From The Editors Travel

Seven of the Best Winter Camping Destinations in the United States

If you are the type who likes to stay snuggled up indoors in the warmth of your cozy home during winters, venturing out only when absolutely necessary, then this article is not for you.

On second thoughts, you should go ahead and read on; you never know we just might convince you that camping out in winter can be real fun.

For outdoors enthusiasts, there are basically three lines of reasoning to mull over.

1. If you are looking for some outdoors fun and want to avoid the cold altogether, you should head to warmer climes down south, where summers are too hot to go camping. However, warm winter-campsites are not the premise of this article.

2. Choosing a cold location for your camping trip does not necessarily mean you’ll be exposed to too much discomfort if any. Given all the modern clothing, sleeping bags, camping tents and other cold weather camping paraphernalia, being cold and bitter should be the least of your worries.

3. The positive side of winter camping is no crowds; hence, no noise except the sounds of nature and no bugs to bug you –ideal conditions for a great outdoors experience.

1. Acadia National Park, Maine


While the Acadia National Park in Maine is generally considered to be a great summer destination, there are many who head there in winter. It is for these folks that the park authorities keep the Blackwoods Campground open during the winter months.

However, a mandatory permit from the park’s dispatch office at the campground park headquarters on Route 233, west of Bar Harbor, has to be obtained before you can make your way to the campsite.

While at the park you can indulge in a number of fun activities including cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, dog sledding and skijoring, snowmobiling, ice-fishing and hiking.

For more information on winter camping, you can access the park’s official website below.

2. Adirondack Mountains, New York


Winter is the best time to go hiking in the Adirondacks, when the cover of snow makes things that much easier – sliding through snow is, by far, a better option than plodding in the mud.

Places that are inaccessible or difficult to reach in the summer can be accessed with relative ease across the frozen lakes.

Three-sided log structures with overhanging roofs, referred to as lean-tos, are available all across the park on a first-come, first-served basis.

Because a lean-to has to be shared until its full capacity of eight people is reached, people prefer to pitch their own tents for privacy.

A lean-to is a good option if you are traveling in a group and can use it to full capacity without having to share it with strangers.

Here’s the park website for more information on winter camping.

3. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming


The Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming offers two categories of camping – front-country camping and backcountry camping.

Frontcountry Camping: While the Park boasts six drive-in campgrounds with more than 1,050 individual campsites, Colter Bay is the only campground open during the winter months – December 1st to April 15th at $5 a night.

Backcountry Camping: A vast year-round camping area with two hundred miles of hiking trails snaking throughout the park, makes this National Park an absolute hiker’s delight – one of the most popular backpacking destinations in the whole of Grand Teton Park.

The mandatory permit needed to access the backcountry camping area can be obtained at the Colter Bay and Craig Thomas Discovery visitor centers, or at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station.

For more information, you can access the park’s official website below.

4. Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado


While almost always sunny, the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado can get really cold. Because of the park’s high elevation, the weather here can change at the drop of a hat.

It is an excellent place in winter to ski or sled some of the tallest dunes in the country.

The campgrounds open in winter are:

Zapata Falls Campground ($ 11 per night) – A primitive campground located at an elevation of 9,000 feet, affording majestic views of the valley and the surrounding dunes

Sand Dunes Swimming Pool and Campground – This privately owned facility boasts RV sites with hook-ups, tent sites, cabins, geothermal swimming pool, organic produce, salads and hot food items.

Economy Campground – The Economy Campground allows pets and offers full hook-ups dump station, showers, and go-cart course
UFO Watchtower and Campground

Backpacking on the dunes or in designated sites along the foothills is a year-round option. if you are lucky you may just get to see deer or elk in their natural habitat.

For more information, check out the site below.

5. Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon


While the Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon is a popular summer escape, a winter trip to the area can be even more fun if you are looking to avoid crowds and enjoy the serenity of the snow covered forest and the breathtaking vistas all to yourself.

A valid Sno-Park permit on your windshield is an absolute must to enter the designated winter recreational areas between November 1st and April 30th.

Some of the popular activities you can enjoy at this marvelous destination include Mushing and Skijoring, Skiing and Snowboarding, Sledding and Tubing, Snowmobiling, and Snowshoeing, among a host of others.

Log on to the site below for detailed information.

6. Mt. Monadnock State Park, New Hampshire


A year-round camping and hiking destination, surrounded by thousands of acres of protected paradise-on-earth, the Mt.

Monadnock State Park in New Hampshire is located in the vicinity of the 3,165-foot Mount Monadnock

Check out the site below for details.

7. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan


Winter camping is becoming increasingly popular at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan. Lakeshore is home to numerous waterfalls, sandstone cliffs, snow-covered Grand Sable Dunes, ice curtains, and columns.

Ice climbing in a great winter activity here, in addition to the usual skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling

Backcountry winter camping is permitted under the certain conditions.

  • A backcountry permit is required.
  • Winter camping is permitted free-of-charge in drive-in campgrounds.
  • The fee is $5per person, per night, in addition to a $15 reservation fee.
  • A snow depth of 6” or more is required for these rules to take effect.
  • Winter camping is permitted off park roads beyond a distance of 100 feet.
  • Use of stoves is required – campfires are not permitted unless you build them in fire rings in developed front or backcountry sites.
  • Winter camping is permitted beyond 100 feet of a creek, river or lake.
  • Overnight camping in parking lots is not permitted

For more information, check out the site below.

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