In chilly, windy and wet Blighty you may want to stretch your legs a bit to shake off the winter blues.
In this article we will give you some ideas of how to either escape it and feel some sun on your hide or to warm up with a bit of exercise in the cold before huddling in front of a log fire with a warming stew in a pub!
For the 10 best walks in February we will look at some challenging walks farther afield and then some you can do closer to home that are less dangerous and more accessible for those who want to get away from their grey, wet world at home.
Whether in search of a long term escape from the world or just a long-haul holiday, these six treks are for you to get (in most cases) away from the slate grey skies and into some sunshine.
Most involve altitude so you won’t be a burned husk when you get home (as long as you don’t drop a cigarette in the Australian Alps).
So here you go – six of the best long-haul multi-day treks!
As always, let’s start with an obscenely long multi-month adventure and then gradually dial back to something you can achieve by getting in your car and heading for the hills!
Composed of 43 passages, this epic trail hits on Arizona’s wild beauty from deserts to high mountain passes.
Only some of this route is possible in February thanks to some of the route getting into the permanent winter zone of 2,800 metres plus.
That said, the deserts and lowlands are a warming escape from the slate grey skies of the UK.
It gets cold at night sometimes – this is continental USA – but by comparison to Blighty it will be a welcome escape.
If you’ve been to some of the more popular tourist destinations in the USA before, perhaps New York or Orlando, you will see a completely different world in Arizona.
The people are friendly and welcoming but have different a worldview to many in Britain thanks to the very environment in which they call home.
As treks go, this is a monster but for those seeking to understand a bit of the US in greater depth will be rewarded in spades for heading out to do it.
Australian Alps Walking Track
After the huge fires that have devastated this area in 2019/20, you will get to appreciate the regrowth and greenery that returns as part of the natural lifecycle of this world.
The highest mountains in Australia, this is a world where fire is an important part of the ecology.
In decades previous to now, even a serious forest fire in the Australian Alps was nothing by comparison to the utter devastation of what has occurred in the last few months.
The economy however will need people like you to return to start putting currency in burned and parched wallets to help those who live there regrow their lives in much the same way as Nature will be busily doing in that time.
We chose this route and location as in the fierce heat of the Aussie summer, you will get to escape above the 40 degree plus temperatures to cooler, alpine heights in the 2000 metre region.
There are two major challenges to this multi-week route.
The first one is that February is mid-fire season and you should use all your skills to not leave so much as a cigarette ember on the ground.
The next is that much of the route isn’t mapped so you will have to do your research for months in advance to work out where you’re going and then navigate carefully to achieve your aims of completing it.
The North West Circuit, Stewart Island
Though at the height of the Southern Hemisphere summer, a February trek around Stewart Island can still be cold and wet at times.
You are surrounded by the Southern Ocean with just a few rocks between you and Antarctica, across an ocean that swirls around the world with no definite boundaries to the east or west.
Being located as it is, Stewart Island isn’t heavily populated.
There are two settlements on the island, with Oban being the main one.
As with every marked trek around this fantastic country, you will find bunk huts within a day’s walk of one another.
That means that though you will be carrying two weeks’ food with you you don’t need a tent.
Look on the bright side – as you scoff your way through your supplies your backpack will get lighter by the day!
This is a tough walk with hard weather and at some points the need to plan your walk with the tide.
At certain points you need to leave as the tide retreats and slog to the end before the tide comes back in – time it wrong and things could get ugly!
February is the final warm month of the short Patagonia summer.
By ‘warm’ we don’t mean like Sydney on a hot day, but more of a relative thing for the high latitudes Southern Hemisphere.
Regardless of the time of year you choose to go you should have the full shebang of thermals, waterproofs as well as layers of light trekking gear for those challenging ascents where you would feel hot standing in a blizzard.
Like the Stewart Island trek above, you’re trekking between huts, campsites and hotels and won’t really get a moment alone in the evening.
This is particularly so as Chileans like to head down that way for their summer breaks.
A lot of the route is hard going but you won’t need to be a survival expert to manage it.
Some of it involves crossing and exploring a glacier, as well as seeing the world famous Torres del Paine rock towers.
For those who want to enjoy a two week escape from their desks in soggy Blighty, definitely one to consider!
For those who have not done a serious high altitude trek, the Lemosho route up Kilimanjaro is going to be the best one.
Ideal for a February trek, this also has the advantages of coming close to a road on a number of occasions as you ascend.
That means should you succumb to altitude sickness you can be carted down the mountain at a reasonable clip to avoid the complications that can come from Acute Mountain Sickness such as fluid on the lungs or swelling of the brain (just remember that costs you £20!).
It is a slightly more expensive route up the mountain but for that you are in less of a hurry, will feel less ‘hungover’ from the height gain every day and can appreciate the world around you as you climb from jungle to desert and then high altitude wastelands.
For those who want to get their fix of the highest mountain in Africa in a most spectacular way, this is your go-to trek!
December through to February are still safe months to ascend this route to Everest Base Camp.
It is colder than other times of year but it is also one of the driest.
Being at quite vast altitudes you will need your down jacket, thermals and be ready for some ice and snow as you go.
Trekking to Everest Base Camp can involve dealing with rather a lot of crowds as you go.
More than 100,000 people take this trek on every year, but the majority in April/May and then soon after the monsoon has passed – in both cases when it is warmer.
That’s why you could really appreciate a February trek up to this most famous of starting points.
As you can see from the stats on this route, you aren’t exactly sprinting it every day – this is a long, slow slog with a day of rest at the midpoint to avoid altitude sickness.
The reward is the bewitching beauty and gin clear air of the high Himalayas, a world that has some returning time and again as if under the spell of the mountain gods.
Could they take you into their charge on a February trek?
OK, so you might have a little time on your hands over a few days off but don’t have £5,000+ to spend on a holiday of a lifetime in some far flung wilderness of the world.
Britain still has its jewels even in the bleak midwinter!
The next four treks can be quite challenging – a 100 mile slog in any weather can grind you down, and snows can be a killer to the unwary.
For someone who is experienced and wants to stretch out of their comfort zone, or someone who has no such real ambitions we have something for you here!
While we admit that in February it can snow heavily from time to time this appears to be once every 5-7 years at the moment with our errant climate.
Obviously, be aware of the weather trends and try to get a long-range forecast before you go to ensure that nothing nasty is on its way.
Being a B&B hop, you’ll be sure to see the weather forecast every day on your favourite news channel so you know what’s coming.
This is a tough walk as things go. Day in, day out, 10 milers can wear you down.
There are some beefy climbs that will invigorate you as you deal with sideways rain and the odd bit of sleet!
For that it is an enjoyable escape and a very good way of getting to know this most British of rural regions.
Even if the weather does grind you down, there’s nothing quite like warming your freezing bones beside a fire as you munch on some home-cooked food at a nice B&B at the end of the day – sometimes the destination is as worthy as the journey itself!
Skiddaw Walk, Lake District
Only to be done if you know what you’re doing when the weather gets bad.
That means you need strong paper navigation skills and low visibility navigation skills that we have covered in another article.
The Jenkin Hill Path is one of those routes that are easily done by a mid-skilled walker in summer but with snow on the ground can stretch you to your limits.
If you’re interested in snow trekking then this is going to be a good first serious climb.
Many say that the views at the top of the Skiddaw are among the best in the Lake District and if you manage this beast with a bit of snow on the ground then you’ll have some photos to send home that will raise quite a few eyebrows!
As we’ve indicated, snowy hikes are not for the uninitiated or ill-equipped.
Be aware of the local weather forecast and have the right kit both for the changing weather and any emergencies that will keep you on the mountain.
Snowdonia – Llyn Crafnant and Geirionydd from Capel Curig
For those who want a trek that will generally be safe at most times of year up in Snowdonia, this is something well worth taking on.
This is a low level walk that you can take on at most times of the year.
Though a country mile safer than the Skiddaw above in February, all February walks in the mountains need to be treated with respect.
Watch the weather forecast and make sensible decisions when it comes to taking this on – let’s face it, this scenery will be around in two weeks’ time so why risk your neck for it?
What you will get in return is seeing the snowy peaks of the Crimpiau, Craig Wen, Craigiwyn, and Craigiau Gleision as you walk along lowland moorland and up along some hillsides.
The lakes you wander beside may be a little high at this time of year (it has been rather wet this year!) but you will have some great views for it.
Some observers get sneery about forests but that can be part of the fun.
Forests deaden sound, and you can enjoy a spell of plodding with just your thoughts and the words of your companion as you go.
Cairngorms – Mayar and Driesh
You can bag two Munros in this walk, and that makes for a great day on the hill.
As February treks go, this is a cracker for those new to snowy hiking.
Unlike many a snowy trek, these Munros have gently sloping sides and no precipices or difficult technical sections, allowing the novice snow trekker a chance to explore these Scottish mountains without too much risk of getting in trouble.
Locals suggest you just follow others’ footsteps through the snow as the walk is incredibly popular.
If you get in trouble this will also benefit you as someone is sure to see you and come to your aid should that happen.
Snow isn’t easy to walk in. Like sandy beaches it gives when you step on it, sucking the energy from you as you put so much more effort into each pace.
This will both slow you down and tire you out.
You need to be prepared for changing weather as you go, and to put extra layers on as you take breaks.
With the waterproofs, jumpers, snow shovel, flares, coffee and lunch in your pack you will be carrying extra weight too.
If you do want to do a runner from your world for a weekend, then this is to be highly recommended!
So there we have it…
Whether a quick weekender or a trip far, far away, here’s a great selection of treks to do in February.
Remember that extra skill and preparation is necessary for a winter walk in snow, but if you take all the precautions we have suggested in other blogs then should something go wrong you can sit tight in comfort while rescue authorities come to get you.
Here’s a thought: most people are never rescued from the mountain – if you can count yourself among that number all your trekking career, that’s a clean sheet to be proud of.
See you in the hills!
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