When you want to exercise during the winter, there are few better ways to challenge yourself than snowshoeing.
And while the mountains of New England have their charm, you'll find some of the country's best snowshoeing destinations west of the Rocky Mountains.
Here are 10 of those locations, courtesy of the outdoors blog Bearfoot Theory.
- Bryce Canyon, Utah
During the winter, this high altitude desert provides an amazing visual contrast: white snow against the park's majestic orange peaks. The crowds are sparse and the lodging is inexpensive in wintertime, and most of the park's trails stay open and even unplowed for skiers and snowshoers. If you're feeling especially brave, plan your tour around a full moon and take a self-guided or ranger-led nighttime hike.
- Rocky Mountain National Park
With over 355 miles of trails to hike, this Colorado park is a perfect snowshoeing spot. You'll find the best conditions above 9,000 feet, where the snow is deep. On your inaugural visit, check out Estes Park and the Bear Lake Trailhead, which leads to Emerald Lake, "a frozen, bowl-shaped lake backed by the 12,713 foot Hallet Peak. You'll travel through an alpine forest with amazing views of the mountains.
- Castle Rocks State Park
Based in Idaho, this park --home to the "City of Rocks" -- is more famous for its rock climbing opportunities. But there are a number of trails to pick, including the five-mile Castle Rocks Loop, which allows you to see much of the park's grandeur on your trek.
- Ponderosa State Park
Also based in Idaho, this is another chance for an after-dark hike, offered only by Blue Mountain Outfitters. Your guide leads you along Lake Payette to a cozy hut deep in the park. There, you'll be offered a delicious four course meal.
- Mount Rose Peak
Mount Rose is an extinct volcano on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. It's a challenging 10 mile hike, but with a great pay-off: you'll get an amazing panoramic look at Tahoe when you hit the mountaintop.
- Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park
This California park is notable for its granite rocks and mountain faces, and always open for snowshoeing in the winter. Start at Badger Ridge Pass Ranger Station and make the seven-mile trip to the top of Dewey Point to see some of Yosemite's most astounding rock formations.
- Mount Rainier
With an elevation of more than 14,000 feet, Washington's Mount Rainier is one of the 20 highest peaks in the United States. Still, it offers snowshoeing opportunities for people of all experience levels. If you feel daring, camp out along Reflection and Louise Lakes to view breathtaking sunrises and views of the mountain and the nearby Tatoosh Range.
- Lily Lake Ski Area
You'll find this snowshoeing destination about two hours from Salt Lake City, deep in the Ulintas Wilderness. The Bear River Outdoor Recreation Alliance keeps a few backcountry yurts accessible by snowshoe.
- Sandia Crest
When you think of New Mexico, you might picture flat, dry deserts. But just outside Albuquerque you'll find the Sandia Mountains, home to snowshoe trails that range from a half mile to 30 miles long. Just make sure you check the snow report before you go.
- Yellowstone National Park
This national treasure in Wyoming closes most of its roads in winter, but that doesn't mean you can't explore on snowshoe. Keep a look out for wildlife, and of course, the park's famous geysers.
And of course, be careful no matter where you go snowshoeing. Part of being careful is having the right protective eyewear.
That’s why sport sunglasses are so important. Since 1929, Liberty Sport has been making sport protective eyewear to handle the rigors of all sorts of athletic activities.
Snowshoe enthusiasts should check out the Switch Sunglasses Pathfinder and Stormrider models, which come with built-in multisport technology. These glasses come with built-in eyecups, protecting you from blistering winds and blocking harmful debris.
All Switch kits include:
- 1 magnetic interchange chassis
- 1 pair of lenses (polarized)
- 2 pair of Magnetic Eyecups
- 1 hard case
- 1 eyecup pouch
Pay us a visit before you embark on your next snowshoeing journey. Happy trails!