You don't have to leave your own town to have fun in the snow. Take time to look around your own community, and you are likely to find some fun places to go on a wintry day. Depending on your level of comfort and desire to be outside on a cold day, several options to enjoy the snow are generally available in most snowy locations.
When the weather is clear, spend some time scoping out the biggest hills near your house. Take note of large hills around the corner and across town that have the potential for good sledding. A good sledding hill shouldn't have shrubbery or trees. You can find a list of sledding hills in your area at SledRiding.com. One good place to sled is Bald Eagle State Park in Pennsylvania. Located in the north central part of the state, the park offers 5 acres of cleared hillside for sledding with a 1,320-foot sledding run. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website (dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/recreation/sledding.aspx) offers good sledding locations in state parks throughout Pennsylvania.
Small lakes and ponds that freeze in winter can turn into playgrounds. Take out your ice skates, and try not to fall on the bumpy surface when the water freezes completely. Check to make sure it is safe before you venture out. Wear plenty of padding to avoid pain if you fall. Head up to Estes Park, Colorado, to visit the YMCA-maintained Dorsey Lake ice skating rink. The elevation is over 8,000 feet in Estes Park, but skating outdoors near Rocky Mountain National Park is worth wearing a heavy coat.
Parks and Trails
Some parks and trails covered by snow in the winter make good cross-country skiing or snow shoeing locations. Rocky Mountain National Park (nps.gov/romo) has several snowshoeing trails that open in the winter, for example. Check with your community's parks and recreation department to find out which areas near you are designated winter recreation areas. Some larger parks and recreation areas may also be open to snowmobiling in the winter.
Going on a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the countryside when it is snowing is a relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors in the winter. If you live in Oregon, check out Mt. Hood Adventure's sleigh rides (mthoodadventure.com) offered January through March. If there is not enough snow, you can still take a carriage ride and enjoy the winter scenery as you travel through Government Camp, a village in north-central Oregon.
- Photos.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images