The Little-Known Perks of the Winter Backcountry

The Little-Known Perks of the Winter Backcountry

The Little-Known Perks of the Winter Backcountry


The fall hiking season is coming to an end, and before you know it, the winter season will be upon us. Though in some places it still doesn’t feel quite like winter, hopefully, it won’t be too long until we start feeling it. While the outdoors may not be as enjoyable for some enthusiasts during the winter time, for others, it’s the best time of the year. If you’re still not quite on board yet, here are some little-known perks of the winter backcountry, that should have you converted in no time.

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The winter offers a lot of activities

Sometimes, it’s natural to associate the summer with tons of fun outdoor activities, and the winter with more serious hiking experiences. If that’s what intrigues you about the season, then that’s great. But, don’t ever think winter weather means less to do, ever. Winter is chock-full of exciting outdoor activities. Whether you prefer to backcountry ski, snowshoe, ice climb, or simply hike, the options are endless.

The parks are way less crowded

There are some people that just don’t understand the outdoors like we do. Even if winter may not be your ideal season, you can surely still appreciate it. But, for those people who pour into the national parks in the summer time, only to be MIA once the temperature drops, means a lot more open space for you. If you ever wanted a truly authentic experience in one of the gorgeous national parks, now’s your chance.

By the way: You also get to explore national parks that are just too hot to visit in the summer!

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Winter camping is an incredible experience

Sure, camping in the summer is cool and all. But one of the perks of the winter backcountry is getting to enjoy a little twist on the traditional camping experience. While it may not be as comfortable as camping in the summertime, just think about the things you’ll get to see. Gorgeous snow-capped mountaintops. Lakes frozen over. A campfire that’s actually quite necessary to sit around. And, of course, we can’t forget about cozy winter gear! Getting outdoors in the winter helps us appreciate things a lot more.

It’s a challenge

There’s no questioning it. Hiking or any outdoor activity in the winter time is no walk in the park. If you want to do anything outdoors this season, it’s going to be a challenge. But, it’ll be worth it. Hiking or doing other sports in the winter will leave you more than prepared for all the other seasons in the year. Once you’ve made it through the winter, the rest is nothin’.

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The reward is that much better

When we head to the backcounty in the summer, we might look forward to that bottle of water or even a lounge chair. It’s a nice reward, for sure, after hiking in the sun all day. But, in the winter, the rewards we get are even better. The reward of sleeping in your tent and cuddling up in your sleeping bag to get warm. Having a hot cup of coffee or cocoa cooked over the fire. That incredible feeling of knowing that you’ve conquered the cold, but you’re lucky enough to sleep a bit more comfortably.

You can take it as you wish

Exploring the backcountry in the winter time isn’t so cut and dried. You don’t need to hike out all day in the cold if you don’t want to. There are plenty of (romantic) backcountry destinations where you can get a taste of the winter weather without stepping too much out of your comfort zone. Just take it in at your own pace.

The backcounty in the winter is certainly not like it is in summer. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. Every hiking season has its perks, especially this one. Time to get ready for it!

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.