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Skiing and snowboarding may get the bulk of the winter sports excitement, but snowshoeing is a fast-growing sport that offers a totally unique way to experience the fallen snow. Rather than adrenaline-pumping heights and speeds, snowshoeing offers a relaxing and peaceful way to appreciate the beauty of winter. It’s a highly accessible sport that kids can try and adults can do well into older age. You can even bring your dog along if he can handle the cold and the park is pet-friendly!
The perks of snowshoeing are obvious to avid hikers and backpackers. It’s an affordable sport that requires very little gear or investment, a great workout, and a wonderful way to be more observant and get in touch with nature. So if you’re interested in strapping on a pair of snowshoes this winter, consider one of these top destinations for snowshoeing!
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New Mexico may be one of the last places that you think of when considering places to snowshoe. But the northern part of the state actually gets an impressive amount of snow. You don’t need to venture far from Albuquerque to find snowshoeing trails of varying lengths in the Sandia Mountains. As long as there is enough snow on the ground, you can take the air tram to Sandia Crest and snowshoe down to the mountain base.
Most travelers visit the Black Hills of South Dakota during the summer months to see Mount Rushmore and its other top natural attractions. However, this is also a fun place to snowshoe during the winter. Custer State Park spans thousands of wide-open acres and is known for buffalo, elk, and other rare wildlife species. One bucket-list snowshoe trail to consider is the Centennial Trail beginning at Bear Butte Lake and heading towards Wind Cave National Park.
The Beaver Creek area of Colorado is a perfect destination for snowshoers. It’s about 100 miles from Denver and offers plenty of sunshine to provide a little warmth on cold days. Beaver Creek Resort’s McCoy Park has 19 miles of trails and offers stunning views of the area’s mountain ranges. You can access the trails by lift, and plan to stay at one of Beaver Creek Resort’s signature properties for a little luxury after long days out in the snow. Head to Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Park, which is about three hours away, for even more fun in the snow!
On British Columbia’s North Shore, snowshoers will find Mt. Seymour, a winter haven for pretty much all winter sports. It’s only a few minutes from Vancouver and a family-friendly snow sport destination that can be combined with many other sightseeing and recreation activities.
Maine is a wonderful state for outdoor enthusiasts, especially snowshoe fans during the winter months in the Camden area. Camden Hills State Park has many wooded trails that are easy to follow for beginners. For a challenge, try snowshoeing up to Mount Megunticook and enduring the steep climb. Mount Battie is also a scenic destination on snowshoes. This is a pet-friendly park where you can snowshoe with your pup on a leash. Check out the nearby Camden Snow Bowl for even more snowshoe trails, as well as slopes for skiing and snowboarding. For an extra challenge, sign up for a snowshoeing race!
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is where Midwesterners head for winter fun and a plethora of falling snow. One of the best places to snowshoe in this area is Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, which runs along Lake Superior and has over 100 miles of trails. To warm up along the way, make sure to stop by rustic cabins and yurts. There are over a dozen of them, but make sure to plan your route in advance and assess your skill level in blisteringly cold conditions.
New Zealand is often associated with warm-weather adventure sports, but it’s a surprisingly great place for snowshoeing during the winter too. Check out an area called The Remarkables, which is known for the best snowshoeing in the area. Queenstown is a top destination for outdoor adventurers, as well as casual snowshoers who want to spend time visiting the area’s restaurants, bars, and shops.
The Stowe Mountain area has over 45 miles of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails that are part of the Green Mountain State Forest network. This is a popular resort for families to stay at while spending time out in the snow in this beautiful region of Vermont. One popular option for beginners is to take a guided snowshoeing tour from the The Lodge at Spruce Peak to get views of Mount Mansfield. Snowshoe rental shops are abundant, and you can even snowshoe from the resort to the town’s Main Street.
Patagonia is the ultimate destination on many outdoor lovers’ bucket lists, and it’s also an ideal place for snowshoeing. The popular Bariloche area is popular in the summer and winter seasons, and the Cerro Catedral mountain range has miles of scenic trails to explore in the snow. This is a nature photographer’s dream destination, with glaciers, mountains, and valleys to snapshots of while experiencing the area up-close and personal.
Another top Midwestern destination for snowshoeing is the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin. This shoreline landscape is beautiful at any time of year but really comes alive when blanketed in fresh snow. One popular route runs from Meyers Beach along the Lakeshore Trail for two miles and features overlooks along the bluffs and caves adorned with massive dangling icicles.
Finland is a top destination to see the Aurora Borealis, and it’s also a wonderful snowshoeing destination. You can find lots of wide-open wilderness in the Lapland area and walk for miles without interruption or distraction. There are also villages in the area to stop in to warm up and replenish your body with some hot food and drinks. Guided tours are offered in the Levi Fell region for both adults and children.
The White Mountains are well-suited for snowshoeing through the Zealand Valley in New Hampshire. Expect plenty of pristine mountain and forest views on your snowy journey. Many people take guided trips through this region that include a stay at remote, rustic huts with hot meals.
The Mount Hood region is where snowshoers head to in Oregon, and the White River Trail is the number one destination. This is a family-friendly area that is also popular for sledding, especially around the White River West Sno-Park. However, steep and challenging trails can be found as you venture deeper into the forest.