From Colorado to Oregon to Maine, these incredible winter hiking trails offer beautiful views, wildlife-spotting opportunities, and fewer crowds.

If you have a habit of stashing your hiking boots the moment cooler temperatures arrive, you’ve been missing out. In the winter, the nation’s best hiking trails clear out and you can walk for miles without seeing another soul. Strap on a pair of snowshoes and stomp across glittering, snow-covered fields, or avoid the snow entirely and head south, where you’ll find plenty of dry terrain that’s too hot to brave in the summer.

The secret to winter hiking is making sure you have the gear necessary to stay warm, kick through snow, and outsmart the sun. Appropriate footwear and versatile lightweight layers are key. And since the days are shorter, you’ll want to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to finish your hike before darkness falls and the views you came for disappear.

To get you started, here are some favorite winter hiking trails…

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