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5 Reasons Winter Camping is the Best

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Want to know why winter camping and backpacking are the best? Here are five reasons to give it a go this season!

Keep in mind that “winter” varies depending on where you’re headed, of course. Winter in Big Bend National Park will look a lot different than winter in Arches. But when we say “winter,” we generally mean places where it’s cold, there’s snow on the ground, and magic in the air!

1. Empty Trails

While trails, especially popular and well-known routes, tend to be crawling with fellow hikers, mountain bikers, and more in the summer months, in winter, you’re more than likely to have trails all to yourself! It’s an awesome opportunity to enjoy some peace and quiet and enjoy not having to yield the trail every 3.5 minutes.

2. No Bugs

Hate creepy crawlies of all kinds? There are no bugs in winter, guys. No spiders, no mosquitoes, no centipedes or ticks or wasps or anything. So leave the insect repellent at home and stop worrying about a spider crawling on your face while you sleep. Ain’t gonna happen.

3. Empty Campgrounds

Because so few people venture outdoors to sleep under the stars when it’s cold outside, campgrounds–yup, even at many insanely popular national parks–are empty. Which means no fighting for a spot, having to arrive at the crack of dawn for a first-come, first-served site, or forgetting that you should have made reservations months in advance. We were one of about three tents in the campground at Zion National Park last winter.

See the top points and miles credit cards. Our favorite is ranked #1!

4. National Park Reservations Rarely Required

Likewise, while many state and national parks require reservations or timed entries in the summer, even spring and fall, which you often have to reserve months in advance, you almost never need to make a reservation in the winter because there just aren’t that many visitors. Which means you also won’t have to search high and low for a parking spot. It’s awesome.

5. Fewer dangerous creatures 

While bears do occasionally come out of hibernation if disturbed, bears, snakes, and very few other things that are trying to kill you are active in the winter. So you can rest easy knowing a scorpion or venomous reptile isn’t going to make its way into your boot. Probably. (But you should definitely learn wild animal safety anyway.)


Hiking, camping and backpacking in the winter is just so dang beautiful. It’s nice out there during the winter, guys. It’s supremely beautiful when snow covers everything. There’s simply an indescribably magic that can only be encountered in colder months.

A woman in a puffy coat and backpack stands in front of snowy mountains.

Bottom Line

There are plenty more reasons to get outside and enjoy the season. Share your favorite in the comments! I’m just saying winter camping is great and you should get out there and try it. We even published whole blog posts and videos about it that you should totally check out, including what R-value your sleeping pad should be for winter camping, how to decipher sleeping bag temperature ratings, vegan winter hiking boots, a full winter backpacking kit review and winter camping setup, and how to stay warm while winter camping. So get inspired, get educated, and get out there this winter and wander on!

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