Tips For The Perfect Winter Hike

Winter hiking can be a unique experience, one with untouched snow, active wildlife, and the feeling that you have an entire mountain all to yourself. But packaged in this adventure are inherent risks that come with the cool hand of Mother Nature.

To help make your hike as perfect as possible, keep safety and comfort in mind and start with the following tips:

Wear Waterproof Boots

Nothing puts a damper on hiking like damp boots, especially during cold weather. Damp boots quickly lead to damp socks, frozen feet, and the threat of frostbite. If you don’t own some already, invest in hiking boots designed for winter; they’ll whisk away moisture to keep your feet warm and dry.

Depending on the snowfall, some hiking areas require traction devices or snowshoes in lieu of regular boots. Make sure you know what’s needed beforehand or your mountain adventure might quickly turn into a mud-filled disaster.

Check the Weather Report

The weather report in Colorado never serves as a climate contract, sure to tell you exactly what’s in store. It does, however, offer a general guide of what’s coming down the pike (or headed toward Pike’s Peak).

Plan your winter hike on a day when the skies are expected to be sunny and clear while also bringing enough warm clothing in case things take a turn. This not only makes for a more proactive hike, but a far more comfortable one as well.

Stay Hydrated

It’s easy to dismiss the dangers of dehydration on cold days; when your shirt isn’t soaked in sweat, you may fail to notice that you’re losing fluids. But hiking is a strenuous activity that requires reinforcements in the form of electrolytes. Individual needs are influenced by the grade you’re hiking, as well as what you’re wearing and carrying.

Failing to properly hydrate in cold weather risks hypothermia, as dehydration leads to lower blood volume, ultimately affecting circulation. Thus, don’t head into the snow without plenty of H2O. 

Know Where You’re Going

It’s important to know your surroundings whether you’re hiking in the middle of June or on a February afternoon…spending the night with a mountain lion as your roommate isn’t quite as intriguing as it might sound. But in the winter, with freezing temperatures and surprise blizzards, it’s particularly vital to know how to get back to your car as quickly as possible.

To protect yourself, don’t depend on trail markers, as they may be covered up by snow. Grab a trail map instead and keep it with you. While GPS gadgets can help, they tend to malfunction as the temperature drops. In other words, don’t rely on them as your proverbial bread crumbs.

Take a Friend

Some people love the solitude of hiking solo while others see it as a chance to foster companionship. When hiking in the winter, it’s better to lean toward the social end of the spectrum. Two heads are better than one when it comes to brisk temps and limited daylight.

If you’re set on venturing out alone or can’t find anyone willing to join you, inform a friend or family member of your plans. Tell them exactly where you’re going and what time you’ll be home. That way, they’ll know if a search and rescue is warranted. Set your sister up to be the hero so you can never hear the end of it!

Hiking is not an activity that needs to be limited to summer months. With the above tips, winter outings can be just as enjoyable with far fewer crowds. So, take precautions and hit the hills for a snow-filled thrill.

The Piedmont Apartments in Avon, Colorado offers luxurious, modern homes for residents that blend privacy with epic views of the Rocky Mountains. Contact us today to learn more about mountain town living in our picturesque apartments. 

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