Best Places for Winter Outdoor Activities

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A new list from Outside magazine recommends some of the nation’s top spots for a winter vacation.

From hiking to a lodge in California to riding a gravel bike in Arizona, Outside magazine composed a list of some of the best places to take a winter trip.

Here are some of the places the magazine recommended: 

Hiking to a Scenic California Lodge

If you want to backpack to a remote place and spend the night but are not interested in sleeping on the ground, Outside magazine recommends the West Point Inn. The inn is a rustic backcountry hotel on a ridge atop California’s Mount Tamalpais, less than an hour north of San Francisco. To get to the inn, you’ll hike or bike 2 miles from Mount Tamalpais State Park, near the town of Mill Valley, on a path once used by a historic scenic railway, the list says.

Ski Camping in Colorado’s Backcountry 

Bluebird Backcountry is a ski area on private land outside of Steamboat Springs. In lieu of crowded lift lines and fancy lodges, you’ll get guided backcountry outings, avalanche-training courses, warming huts and a limited number of guests on the mountain each day, the list says. Also, 12 new trails are opening this winter, the magazine says, offering more than 1,200 acres of avalanche-managed terrain. 

Spotting Sea Turtles on the Barrier Islands in Florida

Cayo Costa State Park is one of Florida’s largest and most stunning undeveloped barrier islands and is only reachable by boat or kayak, according to the magazine. 

Here, you can either pitch a tent or book a cabin from the state park’s campground. The winter temperatures there are ideal for camping, plus the mosquitoes are less prevalent, the list says. 

On the island you can collect shells from the 9 miles of unspoiled beaches, spot sea turtles nesting, fish for redfish, snook and trout, rent bikes and kayaks from the camp store or hike on the island that has 6 miles of hiking trails.  

Skiing and Snowshoeing in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming

Although most of the park’s roads close in early November, leaving the landscape to the elk and bison—and to cross-country skiers and snowshoers, select roads reopen in mid-December, Outside.

The roads will open to snowmobiles and snow coaches, providing unique access to the famous geyser Old Faithfuland other Yellowstone park sites, as well as enabling outfitters to run winter wildlife tours and photo safaris to capture sightings of bison, elk and wolves, the list says.

Riding Dirt Bikes in the Arizona Desert

For those looking to travel to a warmer area for their winter getaway, Outside recommends heading north of the Mexican border to the small town of Patagonia, Arizona, a place Velo News calls the “new gravel mecca.”

The mid-winter temperatures tend to be in the 60s, which is perfect for riding bikes, Outside says. 

While you are here, you can sign up for the Gravel House’s guided gravel rides or wine tours by bike all winter long. And if you are not into gravel riding, you can hike, trail run or mountain bike a section of the 800-mile Arizona Trail, which passes through town, the list says. 

If you want to see the other winter trips Outside magazine recommended click here.

Andre Claudio is the assistant editor for Route Fifty

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