Why Taking a Winter Hike Is the Best Way to Enjoy the Trails

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4. Trails are at peak bliss.

Cold temperatures mean hiking trails are not only less peopled but also bug-free. (You should take a real winter vacation this year. Here’s why.) And there may be no better way to bank some precious winter sunlight, which triggers your body’s ability to produce mood-boosting vitamin D. “Snow actually reflects a tremendous amount of light,” says Norman Rosenthal, M.D., the author of Winter Blues. In fact, he says, people who experience seasonal affective disorder (women are about three times more prone to it) often see an uptick in mood after snowfall. (Here’s how to prevent and treat SAD.) “Plus, you may hear ice cracking and see hawks gliding on thermal currents,” Dr. Rosenthal says. It’s a prime opportunity to embrace all winter has to offer.

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