Winter Hiking

Wearing my La Sportiva Glacier Evos in icy slush
Wearing my La Sportiva Glacier Evos in icy slush

In the winter, I love to walk, hike, trail run… you name it. I have had several people ask me how I stay active in the winter, and frankly, it is pretty simple. I do exactly what I do in the summer, except with some gear adjustments.

One of my favorite winter activities is snowshoeing, but walking and hiking are definitely on my list of winter activities.

To stay safe when you’re hiking or walking in wet, icy, and snowy areas, you need to make sure you are dressed appropriately, have the appropriate footwear and attachments like YakTraks or Microspikes, and stay nourished and hydrated.

Please take a look at my article on winter hiking and walking tips. If you have other ideas and suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment below. Thanks!


  1. I will add that wearing hiking boots inside your NEOs can sometimes be a tight fit–at least, it is with mine. Sneakers will slip in better, but then you lack the ankle support of boots. Also, boots are usually better insulated than sneakers, so your feet will stay warmer.

  2. Hiking Lady says:

    Excellent tips! I hadn’t heard of NEOs (New England Overshoes) before, but they definitely look like they’d be helpful for winter walking and hiking.

  3. Agreed on all points, in both post and comment. I too have YakTraks, and while they allow me to run on potentially chancy surfaces, they’ve also given me the same problem with the decidedly inferior rubber splitting when kicked against an unseen rock. So lately I’ve been snowshoeing more than running.

    I wear NEOs, New England Overshoes, over my boots or sneakers–they’re waterproof and rugged. I recommend the kind that zips rather than Velcros, because my Velcro-type always end up slipping down my calves, which gets annoying.

    And, as someone pointed out to me, remember the sunscreen! Yes, even in winter. Winter sun reflected from snow can be pretty intense.

  4. Andra says:

    There are a few things I have learned about winter hiking.

    The first being that for winter hiking in my neck of the woods, Yak-Trax are a definite no. While I have never used them myself (I stick with my stabilicers, while most use Microspikes) time after time, we have seen the coils split if hiking on rock that happens to be poking through the ice or snow. We suggest spend a little more money and go with something durable that will give you that security you need.

    Hydration is just as important in winter as it is in summer so you don’t want to be caught with frozen water in the middle of a winter hike or snowshoe. When it is really cold, a tube to protect your hydration hose doesn’t always work or will to a certain point. I add a bit of Gatorade (helps it not to freeze) to my water in a bottle, cover the bottle with a pair of socks, and place it upside down in the backpack pocket. My water has never frozen and I have that extra pair of socks that a hiker should always carry.

    Wearing new high gaiters hiking or snowshoeing will help keep the snow out of your boots plus they are an added layer of warmth to that portion of your legs.

    We will try whatever it takes so we can enjoy being in the mountains on beautiful winter days!

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