Who says the hiking season has to end in September? With the right gear, you can visit many hiking and trekking areas all year round. Most people get a real kick out of seeing their favorite trail transformed into a winter wonderland -- just make sure you've got a good map, since the great outdoors can look dramatically different without all those leaves.

Several sites offer good advice on when to go, what to wear, and what to bring (hint: calories are important!). A few of our favorites are Hike the Whites: Winter Hiking, and Compass Monkey's Winter Hiking Tips

Many outdoors organizations offer group hiking excursions during the winter months, and for novices, these are a great idea. The Appalachian Mountain Club is a good place to start.

This article originally appeared in Plenty in January 2007. The story was added to MNN.com in December 2009.

Copyright Environ Press 2007.