Must-Haves for a Successful Winter Hiking Experience | Black Hills Travel Blog

Must-Haves for a Successful Winter Hiking Experience

  • Must-Haves for a Successful Winter Hiking Experience
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
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Winter is not over yet, but with hints of spring popping up all over the Black Hills, it's still a great time to hit the trails and experience a little winter hiking. Taking to the trails in the winter can be a fantastic experience that offers views of the Black Hills you can't see in the summer months. Imagine cresting the top of a hill and seeing miles and miles of snow-capped trees and frozen lakes glistening in the sun. It's an experience unlike any other. However, there are certain safety measures that must be taken and certain equipment that is needed for winter hiking. Use the following essentials as your preliminary checklist to help ensure your best winter hike!

Layers of Clothes
Weather in South Dakota can change rapidly and suddenly, especially in the Black Hills. Make sure you wear layers of clothes that you can take off if it gets too hot or put on if it gets too cold. Coats, sweatshirts, leggings, and snow pants are all your best friends here, and even multiple pairs of socks in case it gets extremely cold or wet.

Warm Accessories
Lightweight fleece, wool gloves, and hats are crucial when hiking in the Black Hills in the winter. It's important to have accessories that'll help keep you not only warm but also dry if it happens to be snowing while you're hiking. A scarf wouldn't be a bad idea, either.

Insulated Hiking Boots
Winter hiking in the Black Hills can be wet, muddy, and on the rare occasion, even dry. Trail conditions can vary throughout the season, so it's essential to have proper footwear for all types of weather. Having an insulated pair will help ensure that your feet stay warm and dry while you're hiking.

Water & Snacks
Water is crucial when hiking in any type of weather or season, and winter is no different. Be sure to pack plenty of water and healthy snacks, such as granola bars and dried fruit.

Traction Aids
Hiking in the winter can sometimes prove difficult if the trail is snow-packed or icy. Having traction aids such as snowshoes, crampons, or microspikes may be handy, depending on the trail you'll be hiking on. Some fantastic views are just waiting over that hill, as long as you have the proper hiking gear to get over it without getting stuck in the snow.

Other important tools to bring along with you include a first aid kit, a map, a compass, a flashlight (even if you don't intend on being gone at dark), a whistle, fire starting materials, sunglasses and sunscreen, and toilet paper. Yes, even toilet paper. Be sure to plan for any possible scenario and have the supplies you need if a snow storm moves in while you're on the trail.

If you follow these tips, you can be sure to enjoy breathtaking trails in the Black Hills all winter long!


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