There are those among Vermonters that brave the elements no matter what Mother Nature throws their way. They thrive in the majesty that are our parks, forests, and mountains. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Vermont offers a variety of hiking trails that remain open year-round. If you are considering hiking during the winter months in Vermont, here are some tips to stay warm and safe while enjoying the scenery.

If you haven’t checked out our blog post all about Layering from February, there is a lot of information about how to stay warm if you have decided to take a winter hike. Layers are incredibly important no matter the time of year, but especially in the colder winter months. Many times the temperature at the base of the mountain is warmer than the top. A good rule to follow is to wear (and pack) more layers than you think you’ll need; you can always take layers off, you can’t put on what you don’t have.

Aside from making sure you have warm layers, having the right stuff in your pack will assure that you have fun and stay safe while out on the trails. Water should be number one on your packing list. It’s important to replace fluids lost due to sweating. While using hydration systems with tubes during the warmer months is great, during the colder months, water freezes in the tubes and prevents you from getting the water you need. A wide mouth water bottle, such as this one from Hydroflask, is a better option, plus you can add a little hot water to your cold water and prevent it from freezing on you. If you’re going for a day hike, bring at least 2 quarts (64 ounces) with you.

Other items that should find a home in your pack before you strike out are an emergency blanket, food and high energy snacks, extra socks and warm clothes, a headlamp, a map of the area you’ll be hiking in and a compass, pocket knife, first aid kit, trash bag (not only to bring your trash off the trail, but it can double as a poncho if need be), whistle, your cell phone with backup power pack, lighter, and sunglasses.

Guidebooks are extremely handy for hiking, no matter the time of year. We carry Green Mountain Club guidebooks both in our brick and mortar and web stores. They provide a wealth of information from folks that are as passionate about hiking as you are. The authors make great recommendations based on the length of the hike you want to take and on which trails you can take your four-legged friends. Plus, guidebooks can double as your map (which one isn’t dependent on whether your phone has a battery charge or signal!).

Vermont has many scenic vistas and beautiful trails that shouldn’t be confined to use only during the summer months. Whether it’s hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling, Vermont has much to offer the outdoor enthusiast. Be safe, stay warm, and enjoy!