When temperatures drop, it can be easy to stay indoors and away from the cold throughout winter months, but in doing so, one can often miss out on the wintry wonderland that is the Blue Ridge Mountains when yearly snowfalls blanket the Blue Ridge Mountains’ picturesque landscape.

According to a research study published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, spending at least two hours outdoors can be associated with overall good health and well-being. Although colder temperatures can make it difficult to get outside, the High Country offers plenty of ways to stay outdoors and give your physical and mental health the boost it deserves.

 Take a hikeWhen the sun is shining and temperatures aren’t too low, plenty of trails snake their way through the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering you the perfect chance to escape the buzz and retreat to the peaceful solace of the High Country’s creeks and peaks for unforgettable views.

Bring along a camera or sketchbook on the hike. Rolling, snow-blanketed hills make for one-of-a-kind views, and the birds and animals who elect to stick around during the winter can appear more vivid against the white-washed backdrop of a snowy mountainscape.

Trails can be accessed in any number of areas throughout the High Country and are accessible for hikers of all skill levels, including Grandfather Mountain State Park, Mount Jefferson State Natural Area and plenty of others.

 Get creativeWinter snowfall makes for an excellent opportunity to get creative with the frozen flakes, whether you’re looking to create a snowman, igloo or even an obstacle course. Once the snow starts to fall, seize the opportunity and enjoy the day with friends and family while molding powder into whatever you decide.

 Build a bonfireWhat better excuse to get friends and family together than a nice, warm bonfire on a cold winter night? Children and adults can work together to construct a bonfire in a safe location to then be used for roasting marshmallows and other relaxing activities.

 Hit the slopesOnce snow starts to fall, the High Country’s hills make for great sledding, snowboarding and skiing opportunities. Visit any number of High Country locations for snow-traversing activities, or there might be a suitable hill in your own backyard.

However you decide to spend your time outdoors during the winter months, always make sure to dress in layers. That way, clothing can be removed or added to reduce the likelihood of hypothermia.

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