When you think "hiking in Southeast Missouri," you might think Fall foliage or Spring buds, or even lush summertime greenery, but hiking during the winter months has its own special appeal! Angela Pierce, a Naturalist with the Cape Girardeau Conservation Center, took a hike with me on the White Oak Trace trail that surrounds the Nature Center and shared why winter hiking is worth braving the cold!
- Peace and quiet - trails are not crowded during the winter. You might even have the joint all to yourself!
- Visibility. The bare trees enable you to see much more than you can when leaves are on the trees. I was amazed at how much of White Oak Trace I could see winding up the ridges that I had never noticed before with leaves blocking the view.
- New friends. Certain birds visit only in the winter, and there is unique fungi only apparent during this season. Hike at night to hear owls, who are active breeding and raising their young in the wintertime. During the winter, animals spend more time foraging for food, so you might see more wildlife than you would at other times of the year.
- Winter Tree ID. Play Sherlock and read the buds, remaining fruit, branch direction, bark and more to spot trees on your hike.
Stop by the Nature Center on Saturday, February 28 from 1-4 p.m. to learn to read the subtle clues that will enable you to identify any tree in winter at Discovery Table: Winter Tree ID.
Ready to bundle up and hit the trail? Plan your adventure here with a full listing of trails in the Cape Girardeau area.
What is your favorite time of year to hike