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10 Killer Winter Trips for Outdoor Adventures


Winter brings with it a whole host of conditions that either deter people from getting out of bed or invite the bold to seek out a new adventure. A couple weeks back I was one of the bold when I hit the Milwaukee Road Trail with my bike in 3 inches of power. Crisp mountain air coupled with beautiful bridges and twisted tunnels made for a sick ride in the snow. It was a fantastic trip on short notice and with almost no money out of pocket. Take advantage of the season with these 10 winter destinations perfect for outdoor adventures.

Troy Smith | Flickr

Goldbug Hot Springs, Idaho

This natural hot spring sits tucked away deep in the mountains just south of Salmon, Idaho. The trail itself sits on 4 miles of pristine national forest land rarely traversed in the winter. Depending upon weather conditions visitors may need a pair of snowshoes in order to reach the springs. After clawing your way 2 miles up 1350ft of mountain terrain, reward yourself with a perfect soak in the hot spring. Camping is permitted as long as tents are at least 500 feet from the springs. Be sure to pack appropriately for the weather and bring plenty of fuel to keep the body moving.

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Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

The only thing better than seeing Old Faithful is seeing it on a snowy day. Huge advantages include far fewer crowds, beautiful clouds creating mystical views, and enjoying a nice cup of cocoa at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. Old Faithful is actually just one of nearly 500 geysers the park itself has to offer. (1) While you’re in the area enjoy beautiful day hikes as you explore the Upper & Midway Geyser Basins. Yellowstone is perfect for cross-country skiing.

Larry Johnson | Flickr

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole is the number one location in the U.S. for skiers is not a title earned lightly. (2) With well over 100 trails and 2,500 acres of land to explore there is room for you, your grandma, your dog, and your next-door neighbor Tim. The resort offers whole hosts of winter activities that run the gamut from simple sleigh rides to paragliding. One advantage of this location is that the town itself holds weekly events and festivals to get a break from the cold winter nights.

Nic McPhee | Flickr

Denali National Park, Alaska

Denali NP comes alive in the winter when the dogs rule the night and snow-capped mountains tower over the sleepy Anchorage, Alaska. Visitors will find fewer crowds and more open spaces to explore. The park offers free snowshoe rentals and fantastic trails for both skiing and mountain biking. For the brave of heart, winter campsites offer the perfect retreat and the opportunity of a lifetime to spend nights in the barren Alaskan wilderness. Stop by at the right time and you will catch wicked views of the northern lights, nature’s greatest light show.

Kieth Kendrick | Flickr

Utah Olympic Park, Park City

Relive the classic 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah Olympic Park! Still used today as an official U.S. Olympic Training Site, the park features 6 Nordic ski jumps, a sliding track, and a museum to celebrate the 2002 Olympics. The site is open year-round to visitors and offers many different types of winter activities. Adventures include an outdoor obstacle course, zipline, bobsled experience, and guided tours of the 400-acre facility.

Aaron Logan | Flickr

Mount Hood, Oregon

Visit Mount Hood this winter—the only year-round ski resort in North America that also happens to be an inactive volcano. Home to 11 glaciers and numerous mountain lakes, Mount Hood has something to offer for everyone. Visitors in the spring can dance through fields of mountain wildflowers. In the summer apples, pears, and berries grow in abundance. Mount Hood offers some of the very best trails and winter camps for hikers and bikers as the worlds 2nd most climbed mountain. (3)

kcxd | Flickr

Whistler, British Columbia

With over 100 miles of pristine mountain trails, Whistler is a snow skiing paradise! Famous for hosting the 2010 Olympic games, visitors can lose themselves in a new adventure every day. Lost Lake Park inside of Whistler offers unique opportunities for night skiing, snowshoeing, and fantastic views of Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains. Hit the historic Callaghan country for fat tire biking, cross-country skiing, and a relaxing trail side bonfire.

Reno Tahoe | Flickr

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Nevada

Over 1,200 acres of snow packed mountains and 60+ trails call Mt. Rose home. Located just 10 minutes from Lake Tahoe’s north shore and 25 minutes from Reno, Mt. Rose is the perfect ski getaway with affordable housing nearby. The resort offers features for both beginners and the most advanced. With 3 separate terrain parks, skiers and snowboarders can get airborne on box jumps, rails, and pipes. The Chutes offer 200+ acres of steep mountain trails for beautiful mountain vistas.

Dennis Yang | Flickr

Grand Targhee Ski Resort, Wyoming

While Sun Valley may be America’s first modern ski resort, Grand Targhee offers more total acres at cheaper ticket prices. (4) With over 500” of annual snowfall, fresh powder along 90+ runs means more for your money. Just a short drive west from the Tetons, this often overlooked resort offers a wide variety of winter adventures. Events include a sleigh ride dinner, back country and snowmobile tours, horseback riding, disc golf, fat biking, and of course some of the best skiing in the west.

Troy Smith | Flickr

Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana

Located just west of Glacier National Park, Whitefish Resort offers over 100 marked trails along with 3,000 acres of explorable terrain. Hellfire, the most advanced run the resort offers, is a 3.3-mile long journey along the backside ridge around large pine and spruce trees. Stay at a rustic Montana cabin overnight while you enjoy the beautiful landscape featuring views of both the Flathead Valley and Glacier NP.

These trips are just the tip of the iceberg. Be sure to come back for more killer winter destinations and travel tips.

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