Whether you’re an avid hiker or prefer leisurely strolls through the foothills, Colorado offers virtually endless opportunities to escape the city and soak in the serenity of nature. The winter months hold a special kind of magic with snow-capped peaks and glittering forests, but they can also present some challenges.

Discover our top five tools and tactics to make sure your outdoor adventures are comfortable and safe.

Dress for Success
Warm clothing for a winter hike seems like a given, but dressing strategically will ensure you’re prepared no matter what the weather throws your way. Wear layers for adjustable warmth as you go, cover exposed skin such as hands, ears, and noses, and steer clear of cotton to prevent the accumulation of moisture.

Plan Your Route
Since winter days are significantly shorter than those in summer, it’s important to plan ahead: Make sure you know how long the trail is, bring a map to avoid getting lost and wasting daylight, and start early so you can return before the sun goes down.

Gear Up
Bringing along the proper equipment is essential to a successful winter hike. Unexpected obstacles like ice patches and snow-covered trails can make it difficult to navigate the route in a safe and timely manner. Create a checklist of gear — such as a map, compass, crampons, hiking poles, and a backpack — to prepare for a safe journey.

Hydrate!
Drinking enough water doesn’t come as naturally when it’s not so hot outside, but your body is still exerting energy and needs to hydrate along the way. Bring a hydration pack for easy-access drinking, and it’s always a good idea to pack a couple of extra water bottles—just in case.

The 10 Essentials
Knowing REI’s reliable 10 Essential Systems List will set you up for success whether you’re headed out for a day hike or plan to summit one of Colorado’s many peaks. Stock up on these mountaineering must-haves before setting out on foot.

Shea Homes offers master planned communities with the convenience of trailhead access from your own back door. Know that you will always return home to a warm welcome no matter where your adventures may take you!  Learn more our Colorado communities.

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