Imagine standing on a cliff-side, watching the sun dip below the horizon. The summer breeze is gently rustling your hair as a bald eagle soars in the sky above you. This fantasy scenario is something that hiking enthusiasts envision seeing when they are hiking during the summer months. What most hikers don’t consider, however, is the possibility of hiking in the winter.

Hiking a snowy mountain trail during the winter can be a magical experience. But it isn’t just the crisp, cool winter air and the beautiful snow-covered landscape that make winter snow hiking worthwhile. Here are just a few benefits of winter hiking.

Minimal Sunscreen Required

The sun is unrelenting in the warmer months, so regularly applying sunscreen is very important if you plan on spending anytime outside during the summer. But, if you’re outside in the snow, you’ll be wearing a heavy-duty jacket, snow boots, gloves, and other winter clothing, so most of your skin will not be directly exposed to the sun. Make sure you’re still applying SPF to your exposed skin but no need to worry about what’s underneath all those layers.

Find Inner Peace

Because wintertime hiking isn’t as popular as summertime trekking, there are fewer people on the trails. With fewer people out and about, your favorite hiking trail will be extremely quiet. Use the solitude that comes along with snow hiking to reconnect with the sounds of nature, or use the quiet environment to meditate and find inner peace.

Encounter New Challenges

In the same way snow hiking can encourage mental growth, wintertime trekking can also help you grow physically, too. Hiking in winter can help improve your endurance, strengthen your cardiovascular system, and boost your physical strength.

No Need for Bug Spray

Depending on where you’re located in the States, mosquitoes, ticks, or other bothersome insects can cause problems for summertime hikers. For this reason, regularly applying mosquito repellant is a requirement if you are hiking in wooded-areas during June, July, or August. If you don’t cover your skin in clothing in DEET or mosquito spray in summer, you run the risk of itchy mosquito bites.

And, although contracting lyme disease from ticks is rare, you still have to consider the potential risk of coming in contact with ticks if you hike when it’s warm out. A huge advantage of hiking in the winter is that you don’t have to worry about bugs when the temperature dips below freezing. This means that you don’t have to remember to pack the bug repellant when you’re hiking in the snow.