Just because it’s cold, doesn’t mean you can’t still get out and explore. It might just take a bit more planning and prep! Before you head out to any of the trails, make sure you confirm that they are open, especially if there is snow. I suggest checking AllTrails or contacting the Forest Service. Read ahead for our suggestions of where to go, what to bring, and what to wear! But first: some safety information! Make sure someone know where you will be hiking and an approximate time for your return. Cell phone service can be spotty on the trails. Read reviews on AllTrails to get a handle on the difficulty of a given hike.
WHERE TO GO
Below is a list of local hikes. Keep in mind that if you’re hiking after a recent snow melt, there will be mud and potentially snow run-off. Always check trail conditions in advance.
Pine Loop Trail: Located at the Pine Trailhead, about 10 minutes from the Inn. This is a fairly moderate trail, with minimal elevation gain.
Tonto Natural Bridge: There are multiple trails within Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. Some may be closed depending on weather, but there are great lookout points from the top too!
Pine-Strawberry Trail: This is the closest trail to the Inn. The official trail goes for many miles, but our family usually explores for a couple of miles before turning around.
Monument Peak Loop Trail: This trail in Payson is a fairly easy hike, but may be quite muddy after snow melt! It would also make a great spot for snow-shoeing if there is a lot of snow on the ground.
200 Trail: Beautiful trail with lots of large pine trees, boulders, and great views. The trail is sometimes not well-marked, so I recommend using the map within AllTrails to help you navtigate.
WHAT TO BRING
Some of the gear you bring will depend on the weather conditions. Before you head out on the trail, check for inclement weather. The last thing you want is to get caught in a big snow storm out on the trail! Here’s what I recommend bringing:
Water: Even though it’s cold, it’s easy to get dehydrated at the elevation in Strawberry! Make sure you bring plenty and remind yourself to drink regularly. Side note, using a hydration pack will keep your hands free. You can buy insulators for the straw so that your water doesn’t freeze in the tubes!
Snacks: Bring more than you think you’ll need just in case! I like to bring protein bars, jerky, trail mix, and fresh fruit.
Trekking poles: These can be helpful in the snow or when there is a lot of mud or snow run-off. The snow run-off can make rocks pretty slippery, so the extra traction helps a lot.
First aid supplies: I carry a very minimal first aid kit on every hike. Here’s what I bring: antiseptic wipes, bandages of assorted size, a few sheets of gauze, ibuprofen, and Neosporin. It doesn’t take up much space at all, and has been helpful more than a few times.
WHAT TO WEAR
Layers are the key to being comfortable during your hike! It won’t take long to warm up once you get moving, so plan accordingly. I like to wear a good base layer and jacket. For shoes, waterproof hiking boots with wool socks OR snow boots if there is snow on the ground.
You may even consider snow shoes if you want to try a fun new challenge! Lastly, don’t forget about sun protection!
That’s it! Get out and have a fun adventure. We can’t wait to see your pictures – don’t forget to tag us on Instagram @thestrawberryinn. See you ‘berry soon!