The Top Winter Camping Destinations In The U.S.
When cold weather hits and snow flurries start to set in as the new normal for the next couple of months, not everyone heads to Florida for the sunshine and sandy beaches. Some outdoors enthusiasts head into the cold and snow blanketed wilderness in search for the best places to camp in the winter. Below is a compiled list of the best winter camping destinations you could find for your next camping adventure!
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Mt. Hood, Oregon
Less than a ½ hour away from Portland, Mt. Hood is the perfect destination when it comes to camping during the winter months. Mt. Hood National Forest spans for 60 miles South of the Columbia River Gorge and is filled with trees, lakes, streams, and everything in between. Mt. Hood during the winter is sure to leave you speechless. There’s something so delicate about seeing an entire forest coated in a thick blanket of snow. And being able to camp and experience the delicate beauty of Mt. Hood National Forest under a blanket of snow should be on your bucket list. There are a variety of activities to keep you busy if you don’t go explore the forest and surrounding area. Snowboarding or skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding are just some activities that are available to do in Mt. Hood during the winter months.
Utah (Basically Anywhere)
Utah is beautiful to explore, no matter the season. So, when it comes to camping in the winter, a good place to check out is somewhere in Utah. Whether it’s one the five national parks that Utah is home too, those being Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands. Or any of the other hot spots throughout this beautiful state, such as Moab or Strawberry Reservoir. Utah is filled with diverse scenery, that is only accentuated in the beauty that winter brings. Whether you’re experiencing the reds and oranges of the striking desert landscape, or the various pine forests and mountain valleys, or maybe the salt flats up North, Utah provides you with plenty of landscape to be mesmerized with when it’s blanketed in snow. Not to mention, it’s a favorite place for those who love various winter activities.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
The best time recommended visiting this national park is during the winter months. Pictured Rocks, located on the south shore of Lake Superior, in Michigan, is known for its multi-colored sandstone cliffs, and various waterfalls. Visiting this incredible park during the winter months will provide you the opportunity to see the various parts of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore covered in a layer of snow and ice. That includes iconic places within the park such as Miner’s Castle or the Grand Sable Dunes. Another popular, yet an adventurous activity that so many come during this time of year for is ice climbing, along with the usual winter activities.
Death Valley National Park, California
This national park lives up to its name, to say the least. Death Valley is known as the hottest and driest national park in the country, reaching record temperatures during the summer months. Not only is this the largest national park in the continental U.S., but it’s also home to the lowest point in the nation. Badwater Basin, which stands 282 feet below sea level. During the winter, the desert provides more bearable temperatures, making it the best time of the year to go explore all the diverse landscapes. Whether you choose to go scope out the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes or climb the summit of Telescope Peak, winter is the perfect season to spend some time in Death Valley and catch a few sunsets without dealing with the crazy heat.
Arizona (Basically Anywhere Also)
During the winter months, Arizona becomes a favorite winter destination for camping. Arizona has some incredibly diverse landscape, from towering sandstone rock formations for rock climbing and desert for miles and miles, to dense forests and mountainous valleys. Summers in Arizona can be immensely hot, but during the winter, the temperatures drop drastically which gives many people the opportunity to keep exploring the stunning landscape through the winter months as well. What is important for rock climbing is that you always have proper climbing equipment with you such as climbing rope, climbing helmets, carabiners, etc.
Arizona is filled with great places for camping during the Winter. From Arizona’s 4 national parks, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Saguaro, and Monument Valley, to some other great spots in this radiant state, such as Sedona, or Coconino National Forest. Arizona during the winter has fewer crowds since it’s considered off-season. For those heading to Arizona during the winter off-season, then it’s the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the many outdoors activities that are done during the spring and fall. Not to mention, Arizona has some of the best desert sunsets you’ll ever see.
Rocky Mountain National Park
When it comes to the topic of winter camping, one of the first places that come to mind is Rocky Mountain National park located in Colorado. Since this state is already home to so many outdoor activities, it only makes sense that this is one of the top winter camping destinations. Rocky Mountain National Park offers incredible landscapes including numerous mountain ranges, forests, rivers, and lakes. While the Rocky Mountains themselves are covered with snow year-round, the rest of the park is not.
During the winter, the incredible views within the Rocky Mountains only become more magical covered in snow. For some, the Rocky Mountains are preferred to be explored during the winter because it’s less crowded, yet the landscape and wilderness are still just as alive as during the summer months. No matter whether you choose to check out Long’s Peak, which is the tallest peak in the park, or Bear Lake, choosing to experience the park during the winter will be well worth the preparation!
Happy exploring and finding your favorite winter camping destination!