What to Wear for Winter Hikes

Hiking is one of the most common summer activities in Blue Ridge, but cold winter weather doesn't mean you can't still enjoy this popular pastime. In fact, some might argue that waterfall hikes are even more beautiful when the water is frozen! The secret to winter hiking is staying warm, and the secret to staying warm is layering—and knowing what to pack. We break it down for you below.

1. Start with a base layer

You'll need a warm, wicking layer to start. Long sleeves on top, and leggings or tights on the bottom!


2. Add a smart, insulated mid layer

For this step, fabric choice is key. While certain materials like wool and down start out warm, they won't retain heat once they get wet from snow or sweat. You'll also want a layer that dries quickly, which rules them out again. Think about a lightweight puffy jacket with synthetic insulation or a mid-weight fleece jacket. Lightweight fleece pants or long johns make a great additional bottom layer if you get cold easily.

3. Top it all off with an outer layer

Remember that you want your outer layer to be waterproof and breathable. Plenty of outerwear advertises this, which makes it easy to find a jacket to meet your needs. For your outer layer bottoms, try softshell hiking pants or breathable rain pants with leg vents. Ski or snowboard pants will also work.


4. Don't forget your feet

Waterproof hiking boots are probably your best bet for winter hiking. Wool socks will help retain heat, but you'll have to make sure they don't get wet with snow. That's where a pair of gaiters will come in handy to bridge the gap between the top of your boots and the bottom of your pants. Nobody wants snowy socks! For especially deep snow, consider opting for snowshoes. If you're only dealing with moderate snow, cleat-like traction devices will do.


5. Finishing touches

Of course, you'll want a pair of gloves—maybe even two—to keep your hands warm. One lightweight pair of fleece gloves covered by insulated, waterproof gloves will do the trick. As a final touch, a neck warmer or fleece buff will keep you nice and toasty!

Now that you know what to pack, there's no stopping you from hitting the hiking trails this winter! All you need now is a reservation for your winter getaway in the mountains!