Winter Hiking Adventure

Winter Hiking Adventure
Jan 19 2023

January is here, and that means that our beautiful, wintery wonderland is just around the corner. You’re probably a lot like us! When you peer out your window and see the snow start to fall, you immediately picture yourself closing your daily step loop on those white-covered hiking trails. There’s nothing quite like filling your lungs with that crisp air and hearing that sweet sound of snow crunching beneath your feet. We know, you’re battling between finishing this blog and booking it to the nearest trail right now. If you leave now, you run the risk of getting to the trail and not being fully prepared! Fret not our fellow snow leopards, we’re here to give you the knowledge you need to rival even the most experienced trailblazers. Here’s some of the “need to know” info before you make your way out into the snow globe.

Plan Ahead

What trails are you going to be on? How long are you going to be hiking? Are you going alone? These are just a few questions you should have figured out before you leave so you can be prepared. It’s always smart to let someone know where and how long you’ll be. Take a step further and have a 2-way radio handy to get a hold of someone in case of an emergency.

There are, without a doubt, fewer daylight hours in the winter months. So, it’s important to know how long you plan on for your hiking trip. The last thing you want is to be stuck out on a trail in the dark. Make sure you have a headlamp and extra batteries packed so you can keep moving, even when the sun goes down. Let someone know when you’re leaving and plan on returning.

Energy, Energy, Energy!

Pack extra water and food. Your body needs energy for the journey, and in the cold, it needs, even more, to stay warm! With colder temperatures, you might not think to eat or drink, but it’s important! Make sure snacks are easy to reach and kept in a place that will stop them from freezing. Putting them close to your body is a safe bet. Put water bottles upside down because bottles usually freeze from the top down and having the lid on the bottom ensures that it doesn’t freeze shut on you.

Stay Warm and Dry

Just like cakes, parfaits, and onions, you need to dress in layers. There are some big risks with hiking in the winter. It’s imperative to cover exposed skin and stay warm and dry when hiking in the winter months. Putting layers on is the key! First, always stick with wool or a synthetic material when bundling up. They are great at wicking away moisture keeping your skin nice and dry. Avoid cotton at all costs. Let’s all say it together, Avoid Cotton At All Costs.

Cotton stays wet for a long time, and it won’t keep you warm the way wool or a synthetic material will. The three layers you should consider are the base layer, the mid-layer, and the shell layer. Your base layer is the closest to your skin. Its purpose is to lock in a nice thin layer of heat against your body and pull away any moisture, leaving your skin dry. Keep this layer light, comfy, and warm. The purpose of the “mid-layer” is to trap in the heat, insulating you from cold. Sort of like a nice cozy blanket. Parkas, fleece, and puffy jackets are all great options for your mid-layer. Finally, finish off with your “shell layer.” Your shell provides wind and waterproofing. This keeps your underlayers dry and stops the wind from blowing straight to your bones. In addition, hats, gloves, boots, and gaiters will keep you warm and dry on your journey! Make sure it all fits well and isn’t tight-fitting because a lack of circulation means a lack of heat. You can also throw in some hand and toe warmers for extra heat for your fun, outdoor adventure.

Gear Up

Now that you’re bundled up right, you have to equip yourself with the right gear to make winter hikes a breeze. The sun can be bright against the snow, so it’s always good to have some sunglasses or goggles to keep the sun out of your eyes. Snowshoes are a must for a safe and enjoyable hike. They stop you from falling into deep snow and leave an even path for future fellow hikers. Walking poles are nice to have for some extra support when walking on tricky terrain. It’s also nice to strap a pair of micro-spikes to your boots for some extra traction when hiking on icy surfaces.

There you have it! Keep these things in mind and you’ll be hiking those snowy trails like a bonafide mountaineer! In Old Forge, we have wonderful trails to hike and amazing views for you to find! You can stay in a cabin or cottage at the premier camping spot Old Forge Camping Resort ( If you’re more of an “indoor stay” kind of person, rooms and suites are waiting for you at Water Edge Inn ( We can’t wait to see you! Happy hiking trip!