Discover the Path Less Traveled

The holidays are here and that means lots of family time and hopefully, adventure time! That said, as the popularity of hiking has grown over recent years and especially in COVID times, well-known and easily accessible trails have been getting overrun. While it’s not hard to keep the recommended 6-foot distance from other hikers on a trail,  it’s still much nicer to go where you aren’t surrounded by other families trying to squeeze in for the same solitude, photo opps, and beautiful views you are.

So how to avoid the seemingly ubiquitous crowded trails and overflowing parking lots? 

We’ve put together our expert tips to help you find peace and solitude on your holiday hike. 

  1. It may not be the trail, but the time of day. Sometimes it isn’t the trail that’s the problem, but the time of day you choose. During Thanksgiving, many people will take temperatures and daylight (and sleep) into consideration and opt for a noon hike. You can easily beat the crowds if you choose to start early or later, just make sure you bundle up and bring a headlamp. 
  2. Seek local experts. Whenever we plan weekend adventures at Out&Back, we always ask our founder for his best picks. It seems like he’s hiked every trail in Colorado and his choices always include lesser known trails. While they may not be in the top 10 hikes on AllTrails, they provide amazing views and unforgettable experiences. If you don’t have a resident expert, try calling a local outdoor shop and ask for their favorites. 
  3. Consider the distance. During the holidays, while people enjoy going out, they also don’t want to be gone all day and miss the family dinner or events. Consider this when planning your hike and know that distance works in your favor. The further you can get away from the city, the less crowded it will be. 
  4. Difficulty is a deterrent. Most people hiking with their families are having to deal with a wide range of fitness levels and most likely won’t be choosing the trails rated as difficult. Up the challenge to avoid crowds, or bring the whole will be the story shared for years to come on how you destroyed them in less than 0.5 miles. 

Crowds aside, we still are firm believers that the outdoors are meant for everyone and should be enjoyed, especially during the holidays. Remember, a day spent on a mountain- crowds or not- is better than not being on one at all. Enjoy this holiday season to be present with your friends and family, or take some space and peace for yourself if you’re solo. Breathe in the fresh air and join us in this time of gratitude.