How to avoid a snowfall when winter hiking the mountains

How to avoid a snowfall when winter hiking the mountains

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Mountain hiking, especially in winter, is seen by many experts as the perfect way to burn extra calories. It helps to boost the immune system, keeps you mentally and physically in great shape. No other sport comes close to the gains of winter hiking: boost your mood and energy levels to the max.

No matter how worthwhile the exercise is, one should always keep an eye on changing weather conditions such as snowfalls. Heavy snowfall followed by slow warming and rain can lead to the creation of dangerous avalanche conditions.

Mountain hikers, therefore, should be able to study and forecast the weather before hiking. There are many ways of doing it.



Gathered clouds don't always mean rain or snow. The biggest signs of an upcoming storm are the following:

Cloud formation. Often the size and shape of a cloud can give enough information about forecast weather. The thicker the cloud is the more likely it's going to rain. 

Wind. Wind accompanied by darkened cloud ultimately spells a storm so it isn't advisable for a hiker to venture further. The wind which is the meeting of air masses of different pressure, when studied well provides a lot of weather-related information. A sudden change in wind speed is an indicator of an upcoming storm. Westerly winds often indicate good weather while easterly winds usually suggest the incoming of bad weather.

Pressure. Additionally, a reduction in air pressure is also a pointer to oncoming snowfall or rain. 

Therefore, when these three natural phenomenons come up, a storm is inevitable and a hiker should better think twice before venturing out. 



People also can use weather lore to predict and forecast the weather.  This was practiced way back before mobile apps and it is still a formidable way of predicting the weather. 

Moon. If you see the dark part of a crescent moon, it may mean there will be good weather for 24 to 48 hours. Also, if the moon face is red, or a ring or halo is found around the moon, rain or snow is imminent.  

Sun. If the sun is red either at dawn or dusk, the weather will be fair. In the same vein, if there is a rainbow or white band around the sun, it means that the weather can change drastically (the weather will become good if bad or bad if good). Also, if the sky is red at dawn,  the weather won't be clement but if it is red at night, the following day will experience good weather. 

Rainbow. The presence of rainbow facing west in the morning is a clear indication of approaching shower while rainbow at sunset points to the arrival of fair weather.

Plants. Pine cones, morning glory, flat-leaved vanilla close up during an upcoming storm but open up and bloom if the weather is good.

Animals. Birds chirp unusually and even sand-bathe to indicate the presence of a storm. Frogs croak loudly and hide their egg with the coming of snowfall or rain. On the other hand, spiders make a shorter and stronger web, with deer and calf becoming restless and uneasy, all to point at the upcoming storm. 


The easiest, accurate and fastest way of forecasting the weather for winter mountain hikers and all hikers, in general, is through the use of a mobile app. 

WINDY.APP combines basic weather forecast with highly detailed weather information to predict accurately weather behavior. It gives information about wind, waves, snows, temperature, air pressure and much more of the location.

There is also much useful information on the website that a hiker can familiarise with.


When going for winter mountain hiking, one shouldn't forget the following items: 

  • Enough water
  • Emergency sleeping kit
  • A portable shovel for digging
  • Avalanche beacon 
  • And of course, the ever-reliable WINDY.APP in your mobile device. 

Winter mountain hikers need to do plenty of advanced planning, taking every precaution before hitting a trail in winter months. With the use of new and formidable technology like WINDY.APP, information from national weather service, close attention to the natural environment, hazards relating to hiking can be minimized.


Get the weather forecast for all US national parks ranked by your Google search from this post in blog.

How to enjoy hiking in the rain if you never did it before. Tips from the (bad) weather experts


Cover photo: Nicolas-j-leclercq / unsplash.

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