We may be a little biased, but the winter season serves up the finest scenery of all in North America if you ask us. Whether skyscraping peaks frosted in the sunshine, deep-drifted forests, or ice-clad lakes in a sparkling valley, a snowy coat makes for incredible all-around landscapes, and few modes of travel give you a more immersive experience of them than snowshoeing.
Suited up in our wonderfully light, springy Crescent Moon foam snowshoes, you’re perfectly equipped to drink in the scenery. Here are six blue-ribbon winter views in the U.S. to put on your snowshoeing bucket list!
Snowshoe Mount Monadnock
The bare-rock, 3,165-foot crown of Mount Monadnock provides a far-reaching panoramic view that extends from the skyscrapers of Boston to the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, the loftiest peaks in the Northeast. While Mount Monadnock is far lower in elevation, its prominence and isolation make for one heck of a vantage point. Widely claimed to be one of the most-climbed mountains in the world, Mount Monadnock offers a bit more elbow room in winter, when experienced snowshoers can tackle the trek and relish the snowscape sightlines up top.
Snowshoe Trails at Lake of the Clouds (Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Michigan)
Some of the most impressive relief and breathtaking vistas in the Midwest await you in the Porcupine Mountains, or “Porkies,” an ancient highland on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula within shouting distance of Lake Superior. The most celebrated vista in the range—also famed for its extensive old-growth forests and a wildlife roster that includes wolves and moose—is Lake of the Clouds, the breathtaking overlook you can reach by snowshoes along the snowmobile route up the unplowed M-107 road.
Snowshoe Artist Point (Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington)
Situated on Kulshan Ridge in the North Cascades, Artist Point can hold its own with any vantage in Washington: a state with no shortage of unbelievable vantages, mind you. The four-mile snowshoe to the Point from the Heather Meadows parking area along the Mount Baker Highway is eye-popping from start to finish. Your ultimate perch gives you awe-inspiring looks at such close-by giants as 10,781-foot Mount Baker and 9,131-foot Mount Shuksan and a whole sea of jagged Cascade peaks southward, including Whitehorse Mountain, Three Fingers, and the Matterhorn-Esque Sloan Peak. Just be conscious of the avalanche forecast!
Observation Point (Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming) Snowshoe Trails
The two-mile Observation Point Loop Snowshoe Trail, which kicks off at the Old Faithful Visitor Center, gives you excellent prospects over the snowy and steaming Upper Geyser Basin, the single most significant geothermal zone in Yellowstone. The route crosses the Firehole River, draining the Upper and several other geyser basins en route to the Madison River, and edges past Solitary Geyser. You have a decent chance of seeing bison on the snowshoe trail—the great humped beasts winter in this area, as do elk of the Madison-Firehole herd—which is a thrill but always remember to give these and other large wildlife plenty of space.
Snowshoe at Glacier Point (Yosemite National Park, California)
Glacier Point, which overlooks Yosemite Valley from its south granite rim at some 7,200 feet, provides an iconic viewshed all year round. But the winter-painted vistas of that dreamlike glen, the monolithic loom of Half Dome, and the vast alpine Sierra Nevada backcountry are something else entirely. In the summertime, visitors in droves drive to Glacier Point, but winter access is by snowshoe or ski: a 10.5-mile adventure from Badger Pass, beyond which the Glacier Point Road is unplowed.
Wolverine Peak (Chugach State Park, Alaska) Snowshoe Adventures
For experienced snowshoers and wilderness recreationists, the roughly 4,500-foot crown of Wolverine Peak in the Chugach Mountains provides a great introduction to winter mountaineering in the Last Frontier. Snowshoes—and potentially crampons or other traction devices if the wind-blasted uppermost portion of the route is scanty in the snowpack department—give you the ability to access this fairly popular peak in its wintertime guise. Clear-day views from the top extend from nearby Anchorage and the Cook Inlet to the Alaska Range’s epic heights.