By Lindsay Davies from ivebeenbit.ca

 

For many people, the thought of winter is shudder-inducing. Here in Canada, winter is a stark reality. Rather than groaning about the chilly temperatures, I suggest making the most of it! One of the ways I do this? Hiking! Here are six reasons why hiking in the winter is seriously awesome.

 

There are a lot less people.

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Many explorers haven’t caught on to the fact that winter is actually cool (pun intended) and as such, the trails you know and love will be a lot less crowded. Off-season is also a great time to check out trails that you may avoid due to large crowds in the warmer months. I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of not having to share nature. You can’t beat the feeling of having a breathtaking vista all to yourself.

 

It allows you to access areas you may not be able to in the warmer months.

photoLindsay Davies

Cold temperatures freeze lakes and rivers. This can create pathways to new experiences, like in Kelowna’s Bear Creek Provincial Park. While the campsites are closed, a stint of cold weather will allow you to walk up the creek until you reach the park’s frozen waterfalls. You can’t do that in the summer! The Northwest Territories takes it to the next level with their famous ice roads that connect communities throughout the winter months.

 

There are zero bugs.

photoLindsay Davies

I think this one is self-explanatory. As someone who is continuously eaten alive, it’s one of the main reasons I adore winter hiking.

 

You get to see a destination in a new light.

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Returning to a destination in the winter months allows you to gain a new perspective. For example, it’s only when the temperatures drop that the Athabasca River freezes over, allowing visitors to walk along the base of Jasper’s iconic Maligne Canyon. While you can enjoy its beauty from the lookouts above in the warmer months, you get a whole new appreciation as you see the canyon walls towering above you.

 

Hiking in the winter is easier on your body.

photoLindsay Davies

You may not realize it, but snow is a natural cushion. It makes hiking easier on your body meaning you can hike longer and further than you might in the warmer months. This makes winter a great time to start getting in shape. You can even use this to work on your stamina so you can tackle harder hikes once the spring melt is long gone!

 

It’s good for you.

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Yes, even on those chilly winter days, getting outside is good for your health. Studies show that spending 120 minutes a week in the outdoors is associated with lowering your chances of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and more. Not only is spending time in the outdoors good for your physical health, but it’s also good for your mind. More time spent in nature is said to reduce negative emotions such as anxiety, depression and even insomnia.

 

The next time a friend suggests hitting the trails once the snow has fallen, give it a go instead of groaning about the cold temperatures. Before you know it, you just might even begin to enjoy the winter season! If you’re looking for more snowy fun, these winter activities will have you embracing the colder months.

 

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