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5 Amazing Places for Winter Hikes in the USA

5 Amazing Places for Winter Hikes in the USA

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Looking for some outdoor adventures this winter? Find out the best places for winter hikes in the USA worth doing.
This list of amazing places for winter hikes in the USA was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Winter can be cold, but for those who don’t mind a little discomfort, it can also be an incredibly rewarding opportunity to hit a hiking trail or two.

While cozying up with a cup of cocoa in hand and a good book sounds super enticing, there’s something special about getting out of your comfort zone and braving nature when you least want to.

Plus, spending time in nature and moving your body has been proven to help beat the winter blues, so there’s that!

From the deserts of Utah to the alpine beauty of Colorado, these gorgeous hiking destinations are a must on your travel bucket list if you want to get outside this winter!

Amazing Places for Winter Hikes in the USA

1. Arches National Park, Utah

Home to over two thousand natural archways, otherwordly-looking rock formations, and enormous red rock mesas, a hike through Utah’s desert dreamland will make you feel as though you skyrocketed your way into Mars.

Image of Arches National Park in winter. Red rock glowing from the low light casted by the setting sun with a bit of snow on the ground
Arches National Park in winter.

Despite the chilly temperatures, a winter trip to Arches National Park is an absolute treat. A snowy, red rock desert wonderland treat you won’t soon forget. It’s one of the best national parks for hiking.

With temperatures of summer reaching the hundreds and the crowds of fall and spring jamming the trails, a visit to Arches in winter means getting to experience the best of both worlds: seeing a truly unique side to the park and getting to have some of the best viewpoints pretty much all to yourself.

Recommended hike in Arches National Park: The Devil’s Garden Loop is the longest trail in the park (7.8 miles) and a must-do if you want to cover as much ground as possible during your visit.

While hiking, you’ll get to see a few of the most iconic arches in the national park, as well as insane-looking landscapes you won’t believe belong on this planet!

2. Telluride, Colorado

Telluride may be famed for its snow, but it remains mysteriously sunny for around 300 days of the year.

This picturesque mountain town in Colorado boasts jagged peaks, lush alpine valleys, and some of the best hiking trails in the world.

Bridal Veil Falls Spring in Telluride Colorado.
Bridal Veil Falls Spring in Telluride Colorado.

While some trails do close due to avalanche danger, a few of them are deemed safe enough to enjoy even during the snowy season.

Plus, once you’re done hiking, you can soak in the beauty of Telluride’s downtown, hit the slopes on a ski adventure, or relax your muscles at the many hot springs that surround the area!

​​Recommended hike in Telluride: The Jud Wiebe Trail, a three-mile-long hiking trail that’s close enough to town to get a bird’s eye view of its quintessential beauty!

3. Rocky Mountain National Park

While Rocky Mountain may be an extremely popular summer destination, there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t visit this enchanting national park during the winter months.

The layers of snow add an extra touch of beauty to its alpine goodness, and the colder temps mean the crowds are long gone.

Tourist with backpack hiking on snowy trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA.
There are several snowy trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Just make sure to pack lots of layers, snowshoes, microspikes, and check the avalanche forecast before hitting the trails and you’ll be all set for an epic winter hiking adventure!

Recommended hike in Rocky Mountain National Park: The Emerald Lake Hike is an easy, relatively short (3 miles) hike that will have you touching base at three of the most iconic lakes in the park: Emerald Lake, Nymph Lake, and Dream Lake.

While the hike is super popular any other time of the year and is generally crowded, you’re very likely to get the vistas all to yourself during the winter. Plus, the snow and frozen lakes make for an astonishingly beautiful view.

4. Death Valley National Park, California

With temperatures surpassing the hundreds during the summer months, going for a hike in Death Valley isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Come winter, though, the weather cools off, making the perfect time to experience the desert magic of this epic national park in California.

Snow-covered Joshua trees in Death Valley National Park.
Snow-covered Joshua trees in Death Valley National Park.

Despite its somewhat morbid name, Death Valley brims with life and colors, and hitting its trails means stumbling across eerie-looking trees, hills and rocks splashed with colors, and enormous salt flats are far as the eye can see.

Recommended hike in Death Valley: The Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch Loop is a classic for first-timers to get an introduction to this unique place.

As you hike through the golden sandstone canyon, you’ll stumble across the badlands of the Amargosa Mountains, tight canyon walls, and landscapes so special you’ll have to double-check you’re actually on planet Earth!

5. Sequoia National Park, California

Located on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, Sequoia National Park is known for being the home to most of the world’s sequoias, the biggest trees in the world.

Giant Sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park during the winter.
Giant Sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park during the winter.

While visiting this gem of a park is astounding year-round, there’s something insanely beautiful about seeing the contrast of the snow against the bright red sequoia barks.

Recommended hike in Sequoia National Park: The Big Tree Trail, which is a relatively short 1.3-mile loop that will mesmerize you with views of enormous sequoia trees dusted in fluffy white snow.

Another must-do is snowshoeing the Congress Trail, where you’ll get to see the third-largest tree in the world as well as a massive grove of sequoias called The Senate (this is an epic spot for photos!)

Winter Hikes in the USA Wrap Up

Have you visited any of these incredible hiking destinations in the USA? We’d love to know more about your experience as well as what your favorite winter trails are, so make sure you drop them in the comments section below.

Looking for more winter travel ideas? Check out the best Christmas getaways, best winter trips from Seattle, best national parks to visit this winter, warm winter destinations in the U.S., and snowy winter destinations!

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