It may not be the most popular winter sport, but those hoping to connect with nature can often find what they’re looking for on a pair of snowshoes.
Pristine nature, the quiet movement of snow beneath your feet and a one-of-a-kind chance to see wildlife are just a few of the amazing benefits that come with a winter trek. Snowshoes can take you where snowmobiles and skis can’t—far into the wilderness and off the trail, if you’re inclined to venture.
There are, however, plenty of marked trails that can be just as exciting as backcountry terrain. Public lands like state and national parks open up their terrain to snowshoes and those who take advantage in the wintertime enjoy fewer crowds and nature at its most serene.
Though you need to be aware of snow conditions, avalanches and other cold-weather dangers, a little knowledge can go a long way and snowshoeing is typically safe. If you’re ready to strap on some snowshoes and head outdoors, check out these 10 great spots across the country.
Palos Trail System—Illinois
One of the best mountain biking spots in all of Illinois certainly doesn’t lose its allure in the winter; it just attracts a different crowd. The Palos Trail System is a quick 30 minute ride from downtown Chicago and it’s certainly worth the trip. From singletrack to multi-track paths, the ten trails range in difficulty and length, which means there’s something for everyone.
Yosemite National Park—California
Yosemite National Park is one of the most visited parks in the country, attracting major crowds in the summer, which makes winter a perfect time to visit. The park is home to one of the best snowshoe treks in the country: the seven-mile loop from Badger Pass to Dewey Point. The loop offers visitors one of the best views of El Capitan anywhere and if you dare to look down, a wild view of the valley 3,000 feet down.