5 Reasons to Snowshoe in the Rockies this Spring
Snowshoeing was the first winter sport that really hooked me. Snowshoes give me access to backcountry during the snowy months, and I love the quietness of the activity. So without further ado, here are five reasons you should snowshoe in the Rockies this spring.
1. Was your New Year’s Resolution to lose a few pounds? Snowshoeing burns around 500 calories per hour depending on your height and weight. Add in a little uphill and downhill action to your trek and you’ll be burning upwards of 1,000 calories per hour.
Believe me, this activity is a serious (and fun) workout, and on a spring snowshoe outing you’ll be pulling off layers of clothing during your excursion—a good reason to dress in layers.
Bull moose near upper Soda Butte Creek, Credit: Jim Peaco, January 20, 2006
2. A spring snowshoe trip is the perfect time to spot wildlife. This is the time of year when woodland creatures begin to stir; the birds get busy making nests and animals that have been hibernating—such as marmots—start to wake up.
In many areas of the Rocky Mountains, snowshoeing is an opportunity to see moose; several years ago we spied one while on a snowshoe trail near Nederland, Colorado. Foxes are also commonly seen on snowshoe outings in the Rockies, as well as Ptarmigan, a ground bird that changes from brown to white in the winter.
3. Hate crowded trails? During spring, folks start thinking about warm-weather activities, and snow fun isn’t on their radar. Even popular trails close to Colorado’s Front Range tend to be less busy during the spring.
4. Want to turn your snowshoe excursion into a mini-vacation? The “shoulder seasons” (spring/fall) are when you’ll find excellent rates on condos and hotels in the mountains. I often encourage my readers to travel on shoulder seasons in order to avoid touristy crowds and to take advantage of great lodging rates.
5. Looking to experience a warm soak at the end of your snowshoe trek? Spring is the ideal time to snowshoe into a hot springs pool. Six Wild Colorado Hot Springs To Soak Up, If You’re Willing to Hike has a number of suggestions on where you can find these pools. For instance, if you’re willing to do a 4.5-mile, one-way snowshoe trek near Pagosa Springs, Colorado, your reward will be a soak at Rainbow Hot Springs, and during the spring, it’s likely that you’ll have the pool all to yourself.
There are also a number of hot springs pools around the Jackson, Wyoming, area that are accessible by snowshoe or cross country skis. See the list here.