Hiking in the snow: Wearing foot traction definitely helps


We have a number of new people who will be doing their first hiking in snow with us  —  if they stick around as the weather gets worse  —  most of our regulars have at least one kind of foot traction that they bring to the trail head when there’s snow on the trail, even if they decide at the last minute that the traction’s not actually needed.  Tiger and I have three different types.



These are the cheapest of the three devices we have.  We learned always get YakTrax PRO, which has a strap across the instep.  Otherwise they can come off your feet and possibly get lost.  These work well except in wet snow, when they can clump up and form ice balls.  Another drawback:  they’re a bit flimsy and the rubber connection points can break (though you can repair them using rubber bands).


Kahtoola Microspikes

These are a lot sturdier and they provide much more biting traction.  You can walk on serious ice in these and not worry.  But they’re quite a bit more expensive.  Drawback:  They do clump badly in heavy wet snow.  They’re more awkward than YatTrax for walking on pavement


Kahtoola Nanospikes

We bought these late in the season last year.  They have a different design and we don’t recall them clumping up.  They have protruding studs instead of claws.  They’re more comfortable to wear and they seem very sturdy.  Less expensive than Microspikes.  We don’t know how they’ll work on serious ice but they seem like they’ll be OK.


You shouild always shop around for better prices  —  they seem to be always on sale somewhere.


Our Nanospikes also work well on ice-covered sidewalks in town, where YakTrax and Microspikes are too bulky and uncomfortable.

My Top 12 hikes — and three close runners-up

  1. This slot is currently open while I re-evaluate my top picks
  2. Lick Brook
  3. Monkey Run, north side of Fall Creek (Hanshaw Road)
  4. Six Mile Creek, Mulholland Wildflower walk to Potter’s Falls
  5. Kennedy SF, Cortland County
  6. South Danby Road, Finger Lakes Trail to the Tamarack lean-to
  7. Shindagin Gorge, rim trail along upper Shindagin Hollow Road
  8. Monkey Run, south side of Fall Creek, Varna
  9. Lindsay Parsons Biodiversity Preserve
  10. Stevens Suspension Bridge, Park Park, and the Cornell horse fields and golf course
  11. Taughannock gorge rim trail around the top
  12. Six Mile Creek, south side rim trail starting from Crescent Place
  • Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve
  • Fischer Old Growth Forest
  • Upper Buttermilk Falls State Park and La Tourelle spur


As of summer 2015 we have well over 50 hikes we can do  —  you can see most of them on the page called Hikes  —  I need to get busy and finish the list and do descriptions.

Some of our hikers told me they don’t really have any favorites:

“I love so many. Depends on weather, my mood, how much exercise I want/need,” said Roger.

“I tend not to have favorites, each hike has its own strong points,” said Jack V.

“Most importantly, I LOVE VARIETY!!!!” said Katharine, agreeing with Jack V.

Looking for a schedule of upcoming hikes?

Sorry, there is no schedule.  I generally don’t decide where we’ll hike on a given weekend until two days before.  The weekend’s hike notice is generally up by 4 pm on Thursdays.

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