While warm weather might draw the crowds out to all your favorite sights and camping spots, winter often makes for much more exciting, daring, outings. There’s just something about the frigid air combined with a fresh blanket of white snow that makes a winter hiking outing more enchanting, and climbing into a warm sleeping bag in freezing weather is much more rewarding. And some places just come alive as the temperature drops. So pack your bag and grab your showshoes; from coast to coast, cold weather to warm, here are some of the best winter backpacking spots to check out this winter.
8. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
While crowds and tourists are plenty during the warmer months, attendance drops off significantly when the weather does too. While the Grand Canyon may not get a lot of moisture, it is at high elevation, which ensures there is plenty of snow. You’ll have almost the whole park to yourself, and much more pleasant temperatures than the summer’s oppressive heat. The lower you go, the warmer it becomes.
7. Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington
While Mt. Rainier isn’t exactly an easy hike, especially in the winter, some of the less strenuous hikes are perfect while it’s blanketed in snow. Mazama Ridge, for one, is perfect snowshoeing terrain, and has endless opportunities for pitching a tent and camping in front of scenic expanses. The Mazama Ridge Trail is only 6 miles long, but those six miles are some of the best snowshoeing in the Pacific Northwest.