The holidays bring us inside, and for good reason! After several years of social distancing, we once again are able to enjoy family and friends as we have in the past. We at the BMTA hope you have enjoyed that opportunity this season!
Just as with any other time of year, it benefits us all to get outside! Winter hiking is a great option to destress from the holidays, follow through on a New Year’s resolution, or just reconnect with Nature. Hiking during the winter months affords us a completely unique look at the forest. The leaves have all dropped from the trees, giving us great mountain views through the trunks and branches (trees in winter are also a delight to see, especially some of the bigger specimens). The sun shines through to the quiet forest floor and hiking trails. This is a perfect time to notice things that get missed in the rush and recession of growth in spring, summer, and fall. Weather is always a consideration but (usually) not an obstacle to a great winter hike! If you look to, metaphorically, “hike some new trails” in your personal life in 2023, getting on the BMT in wintertime is a wonderful place to consider your next move!
Less Busy Trails – enjoy more solitude
Quiet Walking – leaves are down and matted by fall rains
Views – With leaves off trees, every elevation gain offers views
Snow Hikes – a unique, wonderous, experience (good footwear a must)
Cold/Cool Weather – hike the ups without sweating (as much)
Winter Forest Views – spot wildife at a distance, see countours of the land
Low/No Overgrowth (thorns)
Gear – Lots of layers, headgear, full coverage shoes or boots (Remember there is no bad weather only bad gear!).
Weather – Be prepared for anything from ice and snow to thunderstorms.
Timing – Shorter days mean less hiking time. Plan on driving to and/or from trailheads in darkness for longer day hikes.
Water – Needs are similar to any other time of year – don’t bring less because it’s not hot! Drink even when you don’t feel thirsty.
Food – Bring more snacks, you are burning extra calories to keep warm.
Contingencies – Give your self extra time, be sure to notify others where you are hiking and when you’ll return.
BMT Seg 8a-d (Bushyhead Gap to Fowler Mountain) link– one of the most remote sections of BMT close to Blue Ridge, GA has stunning winter views
BMT Seg 13d-e (Towee Creek to Coker Creek) link– Great walk from banks of the Hiwassee to bluffs that afford sweeping overlooks or the river and surrounding mountains
Georgia BMT Sections link – Great views that you wont get in season
Smokies Hikes on the BMT (link)- Only a small fraction of the annual 11.3 visit in winter.
Springer Mountain link – Easy access and most quiet time of year for this favorite starting point for thru hikers of both the BMT and AT