Hiking in the snow can have advantages. For example, there won’t be as many people on the trail giving you space to explore on your own in peace. It’s also a time to see the trails in winter weather, and this can give it an entirely new look and feel from other times in the year. It can also be fun and more exciting than hiking in the summer months. But if you’re new to hiking in the snow, there are a few things you should know first.
Is it safe to hike in the snow? Well, yes and no. If you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t know how to prepare appropriately, it’s not safe. However, for an experienced hiker who takes the proper precautions, it can be safe. Let’s look into some important things which Camping Necessities thinks you need to know about hiking in the snow. With these tips, you can explore hiking in the snow.
Here are some things you should know about hiking in the snow
- Always have an emergency plan in place – This is good, solid advice for any time you are hiking, but it will be crucial when hiking in the snow since this can be more dangerous.
- Be sure someone knows where you are – You should tell a friend or family member when you are going out and exactly which trails you plan to hike, and then check in as soon as you are done and safe. If possible, you should stop at the Park Ranger station and check in so that they know you are there and where you will be hiking.
- Bring a friend – Even in good weather, hiking with a friend or buddy is a good idea. But when hiking in the snow, this is more important than ever before. If you’re alone and an emergency happens, it will be even more dangerous. No one will know where you are or how to get help you. In the snow, hiking is always safer with a buddy or two.
- Time your hike with the sun – In winter, you will have shorter days, so this means you need to plan your walks around the sun and when it will be daylight outside for you. Consider how long the trail is and how much time it will take you to get through it. Be realistic about how much ground you can cover in a certain amount of time and allow some extra buffer just in case. Remember that you will probably be moving slower in snow than you usually would. The more ice and snow there is on the trails, the longer the hike can take you.
- Check to be sure the trail is open – Before you head out to hike in the snow, it’s a good idea to check first to be sure the trail is open. Even if the park or trail site usually is open in bad weather, you want to be sure there were no fallen trees, landslides, or other issues that would have closed the trails.
- Keep your feet warm – It’s essential to keep your feet warm and protected. When hiking in the snow, you will get snow on your boots, and it will melt, and your feet can get wet if you don’t have the proper footwear. Not only are wet feet not comfortable, but they can also be dangerous.
- Consider snow hazards – When there is ice and snow on the trails, there are specific hazards you wouldn’t have before. Rivers and creeks can be frozen over. And they may not hold your weight when they are in this state. Also, if you have to cross moving water, it is better to do it during the day when there is a minor melt. You also want to be careful of cliffs with snow or ice covering them because this can lead to missteps and falls. Additionally, avalanches are a possibility. Keep an eye open for cracks in the snowpack, and also listen for the telltale sound that comes from an ongoing avalanche.
- Dress in layers – Wear or bring with you more layers than you think you will need. While you may not need that much coverage at the start of your hike, you can put some layers in your backpack for later. As you reach higher elevations, it will get colder. As the sun starts to go down, it will get colder. You need to take care to cover all exposed areas of your skin, including your face and ears. You can bring along gloves, a face mask, a warm hat, neck scarf or gaiter, etc. Remember all of your basics for cold-weather layering.
- Bring winter survival essentials – When hiking in the snow, it’s even more critical than ever to be prepared. You’ll want to pack winter survival essentials just in case because you never know if something that will happen to cause you to get stuck out in the elements, possibly even overnight. Some good items include extra batteries, walking poles, an ice ax, a headlamp, a sleeping bag, an emergency shelter, a first aid kit, matches, a waterproof lighter, etc.
With these tips and the proper preparation, you can enjoy hiking, even in the snow. It can also be a gratifying and physically challenging experience that seasoned hikers find exciting. Will you plan your next hike today?