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Stuart Peck is a freelance writer and video producer who specializes in outdoor, travel, corporate and commercial messaging and branding.  He has written for national magazines, video copy for healthcare and other corporate videos.  He also provides production support for commercials and TV shows.  

Take off... in the off season.

Bundle up and brave the cold for empty trails and excellent vistas!

Here we are... it’s cold... it’s dark... it’s January.  Most hikers wouldn’t think this is the ideal time to get out and hit the trail.  Temperatures are barely reaching into the 30’s during the day here in Kentucky and they dip down into the low 20’s at night.  So most sane people run for the warmth of indoors.  That’s when you should take to the trail!

Cabin fever has set in and I’m dying to get out and test out the new Christmas gear!  So why not go now?  What I’ve found from my experience is the best time to get out on the trail is the few weeks before or after the shoulder seasons (late March to early May & late September to early November).  Head out a couple weeks before the wild flowers are fully bloomed or maybe before all the leaves have changed and avoid the crowds of day hikers sporting Canon Rebels and stopping at every trail side flower for a shot.  Also, head out RIGHT NOW to be completely on your own.  Want to hike in some of the most popular spots in the country... Grand Canyon sound nice?  Smokey Mountains anyone?  Take advantage of ghost town resorts and empty roadside pull offs as no one cares to dare the snow and chill.