Best backpacking destinations in December

 Guest post by Tom Nolan

It’s not a problem to find a good place to join some outdoor activities during warm weather. However, this turns out more difficult when the winter comes, like in December.

Don’t worry! For the best backpacking destinations in December, I think I can give you some help.

Great Smoky Mountains – Best for adventurous backpackers

For people who love conquering nature, the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, North Carolina includes the highest peaks that put almost large mountains out West.

It’s also known for the most rugged and difficult terrain in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

During the winter, everything is doubled up due to the ice and snow covering all trails. However, with good preparation, caution, and care, it’s not impossible to be on top of these snow-capped forests and peaks.

Zion national park – The most breathtaking place

To explore nature’s beauty without taking as much humans’ nerves and calories as the Great Smoky Mountains, consider – the Zion national park, Utah.

It’s well-known for the extraordinarily beautiful red rocks - one of the favorite places of photographers to #igers. In each season, the national park gives a unique pulchritude.

If you visit it in the winter, red rocks now are dusted with snow and the temperature is frozenly cold, which combines to give a breathtaking scene for viewers. There are lots of interesting winter activities there so, let spend at least 2 to 3 days here if possible.

A solitary trip through streams, forests, and canyons is quite a good start. Then, climbing Angel’s Landing and might you get a chance to see wildcats of Zion national park as well.

Mount Rainier National Park – Best for snowshoeing

On whichever mountains, it’s more strenuous to hike or climb when they are covered with ice and snow. That’s no exception with Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington.

Instead, you can take part in its specialty during the winter – snowshoeing.

There are many perfect-for-snowshoeing terrains here, such as the Mazama Ridge Trail – which is considered one of the best destinations in the Pacific Northwest. It’s exactly a short trail of 6 miles long.

Aside from snowshoeing, many people also choose Mount Rainier National Park as an ideal place for winter camping as well because of its wonderful scenic expanses.

Acadia National Park – Another Good Place for Snowshoeing

If you’re a true fan of snowshoeing, don’t overlook the prime snowshoeing terrain of the Acadia National Park, Maine.

While featuring beautiful, rugged beauty, it highlights the rocky coastline where the Atlantic slam against day by night. For that reason, many backpackers also visit this place to camp, to hear, and to enjoy that enchanting sound while falling asleep.

For people who look for some suitable trails to hike, consider the Cadillac loop (as beginner level) and the Precipice Trail (as intermediate level).

Grand Canyon National Park – Best for long hiking trails

You maybe have heard of this national park of Arizona through many tourists or crowds as a must-visit place during the warm months.

Conversely, the number of visitors significantly drops off when the winter comes, only the hikers and pro-backpackers due to its high elevation and majestic scene. If you prefer the feel of having the whole giant park to yourself, visit it at this time.

There are a lot of hiking trails in the Grand Canyon National Park, the moisture is really less, which makes it more comfortable to starting a hike from the lower.

Yosemite Valley – Best for picturesque waterfalls

In contrast to the Grand Canyon National Park, it’s hard to find solitude in Yosemite Valley, even in the winter.

I, however, still recommend you visit this place at least once in life. Because only when seeing its picturesque and eponymous scene that you’ll understand how worth the trip is.

From my experience, you can choose some less crowded areas in this valley to take a hike, such as the Half Dome, Tenaya Creek, Mirror Lake Trail, and El Capitan.

By the way, pass by the Bridalveil Fall to enjoy its beautiful waterfalls – which is a highly appreciated scene in California.

The Everglades – Best for avoiding frost-bite coldness of winter

If you are a person who doesn’t handle well in cold temperatures, it’s good to consider some places with warmer weather when the winter comes. And the Everglades, Florida is my highest recommendation.

Not only because of its pleasantly cozy climate all year round, leading to less mosquito infestation but also the various outdoor activities there.

From wading through deep mud to canoeing to hiking. The best period of time to visit the Everglades is from December to April as the weather is drier and cooler.

If you’re a survival fanatic, try hiking the Coastal Prairie Trail – which is considered one of the toughest trails in Southern Florida.

Big Bend National Park

This place is quite different from other national parks which are usually crowded in the summer-fall and secluded during the colder days, which means it is overcrowded in winter-spring and less in the rest of the year.

Why? – You might ask.

It’s because of the scorching temps of West Texas during hot days. Only when it’s the winter coming, the weather is much more hospitable and milder.

In other words, it’s another option for people who want to get away from the frost-bite temps of the normal winter. Besides, Big Bend National Park is a well-known hiking place with an impressively high elevation of over 12 miles.

This trail goes through different greenest parts of the park, peaks, and canyons and also an ideal destination for overnight camping.


Above are 8 best backing destinations in December that you should consider. No matter you’re a hiker, backpacker, or traveler, ensure to prepare a suitable sleeping bag and other equipment to survive in this harsh weather condition. Some simple tricks to heat up your camping tent are useful, too!

Thanks for reading!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published