Snowshoers' Paradise

Strap on your snowshoes and head to three spots in California, Utah, and Montana for scenic Nordic trails.

snowshoers on trail in Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park, image

Two snowshoers tackle a trail that weaves between hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Forest.

Gallatin National Forest
In the Gallatin National Forest near the Wyoming-Idaho border lies Refuge Point, Mont., named for survivors of a 1959 earthquake. From West Yellowstone, drive 23 miles north on Highway 287 to the trailhead, then snowshoe through woods for two miles on a rolling, ungroomed trail. (406) 823-6961, www.fs.fed.us/r1/gallatin, click on “Recreation,” then “Winter Sports.”

Bryce Canyon National Park
Crisp and quiet, winter in southwestern Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park—a four- to five-hour drive from either Las Vegas or Salt Lake City—is a snowshoer’s paradise. Rangers lead free moderate-intensity treks through surreal hoodoos and spooky bristlecone pine forests. If the full moon falls near a weekend, take a night trek, an experience ranger Kevin Poe describes as “like exploring a new world.” The Bryce Canyon Winter Festival, with sports contests and classes, runs February 19 through 21. (435) 834-4747, nps.gov/brca.

Inyo National Forest
The Shady Rest Nordic Ski Trail in Inyo National Forest near Mammoth Lakes, Calif., grants snowshoers access to a groomed, mostly flat cross-country ski route that starts at the welcome center on Highway 203. Horizon Air flies nonstop from San Jose to the nearby Mammoth Yosemite Airport. (760) 924-5500, www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo.

Photography by SCPhotos/Alamy

This article was first published in January 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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