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Winter can be a cold albeit magical time to go backpacking. The crowds are minimal, the air is fresh, and the views are unparalleled. While cozying up next to the fire with a good book is enticing, getting outside and experiencing the beauty of the natural world is worth it every time. With a little extra planning and the proper gear, wintertime thru-hiking can be the adventure of a lifetime. And it’s not just a shift in attitude that’s necessary; often a shift in latitude helps as well, rethinking the wilder options in southern climes with milder winter temps. Here, we’ve rounded up six overlooked, yet enticing long-distance hiking and backpacking routes to unplug, escape the depths of winter and go trek in the contiguous United States.

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