Winter is an interesting season for the hiking community. For some, the cold temperatures are enough reason to stash the hiking gear in the garage for five or six months and trade a day on the trail for a day with Netflix. For others, hiking is a year-round passion, and low temperatures won’t put a dent in the number of trips taken during the year. One great benefit of hiking in the wintertime is that if you choose your location correctly you can experience some truly epic sunrises. Plus, the shorter days mean you don’t have to wake up as early to get on the trail! Here are 4 of the best trails in the United States for catching an amazing sunrise.
Castle Valley, Utah
Expect a pretty intense workout getting to the top of this steep climb. The workout will be well worth it though when you’re able to stand between a couple of towers and watch as the sun peaks over the East horizon and paints the surrounding desert red. You’ll need about two hours to make the ascent, so plan accordingly. Expect Chilly temperatures in the 20s when you begin, but the steepness of the trail will warm you up in a hurry.
Pine Mountain Trail
Mt. Rogers National Rec Area, Virginia
This is one of those hikes that make you feel as if you’re on top of the world. The path’s best viewing point offers 360-degree views of the stars in the early morning hours, and the rising sun will illuminate the almost endless ridges and forests that make up Grayson Highlands. Give yourself about two hours to make the hike from the front end of the Massie Gap loop.
Sunrise Birding Trail
Negwegon State Park, Michigan
As the name suggests, you’ll enjoy sunrise views of Lake Huron with an audience of birds, including bald eagles in the winter months. You’ll want to dress extra warm for this one, as temperatures will likely be in the teens. The best place to catch the sunrise is at mile marker 2.2 of the Algonquin and Chippewa trails, called South Point. Give yourself about an hour and a half to get there.
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Start your hike on the Rim Trail at Rim Village, then head out to Watchman Peak and you’ll be rewarded with an epic sunrise spilling over Crater Lake. Give yourself plenty of time, though, as the hike is a solid 8 miles out and back.