Simple, easy, cheap: So many good reasons to snowshoe
Snow-blanketed trails are a wintry welcome mat for snowshoers in New England. Snowshoeing is a simple, easy, inexpensive way to enjoy nature in the winter. There are necklaces of trails and special events, too, like a snowshoe chocolate festival, where you’ll find trailside treats. Or, how about a moonlit snowshoe tour on New Year’s Eve? These winter wonderland hikes will get you on your feet for some fresh air, exercise, and fun.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Winter in Acadia National Park is glorious. When the park is draped in white, you can snowshoe the 45 miles of carriage roads (some groomed). Book the Winter Adventure package at The Atlantic Oceanside Hotel, and you’ll get two nights lodging, daily breakfast, dinner for two one night, snowshoe rentals for two, and a Trail & Carriage Road Map of Acadia. The package begins at $349 per night, including gratuity and tax. www.barharbormainehotel.com
Start the new year off with a toot and a hoot. The family-friendly Moonlight Owl and Wildlife Prowl at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox takes place on New Year’s Eve from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Cost: $8 adults, $4 children. To reserve, call 413-637-0320.
America’s Stonehenge, thought to be the oldest manmade construction in the country, offers snowshoeing on a mile-and-a-quarter candlelit trail — and a cabin warmup with cookies and cocoa. The hikes run on select dates in January and February. Cost with snowshoe rentals: $18 adults, $12 kids 12 and under (less without rentals). www.stonehengeusa.com
Okemo Mountain Resort hosts the Okemo Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Display on Dec. 27 — a pyrotechnics show followed by a torchlight parade of skiers and riders. For the best views of the fireworks, take a guided snowshoe hike with naturalist Joe Karl up the mountain; call 802-228-1956 to register.
Beginning New Year’s Eve, The Purity Spring Resort XC & Snowshoe Reserve will host monthly guided one-hour Moonlight Tours at adjacent New Hampshire’s Audubon Hoyt Wildlife Sanctuary. Other dates are Jan. 27, Feb. 24, and March 31. Cost: $20 with snowshoe rentals; $12 without. www.kingpine.com/activities/other-winter-activities
Jackson Ski Touring Foundation is a highly-rated snowshoeing center, especially popular with families. There are 40 kilometers of self-guided snowshoe trails, and weekend guided tours, too. Bonus: A full-service rental shop. Trail cost: $10 per person. www.jacksonxc.org
North Conway, N.H.
Chocolate and snow, a perfect combo. Come to the 1785 Inn’s Chocolate Festival on Feb. 25 and you’ll snowshoe 60km groomed trails under a full moon and eat trailside chocolate treats along the way. The festival is a fund-raiser for the Mount Washington Valley Ski Touring & Snowshoe Foundation. Cost: $30 in advance, $35 day of event. www.the1785inn.com
Vermont’s Green Mountains
The Top of the Notch Snowshoe Adventure Dinner at Smugglers’ Notch Resort, is a dramatic snowshoeing outing for resort guests and non-guests. You’ll be transported by lift to The Top of the Notch, a mountain cabin that sits atop Sterling Mountain. The cabin is lit by candlelight only, and a gourmet meal is prepared by Hearth & Candle restaurant. Then, it’s time for a 40-minute snowshoe down to the Base Lodge. Cost: $85 per person; must be 18 years or older, and you must preregister. www.smuggs.com
Book the Sensational Snowshoe Adventure package at Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, and you’ll have 5 kilometers of groomed trails to snowshoe, as well as daily breakfast, accommodations, and one-day snowshoe and Nordic pole rental for two. Package rates start at $224 per night. www.stoweflake.com