Tips for Hiking on Snow Covered Trails During Summer

When you love to hike through mountains, there’s a good chance you’re going to come across some snow while doing it. While seeing snow during summer can be exciting at first, if a significant portion of the trail is covered in it then you’ll face a serious challenge.

We don’t want anyone to cut their time in the mountains around Mammoth Lakes short unless they have to, so the ASO Mammoth team has put together a quick list of tips for hiking on snow covered trails during the summer here!

Check them out below, then visit ASO Mammoth for the best outdoor gear and bike rentals in Mammoth Lakes!

Plan to Hike for Longer

Even with all the gear and experience in the world, hiking on snow takes more time and work than hiking on a regular dirt trail does. Accordingly, if there’s a chance that the trail you’re on has snow on it, add extra time to your hike so you don’t get caught out in the dark.

On top of taking longer, hiking through snow can be much more strenuous than hiking on dirt depending on the conditions so plan on hiking harder and longer if snow is involved.

Hike Early in the Day

One easy way to avoid a difficult hike through snow is by hiking early in the day before the snow thaws.

One of the hardest parts of hiking through snow is sinking into it after every step. Not only does sinking into snow require you to work harder to maintain your balance, but you also then have to step that much higher out of the snow that’s sucking your foot downward.

If you hike early in the day when the cold overnight temperatures cause the snow to firm up though, then you can avoid the worst of hiking through the snow.

Pack Microspikes and Hiking Poles

Microspikes, not to be confused for crampons, are small spikes that attach to your hiking boot so you can get some traction on snow and ice. They are especially useful when walking up and downhill since your feet are more likely to slide at an angle.

Hiking poles are also a necessity for hiking through snow since they can help you keep your balance as well as test how firm a patch of snow is before stepping on it.

Get Ready to be Wet and Muddy

When there is snow on a trail during summer, there’s inevitably water and mud nearby it. Hiking through snow will leave your pantlegs wet, and the mud that results from the runoff will add a layer of dirt and grime to them. If you’re camping or have a long car ride after your hike through snow, bring a change of clothes so you stay comfortable.

Don’t Be Afraid to Turn Around

Sometimes, post-holing is inevitable and the snowpack is endless. When that happens, it may be worth it to turn around and try your hike when conditions improve. It’s rare for a trail to be covered by snow year-round, so don’t be afraid to come back when conditions improve so you can enjoy the trail!