The wind howls. The snow falls. Winter may seem an inhospitable time of year, but between the storms, there are moments of stillness and peace that can be hard to find.
Over the course of several blogs, I’ve identified good gear, good preparation techniques, and good survival tips for winter camping. At the same time, it’s certainly not worth sinking hundreds of dollars into camping gear to tromp around your backyard in the snow. With that, here are some of the best places to visit in the winter in the United States.
Ash Grove Resort
Let’s start out with a campground in my home state of North Carolina: Ash Grove. Don’t let the moniker of “resort” fool you; the nature is plentiful. Offering both cabin and tent options year round, Ash Grove offers lovely secluded sites at whatever level you feel comfortable. Take in scenic waterfalls or just enjoy a romantic weekend alone with your significant other.
Located in Utah, Bryce Canyon is a testament to the power of nature. Erosion has shaped the canyon into a series of stone spires, or hoodoos, that decorate the landscape. However, these surreal structures were created not by the flow of a river, like many valleys, but by frost melting and forcing stones apart. Grab your snowshoes and enjoy beautiful vistas of white capped rocks.
What’s grey and white and red all over?
Yosemite National Park
Carved into existence by glaciers, Yosemite is a profoundly ancient place, with some tree species capable of surviving multiple millennia. Among the fir and sequoia trees lie numerous hiking trails and lots of sights to take in. Watch rivers full of ice flow down waterfalls, or marvel at Yosemite’s unusual rock formations.
Definitely not to be confused with the operating system.
Regular campsites are available, but Yosemite allows backpacking for the more adventurous traveler. With over 750 miles of trail to explore, there’s plenty of room to spread out, explore, and reconnect with nature.
Acadia National Park
Back to the east coast, we travel to Maine for a look at Acadia National Park. In the winter, miles of roads close and become prime territory for cross country skiers and snowshoers. The park, located on the coast, is stunning any season of the year, but particularly so in winter, when snow blankets its forests for months at a time.
Over the river and through the woods…
One of the biggest draws of Acadia is the diversity of the terrain. From sandy beaches to rocky cliffs and deep forests, Acadia is a wonderful cross section of the natural phenomena that make America beautiful.
Here’s another one for the avid backpacker; the mountains that serve as the namesake for a line of popular camping products. Here, winter camping isn’t just an option; it’s a recommendation. Maintained by hikers as a haven for the errant outdoorsman, the trail stretches over 200 miles through northern Arkansas.
Pass by a variety of streams, including the country’s first recreational river, as you proceed down the trail. The trail is very open to travelers and welcomes all who visit without the need to obtain a permit.