6 Dirtbag-Friendly Getaways to Spice Up Your Winter
Winter. Cold, short days, windy temps and frosty landscapes don’t coax all outdoor adventurer’s out of bed. Sometimes you want to curl up and hibernate until summer. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for an escape from (or to) snowy landscapes or you’re just ready for some adventure travel inspiration, these trips will have you packing your bags. The best part? These budget-friendly outdoor getaways have dirtbags in mind.
Climb Your Heart Out in California
Winter blues got you down? Then head to the desert! Tis’ the season for sending in both Bishop and Joshua Tree National Park. The best part? There’s plenty of camping (and a lot of BLM land to set up the perfect dirtbag basecamp). Bishop’s Buttermilk Boulders are jam-packed with world-famous pebbles prime for the climb.
Joshua Tree National Park offers its fair share of sandstone sends nestled among the strange, twisted Joshua Tree where the park gets its namesake. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a desert tortoise, just keep your distance, it’s illegal to approach these endangered animals. If climbing isn’t your thing there are plenty of opportunities to hike and explore.
Best Time to Visit: Late fall through early spring, before the temps soar.
Ride the Steeps in Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of budget-friendly travel, but if you know where to go, you can find affordable accommodation. Pair that up with the Ikon Pass and you’ve got yourself some amazing terrain to explore. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort joined the new Ikon Pass, so pass holders can enjoy the steepest (and snowiest) in-resort terrain in America.
The town of Jackson isn’t cheap, but if you’re willing to drive, check out the towns of Victor, Idaho or Alpine, Wyoming. Alpine offers tons of hidden backcountry terrain if you prefer your skiing and riding off-piste.
Indulge in Some Type II Mountain Fun in Washington
When it comes to steep, glaciated snow, Washington state holds routes of legend. Mt Rainier, Shuskan, and Mt Baker all come to mind if you like a little type II fun. For those that appreciate the fine art of a long approach, consider climbing Mount Olympus. Most mountains require permits, so a little advanced planning is required.
Discover the Fine Art of Sandstone in Moab, Utah
Moab and the surrounding area are a rock lover’s dream come true! Head south of town a few hours and climb the legendary Indian Creek. These ancient walls of sandstone house more than just burly cracks and grunting climbers, they are also sacred lands to many Native Americans. Remember to leave any artifacts you find where you spot them.
MTB enthusiasts will go gaga for world-class mountain biking terrain near Moab. Ride areas such as the Whole Enchilada or Magnificent 7 for some good old desert classics.
When you can’t possibly peddle any further or your hands are raw from sandstone, opt to hike and explore Arches NP, Canyonlands NP or Dead Horse Point State Park. Moab is an adventure mecca, packed with free places to camp what are you waiting for?
Get Into the Backcountry in Alberta
If you’re the kind of skier or rider that appreciates the finer skins in life, look no further than our neighbor to the north. Head to Alberta for endless amounts of backcountry terrain stuffed with vitamin L and plenty of powder. The Kanaskis offer endless fun, while Jasper, Kootenay, and Banff are a trifecta of mountainous terrain.
Don’t like the cold winters? No problem! Alberta’s mountain country isn’t just about snow. It would take the alpinist a lifetime to fully explore this sea of mountains. There are far too many to name, but there is certainly something for every peak enthusiast in this area.
Climb Frozen Chandeliers in Colorado
Colorado is home to world-class ice climbing. If you dig good sticks and ever-changing ice ascents, head to Colorado for a tour-de-freeze. Vail hosts legendary ice and mixed climbing areas such as the Designator and the Amphitheater.
When you’ve had your fill of these two choice formations, head down to Ouray in the southwestern part of the state. Every year in January the Ouray ice festival brings frozen water enthusiasts from around the globe. Clinics, competitions, and good old dirtbag fun abound at this annual icy climbers’ gathering.
Whatever your preferred way to get your dirtbag on, the wild is calling! These budget-friendly outdoor getaways are guaranteed to bring some adventure to your winter season!
Meg Atteberry is a writer, adventurer, and passionate outdoorswoman. Her mission is to empower other women to get outside and have an adventure. She spends her time summiting mountains, overcoming her crippling fear of heights, and traveling all over the world. She’d rather be dirty than done up. Find and connect with her on Instagram at @adventuresoffoxintheforest.
About the Gear Tester
Meg Atteberry is a full-time freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. Her mission is to empower others to get outside and have an adventure. She loves a sunny crag and delicious trail snacks. When she’s not wordsmithing you can find her hiking, climbing, and mountaineering all over the world with her fiancé and adventure pup, Nina. To learn more about Meg, check out her blog Fox in the Forest. She’d rather be dirty than done up.