Here’s a little secret you might not know: Snowshoeing in the winter is WAY better than hiking in the summer. In winter, there’s no bugs, no oppressive heat, no crowds, and you are treated to a peaceful, beautiful wintry landscape. And all the training you need is to know how to walk. Once you get some experience snowshoeing, set your sights on these difficult, but extremely rewarding, snowshoe adventures.
CARIBOU MOUNTAIN, MAINE
This difficult trail through the dense pine forests of the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness tops out on the summit of 2,850-foot Caribou Mountain, straddling the Maine-New Hampshire border. The trip is 5.4 miles round-trip, and has a long, steady elevation gain of nearly 2,000 feet, but the views from the summit are breathtaking.
MOUNT GREYLOCK, MASSACHUSETTS
During the summer and early fall, crowds often overwhelm Massachusetts’ highest peak, where people can drive to the summit. But in the winter, you can often feel like you are alone. Take the Gould Trail on the east side of Greylock. At the summit, you’ll enjoy the views of the valleys to the west and surrounding Berkshire Hills.
BURNT MOUNTAIN, VERMONT
In the state’s Northeast Kingdom, remote Burnt Mountain features a steep, strenuous shoe to the top of its 2,800-foot peak. Round-trip, the trail is 4.6 miles, and you likely won’t see any crowds. But you will enjoy the views from its bare peak, from which on a clear day you can see Mount Mansfield and Lake Champlain.
CHAMPNEY FALLS, NEW HAMPSHIRE
One of the most popular summertime hikes in the White Mountains, you’ll still see other people in winter, but not as many. You’ll hike nearly 3 miles to the falls, which in winter become beautiful, frozen walls of ice. If you want, continue on another nearly 5 miles (and 1,700 feet of elevation) to enjoy the view from Mount Chocorua.
CHIMNEY POND, MAINE
One of the most difficult, remote snowshoeing adventures in New England, it’s a two-day trek to the pond, which sits at the foot of Mount Katahdin. You need to plan months in advance to stay in the bunkhouse or lean-tos, but the amazing scenery and dramatic wilderness are worth it.
MOUNT MONADNOCK, NEW HAMPSHIRE
It seems almost every New Englander has climbed Monadnock. But in winter? The steep White Cross Trail is a challenging climb, and beware of the dangerous icy sections near the top. But on a clear day, the view from the summit is one of the very best in the Northeast.
MOUNT MOOSALAMOO, VERMONT
This long trek – 7.7 miles round-trip – will challenge your endurance. It features brook crossings, lots of woods, climbing and a steep descent. But from the top of 2,640-foot Moosalamoo are great views of the lake-dotted area below.