Winter has technically ended and spring is here, but that doesn’t mean the snow’s gone. And everybody knows what that means…more winter hikes in the mountains!
Here are my favorite winter hikes in Utah:
1. The Y, or Y mountain itself
Here’s the cool thing about this hike: if you hike just the Y, you still get an impressive workout. Hiking uphill is one thing, but hiking uphill in snow is a completely different beast.
I’ve hiked the Y in all seasons, but winter is something special. It’s secluded and quiet, but you’re close enough to civilization that you’re never in too much danger. It’s only when you go beyond the Y that you have to start being careful, but it’s beautiful and worth it.
I’ll tell you about my winter hike on Y mountain some other time, but if you’re in Utah valley and looking for a doable, but challenging winter hike, Y mountain is unbeatable.
2. Donut Falls
Easy peasy. I’ve done this hike three times now: one by myself, one with Austin, and one with Austin and some friends. This one’s better in the winter, in fact. Since the waterfalls are frozen, it’s a lot easier to get up to see the actual donut. 10/10 would recommend.
3. Alpine Loop
The Alpine Loop gets closed off during the winter due to heavy snow making some parts impassible. So what do you do instead? Why, you walk it of course!
This is such a great, easy, versatile hike. A groomer goes over the road, so you can hike on very smooth ground. We met people walking their dogs here, cross-country skiing, and we even went camping here a couple of weeks ago. We’ve also hiked it from both ends, which makes for a change in scenery.
4. Lake Blanche
If you’ve done Donut Falls and you want something longer and more challenging, the hike to Lake Blanche is it. We layered up when we started on this hike, but had shed many layers by the time we were finished. We had met some people who brought sleds with them, which makes for even more fun.
5. Delicate Arch
Winter hiking to Delicate Arch was new for me, and I’m glad I did it. Even though Arches National Park will always attract crowds, there’s less people.
Let’s face it: it’s stunning in the winter. The contrast of the crystallized snow against the red rock, the scrubby shrubbery, the otherworldly natural sculptures? You don’t find this just anywhere.
BONUS: Big Springs, Provo Canyon
Despite the fact that this was not my first winter hike, it was when I was starting to get into winter hiking and I did this hike as a sheer amateur. Austin and I had just bought our own snowshoes and we excitedly went tromping into the park.
We quickly found out that we had 1) overprepared and were wearing too much clothing, and 2) did not actually need our snowshoes because the path was so well-worn. Still – we trekked out as far as we could until we decided to turn back (my endurance was a lot less impressive at the time).
I’ll always fondly remember Big Springs as the first successful venture into winter outdoors recreation. Them was good times.