The Off Season

What’s the best thing to do when the weather isn’t good for hiking?

Much like sports, hiking and other outdoor activities often have an off season. There’s a lot of good ways to use this time, especially the nicer days.

During the fall, it’s still a great time to enjoy nice outdoor activities, even when the mountain peaks or canyons might get too snowy or hazardous. Simpler activities like walks, jogs, or even frisbee golf are a great way to explore overlooked parks and other scenic areas that could be only a short drive away from your home.

My favorite thing to do during the cold and snowy months is to plan ahead and figure out what trips I might want to do next year. Some, like visiting certain caves, require advance reservations. I've heard backpacking national parks, special hiking permits, and some campsites also require similar reservations and fill up months in advance. It's fun to dream big and think up fun trips that could be possible next year.

Once the snow hits, there’s often a lot of relaxed fun nearby. Ice skating, ice castles, and Christmas light walks, to name a few. If you're feeling more adventurous, you could also try some winter outdoor activities. There’s cheaper alternatives to ski resorts if you want to get out and enjoy the winter wonderland of the mountains. Renting snowshoes won't cost you much more than going to a movie would, and often gives you a view that you won't find elsewhere.

So even if it is the off season for hiking, that’s no reason to stay cooped up and restless inside. Nature might be tougher as winter hits, but it's still out there and waiting for those bold enough to seek its beauty.