Putting the right snowshoe-clad foot foward

Snow Shoe Prospect Park

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If you’re anything like us, by Saturday night you were going stir crazy from being trapped inside all day by the weekend snowstorm. So come Sunday morning we couldn’t wait to strap on the snowshoes we rented from Traverse Outfitters (delivered to our door!) and head to Prospect Park for a surprisingly delightful adventure hiking through the thigh-deep snow drifts that blanketed the area.

It turns out you can snowshoe anywhere you can hike or walk—it takes just few inches (or, in our case, a few feet) of snow on the ground and you’re good to go. This was great news to us, since we always assumed you had to be on trails dedicated to snowshoers. So with the park as our playground we marched through the meadows and over the terrain’s many hills and areas that common boot-wearers couldn’t reach because the trails hadn’t been groomed and the snow was too deep.

This was a new activity for a few of us, but as the saying goes, “if you can walk, you can snowshoe,” and we found that to be true. The snowshoes we rented (sorry, did we mention they were delivered to our door?!) strap and adjust to any style of shoe, although we recommend higher snow boots because you’ll kick up plenty of powder. We dressed in layers, which we took on and off throughout the day as we worked up a sweat on the uphills (remember to avoid cotton).

You might want to wait for a fresh snowfall to hit up the park, but there are plenty of places that are easy to get to just outside the city that should have enough snow to snowshoe (just check snow reports before you go—believe it or not, it didn’t blizzard everywhere last weekend). If the Catskills feel a little out of reach, we recommend the hiking trails near Fort Lee Historic Park (just across the George Washington Bridge), Harriman State Park (which you can get to via NJ Transit from Penn Station) and Bear Mountain State Park. Most local gear shops provide some sort of rental service, but you can also rent gear before you leave town from Traverse Outfitters, Gear to Go Outfitters or REI.

For more snowshoeing tips (and for 20% off your next snowshoe rental), check out the rest of this week’s newsletter.