The Best Winter Hikes Right Now

In the United States, it’s only been six months since someone last cursed the “polar vortex.” describes this meteorological term politely: “a large pocket of very cold air, typically the coldest air in the Northern Hemisphere, which sits over the polar region during the winter season.” In laymen’s terms, “polar vortex” is a miserably frigid experience that discourages all outdoor activity. It swooped down last winter and rocked the United States.

That miserably cold experience may be back. In early November, on our @Monkee_es Twitter handle, one of our followers, @TaylorMaavara, tweeted to us about having to cancel his climbing trip to New River Gorge in West Virginia due to cold temperatures and dangerous, snowy roads.

The month only got worse. Thirteen states set November records for electric demands, according to And of course, there is Buffalo, N.Y., which received five feet of snow on Nov. 19. Three more feet was expected through Thursday and Friday, according to USA Today.

Yet, we can’t help being optimistic. Where are the best winter hikes right now?

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Garden of the Gods, Colorado

Not to be confused with this Garden of the Gods in Illinois, this Colorado area has been earning some well deserved press lately. MSN named it one of the top seven “stunning winter hikes.”

Their reasoning: “There are many trails to try in the Garden of the Gods. Depending on conditions, easy walks include the Perkins Central Garden Trail or the Siamese Twins Trail. The dramatic views of towering rock formations among a snow-capped Pikes Peak.”

50th Annual Winter Hike at Hocking Hills

There’s something very poetic about the “50th annual” of anything. It’s why this event in Ohio feels even more magical. Around 5,000 hikers will gather on Jan. 17, 2015 to march on in the face of winter at the Hocking Hills State Park Campground. Let the warmth of that crowd fuel you in this two-hour event.

Arkaquah Trail, Georgia

While the first two suggestions embrace winter weather, this trail in Georgia is in a more mild climate--though cold winds could smack in the face. According to, the area’s appeal in winter is its clarity: “The forest’s fallen leaves offer better winter views than any other season.” Find out more about this trail and other Georgia trails here.