National Parks Great for Snowshoeing-Part 1

We are excited to be bringing this new series to you here on the Yukon blog! This is the first of three posts featuring National Parks that are great for snowshoeing. Keep your eyes peeled for parts 2 & 3!

Anyone who loves snowshoeing is fully aware of the sport’s growing popularity. Many folks also enjoy our National Park system. However, many sports enthusiasts might not be aware that most of the National Parks remain open for snowshoeing on a year-round basis.

So, you have the chance to experience the best of all worlds. Not only can you visit a National Park when virtually no one else is there, but you can snowshoe throughout the deserted beautiful lands and see how any snow-covered National Park might have looked a hundred years ago. Here are just a few of our National Parks available for your snowshoeing adventure.

Before you go, always check the road conditions and entrances for any unexpected changes. The National Park Service (NPS) website site has that information.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia NPS

Our journey starts in the far northeastern portion of the United States. Located along the beautiful Atlantic Coastline, Acadia National Park has 45 miles of carriage roads available for snowshoe enthusiasts.

John D. Rockefeller financed the design and construction of the carriage roads over a century ago. Built to transport wealthy folks visiting Mount Desert Island, the roads spotlighted the most scenic views in the park. Needless to say, you’re going to want to bring your camera.

Expect to share the trail with cross-country skiers and please avoid snowshoeing in cross-country ski tracks. If your pup comes along, the park asks that you keep him off the ski tracks as well. Snowshoeing is not allowed outside of the carriage roads because the other trails are mainly located on slick, granite surfaces with a little snow on top.

Know Before You Go

  • Winter camping is only available at Blackwoods Campground
  • Ice Fishing is popular at Acadia
  • Prepare for early darkness
  • Trail Difficulty: Mostly Easy, Some Moderate Portions

North Country National Scenic Trail – Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin

North Country Trail Photo Cred Keith Meyers

Photo credit: Keith Meyers via North Country Scenic Trail Association

The North Country Trail stretches from New York to North Dakota. Minnesota has one of the hardest snowshoeing trails along the 65-mile Border Route Trail. However, the Mesabi Trail has 152 miles of easy snowshoeing trails.

The Border Route does not require permits, but make sure to tell someone where you plan to snowshoe. You’ll enjoy the solitude, but maybe bring your dog for company.

The Mesabi Trail has numerous entries that give you access to the trail at many different points. Enjoy treks through old railroad beds and logging and mining roads. Snowshoe alongside rivers with rapids, or beside creeks. Acres of rolling hills wind through forests and provide access to fishing, camping, food and lodging along the Mesabi Trail.

Know Before You Go

  • Do not attempt the Border Route trails without extensive experience
  • Check each park’s condition before heading out
  • Trail Difficulty: Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Extreme

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Snowshoeing Yellowstone

Photo credit:  @aggyferrari + @elninocamo

Yellowstone National Park offers something for everyone who wants a snowshoe adventure. A couple of easy trails are great for beginners or just to stretch your legs. Most of the park contains moderately difficult trails, with a couple of hard trails tossed in for fun.Buffalo in Yellowstone

For a quick day trek, snowshoe along the geysers at Porcelain Basin located within the North Geyser Basin. Make the .9-mile loop which is a great trail for introducing kids to snowshoeing. Enjoy a view of the hot springs or geysers. See wildflowers, wildlife, and birds along the trail.

More experienced trekkers will enjoy snowshoeing the 7.7-mile long Barronette Ski Trail near Silver Gate. Snowshoe your way through the forest to see the gorgeous ice waterfalls and views of Barronette Peak.

Know Before You Go

  • Numerous hot springs make snow conditions unpredictable
  • Pick up your free snowshoe and backcountry/overnight permit at the Ranger Station
  • Camping is allowed, with conditions
  • Trail Difficulty: Easy, Intermediate, Difficult. Take care near geysers

Crater Lake National Park, Crater Lake, Oregon

Snowshoeing Crater Lake

Snowshoe Crater Lake National Park‘s entire rim if you have the time and experience. 33 miles encircle one of the world’s prettiest lakes. Plan to allow about three to five days for your snowshoe hike around the rim.

If a day trip is more your style, start at the Rim Village visitor center and snowshoe four miles to Watchman Peak. Keep in mind, that is four miles one-way, so you might want to plan on camping overnight. Another day trail starts at Rim Village and heads four miles to Hillman Peak. If you take the Avalanche Detour, it is a five-mile trek.

Snowshoe the Rim Drive if you prefer an easier journey. If you feel up to the challenge, the amazing views along the actual rim are worth the effort. Watch out for cornices.

Know Before You Go

  • Average annual snowfall is 44 feet
  • Pick up your free snowshoe and backcountry/overnight permit at the Ranger Station
  • Camping is allowed along the rim, with conditions
  • Trail Difficulty: Intermediate to Difficult. Be careful and avoid avalanches.

No matter what area of the country you plan to be, take your snowshoe gear along. You will discover some of the most beautiful snowshoeing trails in the country’s hottest states. Arizona’s Grand Canyon offers stunning winter views. California’s Yosemite is one of the world’s top destinations for winter activities including snowshoeing.

Always prepare for unexpected emergencies and bring flares and a whistle. Cell phone coverage typically does not extend very far into the National Park System.