Winter Hiking Tips

Snowflakes and Bootprints

Even though the weather has turned colder and the snowflakes are starting to fly, that doesn’t mean that your hiking trips need to wait until spring. Winter is a wonderful time to hike. There are usually no more crowds of people and a lot of trails take on an entirely different look under a blanket of freshly fallen snow.

Wearing layers is the most important thing to remember when hiking in the winter months. Although it feels cold at the trailhead, your body will start to generate heat after just 10 to 15 minutes of walking, especially if you are hiking on a particularly difficult trail. Layering is important to staying warm and maintaining a constant body temperature throughout the hike.

When you layer:

  • Start with a base layer to wick moisture off your body.
  • A fleece jacket is next for insulation and warmth.
  • Finally, a shell keeps you dry and s the wind from penetrating.
  • Remember to avoid cotton. Once wet, cotton will no longer insulate you from the cold. Also, it wicks heat away from your body and puts you at risk for hypothermia.

Other winter hiking garments include:

Ice flow seen near the bottom of the steps leading up to Hawk Rock.

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About Mark Beaver

Mark is an avid day hiker on local trails including the Appalachian Trail. In addition to the DATC, Mark is also a member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Keystone Trails Association, and the Mountain Club of Maryland. Mark is a boundary monitor for a section of the Appalachian Trail and also maintains a sectionof the Appalachian Trail from Pole Steeple To Tagg Run.

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