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6 Ideas for Making New Outdoor Holiday Traditions

Posted by Washington Trails Association at Dec 03, 2021 12:30 PM |
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Spending the holidays outdoors is an annual tradition for some WTA trip reporters. Here's how they do it.

Spending the holidays outdoors is an annual tradition for some WTA trip reporters. There are so many ways to infuse holiday cheer into your hikes, and these ideas will hopefully inspire you to get out there and start new traditions of your own.

Another mouth-watering Thanksgiving Day meal by trip reporter Joe Hendricks.
All food tastes better when eaten on trail! Photo by trip reporter Joe Hendricks.

Cook up a backcountry feast

Longtime trip reporter, Joe Hendricks, has been spending Thanksgiving on trail for years. During these treks, Joe packs out all the creature comforts of a typical celebration: a comfy chair, a warm jacket and some straight up delicious food. Past meals include: Cornish hen with mushrooms, escargot with a side of hasselback potatoes and gourmet turkey rolls.

Spend a night outside

A few years back, Washington Trails editor, Jessi Loerch, made a goal to backpack once a month over the course of a year. To celebrate her final trip of the year and the completion of her goal, she wanted to wake up on Christmas Eve in a tent — and she did! If you'd like to do the same, we have some recommendations for year-round backpacking trips. Or if you're not a fan of backpacking, we also have tips for how to stay cozy and warm during a winter car camping trip, too.

Mailbox Peak with ornaments.
Holiday cheer on trail, Mailbox Peak style. Photo by trip reporter Dan L.

Bring on the holiday cheer

Don't let your favorite 'ugly' holiday sweater collect dust this year! Throw on that bad boy and take it for a hike. Bring along some battery powered twinkle lights or a few ornaments and you've got yourself an excellent photo op. Just don't forget the most important part ... pack everything back out with you (we can't stress this part enough)! 

Find snow

If you live at a low elevation in Washington, you know how rare it is to wake up to a winter wonderland during the holidays. But thankfully, snow is never too hard to find this time of year! Head up to the mountains and create your own snowy solstice. The holidays are a great time to enjoy a peaceful snowshoe trip ... or to skip the hike entirely and stick to snowball fights and building snowmen. Check out trip reports from years' past to find inspiration! 

Build your own holiday company... in the form of snowpeople.
A very smiley snowperson. Photo by trip reporter jamestm.

Document and share your adventure

During your holiday excursion, try to record a few minutes of video from the beautiful sights you see (even if it's just on your phone!). You can then share these videos with any loved ones who you won't see in person this year. Or if you prefer more hands-on art, try documenting your adventure in the form of postcard which you can later mail to your friends or family. Pack along a small set of watercolors or colored pencils during your hike and pull them out during your summit break.

Bonus! Share your expertise

Do you love planning hikes? Do you have friends and family in Washington who are looking for a new way to spend the holidays? Use your hiking know-how and build them a personal hiking plan! Use our Hike Finder Map to find hikes close to them — then use our advanced search options to account for their skill level and interests. Want to go above-and-beyond? Mail them a care package of hiking treats to accompany them on their hike.

If your take your holiday celebrations out on trail this year, share your story (and the latest conditions) in a trip report and help inspire the rest of the hiking community!


JoeHendricks on 6 Ideas for Making New Outdoor Holiday Traditions

Thanks for the shout out! This year’s Wilderness Thanksgiving Feast will be Duck Comfit Cassoulet, wrapped asparagus and lobster & lobster mushroom filled puff pastries!

Posted by:

JoeHendricks on Nov 25, 2020 03:11 AM

Posted by:

Kindra on Dec 10, 2021 07:32 AM