These Long-Distance Trails Will Keep You on Your Toes This Winter
The winter is an exhilarating time to hike. Between the challenging weather conditions and the breathtaking scenery, this season has a lot to offer. If you’ve waited this long to explore the winter backcountry, then you might want to spend as much time on the trail as you possibly can. Choose from one of these amazing long-distance trails and you’ll be occupied until spring comes.
The Ice Age Trail, Wisconsin
If you really want to make the most of your hike this winter, The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is for you. The 1,200-mile trail follows the edge of a glacier that existed 15,000 years ago and runs throughout the entire state. Though you won’t see wooly mammoths or saber-toothed tigers on this trail anymore, you can hike through the Brooklyn Wildlife Area Segment where you might get a glimpse of some modern day animals. The whole trail could take you about a month, and you’ll see lots of glacial features, including Lake Michigan along the way.
The Long Trail, Vermont
If you’re looking for the one of the best long-distance trails to experience this winter, look no further than The Long Trail in Vermont. This trail is 273 miles long and runs the entire length of the state. Along the way, you’ll pass by the gorgeous line of The Green Mountains including all the major summits. This trail is just as beautiful as it was when it was conceived in the early 1900’s and is, in fact, the oldest long-distance trail in the United States.
The Brooks Range, Alaska
While it may not be considered a trail per se, The Brooks Range spans from Alaska into the Yukon Territory of Canada. It’s approximately 700 miles long. It’s no easy path to hike, especially during the winter. The trail features some truly amazing geographical features, including the Limestack Mountain and the Brooks Range mountains. If you can handle the entire trail, you’ll also pass through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to the Western Arctic Caribou, Dall sheep, and grizzly bears. Though it might be a bit too difficult to hike in the actual winter, the cold climate in the Alaskan summertime will provide you with that same chilly challenge as others on this list.
The Bruce Trail, Ontario
This nearly 500-mile trail in Ontario follows the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, which will certainly give you a lot to see during your winter hike here. There are tons of waterfalls, streams, rivers, and of course, the Niagara Falls. You’ll pass through many conservation areas as well as national parks. This trail, especially during the winter, is ideal for beginners to long-distance hiking. One reason is because it’s hard to do the trail end-to-end with only camping, meaning you’ll be able to spend a few nights in an actual hotel. Another reason is because the Bruce Trail Conservancy offers a lot of programs to get people to hike as much as they can, without the pressure of doing it all at once.
The Ozark Highland Trail, Arkansas
Winter weather not really for you? If you’re the kind of hiker that prefers to use the wintertime to hike places that are normally sweltering hot, then come to Arkansas. The 218-mile Ozark Highlands Trails is calling your name, and this time of year is really the best time to hike it. You’ll pass through true backcountry settings, as the trail goes right through the most remote areas of the Ozarks, as well as other quiet, mountainous areas. Don’t miss this long-distance hiking gem.
What are you doing this winter? If you’re up for the challenge, it’s time to start planning your hike through one of these long-distance trails.