Winter is getting closer and closer and slowly the trekking equipment disappears in the closet together with everything that reminds of the past summer. But why actually? That long-distance hiking is not only possible in winter, but there are also long-distance hiking trails that are a highlight especially in the snowy months, you will learn in this article!
Table of Contents:
- Tyrol’s first long-distance winter hiking trail – Seefeld-Leutasch
- Alpe Adria Trail – a long-distance hike without snow
- Long-distance hiking through the Black Forest to Switzerland – the Westweg
- Kungsleden – Sweden’s most famous trekking tour
- Karhunkierros – Finland’s Bear’s Round in snowy winter paradise
1. Tyrol’s first long-distance winter hiking trail – Seefeld-Leutasch
Distance: 54 km
Duration: 4 days
In the middle of the Olympic region Seefeld – Leutasch, the first long-distance hiking trail in Tyrol was designed only for winter. Depending on the weather and snowfall, the trail can be hiked from December to March. It is a circular trail that can be hiked in 4 days and leads along the Leutasch valley, over the Katzenkopf, through the Wildmoos and finally to the Wettersteinhütte. While the valley is mostly still covered in fog, the sun shines on the high plateau at an altitude of 1 200 m and the wintry snow-covered landscape can be marveled at.
Especially if you are still a trekking beginner, this is the perfect first long-distance hike for you. The stages are not too long – you walk only between 4 and 6 hours a day – and besides, the paths are pre-paved as corridors through the snow. In addition, the entire organization of accommodation, as well as a luggage transport (except for the 3rd stage) can be arranged by the Tourist Board.
You don’t have to worry about food either, as the long-distance trail is planned so that you always pass a hut at lunchtime. Therefore, this trekking tour is really easy to implement.
2. Alpe Adria Trail – a long-distance hike without snow
Country: Italy, Slovenia
Distance: 188 km
Duration: approx. 9 days
The 750 km long long-distance hiking trail leads from the peaks of Austria through Slovenia to the Italian Adriatic and is one of the most popular trails in summer. In winter, however, this long-distance hiking trail is no less impressive. Thus, the southern stages (29 – 37) from Cividale to Muggia by the sea can be hiked even in the cold season, because there is no snow due to the mild temperatures.
Especially the last stages are suitable for beginners, because the differences in altitude are less and less and the path becomes flatter. Per day you walk between 10 and 25 km and you can take advantage of a luggage service, las with the long-distance hike in Seefeld – Leutasch. Overnight stays are possible in numerous huts, whereby you should always inform yourself about the opening times and current weather conditions of the respective stages. Information can be found on the official website of the Alpe Adria Trail.
3. Long-distance hiking through the Black Forest to Switzerland – the Westweg
Distance: 285 km
Duration: approx. 11 days
For the real adventurers, the Westweg, which is located in the Black Forest, is the perfect choise. In winter, only experienced and well-trained hikers should dare the challenge here, because the signage is poor, snowshoes are required and, depending on the weather, you need twice the time for the stages. There are 11 of them in total, each between 19 and 35 km long.
You can spend the night in inns, but to be sure you should take a tent with you. In general, you hike the path at your own risk.
The Westweg is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in Germany, leading from Pforzheim to Basel in Switzerland. At the Titisee the path forks and you can choose the western or eastern variant, both having the same destination.
4. Kungsleden – Sweden’s most famous trekking tour
Distance: 109 km
Duration: approx. 7 days
Icy cold, arctic wilderness, and untouched nature – all of this you will find on the long-distance hiking trail Kungsleden in northern Sweden. It runs 440 km through Lapland along the border of the Sarek National Park, also known as the last wilderness of Europe. In winter, the first 109 km from Abisko to Nikkaluokta are walkable and divided into 7 stages. These range from 12 to 22 km, whereby the time required in each case is depending heavily on the (head) wind. Apart from that, however, Kungsleden is perfect as a first winter trekking tour, as there are only moderate climbs and the paths are well marked even in the snowy season. Depending on the snow conditions you need snowshoes and with that a good condition or skis.
After an exhausting day, you will reach the self-catering cabins, which have no electricity or running water, but in most cases a sauna. However, the absolute highlight of the long-distance hike is neither the sauna nor the snow-covered landscape. As soon as it gets dark, auroras light up the sky in shades of red, green and blue. It is best to find out about the phases of the moon before the tour. In general, you should not leave for trekking before February, because before that there is very little daylight and the self-catering huts are open from mid-February to the end of April.
5. Karhunkierros – Finland’s Bear’s Round in snowy winter paradise
Distance: 82 km
Duration: approx. 8 days
In neighboring Finland, the Scandinavian snowy winter paradise is also worth a long-distance hike. In the Oulanka National Park lies the long-distance hiking trail Karhunkierros (in English Bear’s Round), which takes its name from the bear population present there.
From mid-February, you can hike 82 km along Nordic forest, moor, lake and river landscapes while staying in self-catering cabins. The total of 8 stages have a length of 5 to 18 km and are hiked with snowshoes or skis. Important is a good condition and GPS, because sometimes the signs on the trees are snowed.
As on the long-distance hiking trail Kungsleden, with a little luck you can marvel at the breathtaking northern lights.
No matter if you are a beginner or if you already have countless trekking tours behind you – there is something for everyone within these trails! Long-distance hiking in winter is probably not everyone’s first thought, but it should still be considered. The adventure of wilderness and cold, the beautiful winter landscape and the breathtaking northern lights are definitely worth a long-distance hike.