With winter here, travellers all over the world are embracing the fun-filled activities available in cold weather destinations all over the world, whether it’s visiting a breathtaking ice hotel in Sweden or staying in an Elf-inspired hotel room in New York City. And in Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park, the season is about to start for free snowshoe tours guided by park rangers.

A group go on a snowshoe expedition at Crater Lake National Park
The season for free snowshoe tours at Crater Lake National Park is here © National Park Service

Although the tours have enjoyed a huge boost in popularity in recent years, they are actually a long-held tradition. “Park rangers have been leading free guided snowshoe walks for the public at Crater Lake National Park for more than 25 years. It is a great way to teach visitors about winter ecology and help them learn about one of their national parks and the environment protected there. The park is one of the snowiest inhabited places in America, receiving an average of 43 feet of snow per year,” Marsha McCabe, chief of interpretation and public information officer at Crater Lake National Park told Lonely Planet.

Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park © National Park Service

This winter, walks will be available every day from 26 December - 5 January and from 20 - 29 March. They start at 1pm and last two hours, covering approximately two miles of moderate-to-strenuous terrain. Instead of following trails, the hikes are open explorations through fields and forests along the rim of Crater Lake and in the vicinity of Park Headquarters. Previous snowshoeing experience isn’t necessary, and equipment is provided free of charge. Tours are also free, apart from the winter entrance fee that costs US$15 per vehicle. Created for people over the age of eight, participants should bring warm clothing and water-resistant footwear.

Crater Lake Snowshoe tour
No previous snowshoe experience is necessary to take to tour © National Park Service

“Visitors are thrilled to have the opportunity to explore a winter wonderland on snowshoes, experience the deep snow, and learn more about the park. They discover how plants and animals are adapted to survive the harsh winter conditions at Crater Lake National Park and the importance of snow to the ecosystem,” Marsha said.

Space on the tours is limited, and advanced reservations are essential. You can sign up to tours by calling the park’s visitor centre at 541-594-3100. 

More information is available at the official National Park Service website.

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