16 National Parks To Visit In The Winter Instead Of The Summer

Just like public parks in major cities get crowded as soon as temperatures hit high 60s, national parks get busy during the summer. But consider the possibility of enjoying nature when it's a lot less packed and just as beautiful in the winter.[slideshow:81709]

You may even find trading your hiking boots for new skis or snowshoes refreshing. The colder weather and the snow make going to a natural park a completely different experience. The busy trails are now calm (romantic) retreats, and the white fine fluff covering the landscape shows you another side of nature's splendor. 

Whatever your reasoning may be, certain places should absolutely not be overlooked just because it's winter and sitting by the fireplace is warm and comfy.

1. Glacier National Park, Montana

The Glacier National Park is among the most famous ones in the country. Its alpine meadows and rugged mountains is what make it perfect to visit in the wintertime. Go on one of the guided snowshoe walks or watch the sunset at Lake McDonald. You can also go camping – auto camping is available at the Apgar Picnic Area and St. Mary Campground. There is no charge for camping in the winter but you need to get a backcountry permit. Popular activities include skiing and snowshoeing trails because some of the most spectacular scenery can be seen by going on these trails.

2. Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee

Ah, those unforgettable Table Mountain Pines covered in snow...The Smokies are completely serene in wintertime. A record number of Elks pass through the mountains then. The wildlife in general is abundant there. Hikes that are not too hard and low elevations provide comfortable conditions for people who are not looking for taxing physical activities. Visit the Cades Cove, a large valley surrounded by mountains that happened to be the most popular destination in the Great Smokies. Another reason to visit in the winter is better prices.

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