Every year as the weather gets cooler, the anticipation starts to grow for the upcoming snowshoe season. Many of us dream of the first flakes of snow gently cascading towards the ground, the crisp awakening air, the quiet after a fresh storm.
Once enough snow has fallen, we gear up and get to exploring! But now, as the world slowly starts to reopen from COVID, there are even more snowshoeing opportunities around the globe that we can add to our bucket list. I know I dream of a trip where I can follow winter and snowshoe around the world!
So, without further ado, here are a few snowshoe adventures to add to your bucket list this snowshoe season.
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1. Snowshoe Beneath the Northern Lights
Whether you live in an area that receives this magical spectacle or not, snowshoeing beneath the Aurora Borealis would be a truly unforgettable experience!
There is no guarantee that you’ll see the lights on your outing (believe me, I’ve tried). However, snowshoeing at night and making an attempt to see them is worth it!
Some ideal settings to see those lights dancing in the night sky are:
2. Snowshoe to See Wildlife
One reason that winter hiking rocks is the snow tells a story of wildlife that dry ground does not. You can identify tracks in the snow and map out the array of activities going on in the winter. A scuffle here, a crossing there – you can envision it even when the world around you is peaceful.
I had never seen so many animal tracks as when we stayed at Wild Skies Cabin in northwestern Colorado. We didn’t see one other person on the trip, but we saw more tracks than we could count!
In addition to Colorado, find wildlife in Jackson Hole or the Interlake Region in Manitoba. Or, for a different kind of wildlife, snowshoe with the hope of seeing Japanese snow monkeys.
3. Snowshoe to a Backcountry Hut
A multi-day snowshoe trip in a backcountry cabin is an excellent way to up your snowshoe game. You can snowshoe to your hut for one night or make it a multiple-night hut-to-hut trip.
If embarking on a hut trip, make sure you’re prepared. Hut reservations are typically booked in advance, and some can fill up quickly. Furthermore, some huts will be fully equipped, and others will not. If not provided, you will need to bring in your supplies, including kitchen items and bedding.
Also, the length of the route and terrain can vary widely. For example, some treks may be only a mile on relatively stable terrain, while others may be a full-day excursion or be in avalanche terrain. In any case, bringing the essentials and ensuring you’re physically prepared is critical.
Some hut systems to add to your bucket are:
4. Snowshoe to a Frozen Lake or Waterfall
Seeing a waterfall that is completely frozen over is a magical experience and a great addition to your snowshoe bucket list. It’s incredible how much the landscape changes between the seasons, and the details in the water become even more apparent in the winter. Even if not completely frozen, there is a stillness that comes to water in the winter that can be mesmerizing.
Just keep in mind that if the trail to your chosen body of water is ice, you can exchange your snowshoes for ice spikes/traction devices. Ice spikes will provide stability, so you don’t slip on your hike. I like the Yaktrax Summit, but Kahtoola Microspikes also work well. Plus, since the spikes are built for ice, you don’t have to worry about the wear and tear you would get using snowshoes.
Some wanderlust options for frozen snowshoe treks are:
5. Snowshoe a Portion of a Thru-Hike
Completing a thru-hike or long-distance trail is a serious undertaking and an incredible accomplishment! But for those of us not quite up to the task (myself included), you can snowshoe a portion of the trail to get a taste of the experience.
Some thru-segments to check out include:
If you choose, you can even combine this bucket list item with a hut experience!
6. Snowshoe in a Local Natural Area
Bucket lists can often be consumed with far-off destinations (I am guilty of this myself). But, you can also find beauty and new experiences in our backyard.
This winter, choose a natural area, park, or golf course in your town and explore! There have been so many occasions where I’ve been surprised at the beauty just outside my door. Often, you may not even realize it until you strap on your snowshoes after a recent storm and go for a spin.
7. Snowshoe in the Southern Hemisphere
There is no need to worry for those of us who are not summer individuals (I group myself in that category). You can follow winter around the globe and have snowshoe adventures all year long!
8. Snowshoe with Volcanic Rocks
Volcanic rocks and snow? It may sound like those two things don’t go together, but it’s possible!
Iceland is known as the land of fire of ice for a reason, full of glaciers and volcanoes. Remnants of volcanos and volcanic rock along with snow can also be found in the states, including:
Plus, with volcanic activity often comes the option to apres in natural hot springs (just like this incredible adventure in Japan)!
9. Snowshoe Off the Beaten Path
To escape the crowds, try snowshoeing somewhere you haven’t heard of before or given a second thought. These areas can be just as or if not more beautiful – truly untapped wilderness.
Some off the beaten path destinations to explore are:
10. Snowshoe in New Geography
One of the fascinating things about snow is that it changes depending on geography. You may encounter dry, fluffy powder or wet, dense snow, depending on the climate. These varieties of snow can produce a completely different snowshoe experience.
Moreover, each mountain range is unique and thus will offer new landmarks, sights, and experiences. The same can be true for flat or moderate geographies. So this year, if you’re usually drawn to the mountains, head for the plains. Or, try snowshoeing in a new mountain range and climate!
Bonus: Swap the Snow for Sand
As an alternative to snow, try your snowshoes on the sand! Yes, snowshoes can provide stability on the sand, just like they do on snow. To limit the wear and tear on your snowshoes from this new medium, the snowshoe that we recommend for this endeavor is Crescent Moon’s Eva Foam Snowshoe.
What about you? What are some of your snowshoeing trips on your bucket list? Please share with us in the comments below. Or, search for more destinations to add!