a long hike is a little more special than doing it in your backyard or watching it on T.V. There are many local hiking groups that offer an opportunity like this. Just do a search to see what’s going on near you!

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3. See the Northern Lights

Fireworks are cool and all, but nothing lights up the sky quite like Aurora Borealis. If you’re looking for a bit more of an exotic New Year’s in the backcountry, then head to the places where you can get an amazing glimpse of the Northern Lights. Denali National Park should do the trick!

2. Give Out Your Old Winter Gear to the Needy

If you’re one of those people that can’t really enjoy their New Year’s when you know there are cold people outside, then use your love for the backcountry to do something about it. 2017 means new adventures, opportunities, and maybe new gear for you. But, for someone else, it may mean another year of utter hardships. Spend the holiday, then, giving out your old winter hiking gear to people in need.

1. Do a New Year’s Outdoor Meetup

Still struggling to find plans? Then hit up Meetup and search for New Year’s outdoor activities. It shouldn’t be too hard to find something fun going on near you. Something that will give you a good experience in the backcountry, while also giving you the chance to potentially meet new friends for the coming year! What are you waiting for?

New Year’s Eve is almost here. Time to trade in typical holiday traditions for something in the backcountry!

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.