Looking for a 3-5 day trek in February
December 15, 2011 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Looking for ideas for a 3-5 day hike in February, easy to intermediate level, and maybe with a hut-to-hut or home-to-home element. Focusing on North and South America or Europe, and with a preference for decent weather. Any thoughts?

My wife and I have around 8 travel days in mid Feb, and we're looking to spend some of that trip time doing some hiking. We're looking for a place with nice weather, and maybe with a hut to hut component. We're happy to have a guide if necessary. Flying out of Toronto, so Africa, Asia and Australia is probably too far.

Any thoughts would be considered. We're currently thinking about Copper Canyon in Mexico, or Fitzroy/Paine in Chile and Argentina (although I have done Patagonia in the past, so that's not at the top of the list).

Have previously seen these threads: 1 and 2.
posted by evadery to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
I think you'll have a rough time finding a location in Europe with guaranteed nice weather for hiking in mid February, so I'd probably confine my search to N. or S. America if I were you.
posted by syzygy at 8:09 AM on December 15, 2011

Not an 8 day hike, but I have always wanted to hike to Machu Pichu. February is supposed to summer in Peru. So this may be worth looking at.
posted by justlooking at 8:54 AM on December 15, 2011

The Torres de Paine Circuit should meet your needs. We did it a couple of years ago and had mostly very good weather. A lot of the campsites had huts and had food available for purchase.
posted by monotreme at 8:57 AM on December 15, 2011

What about the grand canyon? It's spectacular, the weather should be fine for hiking (although cold at the bottom), plenty of space for a 5 day hike.
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:47 AM on December 15, 2011

The AT has shelters and covers most of the eastern seaboard of the US. It sounds custom made for what you're asking for. Get on somewhere, get off somewhere else.

I'm a huge fan of hiking in Yellowstone but it's out of season for that.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:28 PM on December 15, 2011

Re: The Grand Canyon. If there has been significant snowfall during the winter (and it has already seen snow this season), the higher portions of the trail in February will probably be snow and ice covered. To hike on it would require, for convenience and safety, the appropriate equipment (e.g., ice cleats like Stabilicers).

The earliest I've been to the Grand Canyon is early April a few years back: the first ~2 miles of hiking (or about 2,000 feet in elevation) down from the South Rim on the Bright Angel Trail (the main conduit down) had significant ice covering on the parts of the trail that were mostly or totally shaded. This made for slow going and some interesting hiking as I lacked both the appropriate footgear enhancements and sufficient experience hiking on snow / ice -- not that it wasn't fun.

Note also that the Grand Canyon is warmer the farther down you go. The South Rim is at about 7-thousand feet in elevation, the North Rim at about 8-thousand and the river roughly at 2-thousand. So, for example, when it's 90 degrees on the South Rim, it could be 110-120 at the river. On the day I hiked it in late April 2010, it was cool on the rim -- about 42 -- but a comfy 70-odd down in the hole.

So with respect to your question about your trip plans, you would probably be better off heading somewhere farther south where it is technically summer rather than planning something in North America.
posted by cool breeze at 1:34 PM on December 15, 2011

There's no guarantee of good weather in February around Fitzroy. I was there in February 2009 and had 4 days of cloud / rain / snow at 1,400m. Beautiful, but worth bearing in mind.
posted by jontyjago at 3:14 PM on December 15, 2011

Look for a nice place along the AT trail. I would recommend the NC/TN/VA section. I spent a 3 day trip just circling part of the Mt. Rogers NRA, looping through Jefferson National Forrest, ending up were I started in Grayson Highlands. Hike was easy to moderate. Clearly marked trails, some of the best views in the area.

Weather wise: It will be chilly, and at the higher elevations; downright cold (to some people).
posted by token-ring at 10:07 PM on December 15, 2011

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