Sure, it’s not the season most people think of when it comes to going on an overnight outdoor adventure, but that’s not to say it can’t be done.Local state parks offer heated structures that allow users to “camp” with relative ease. Hells Gate State Park has four cabins that are available for year-round rental ($63.30-$68.60) that include a bunk bed, a futon, picnic table, heat and electricity. All cooking must be done outdoors. During the colder months, visitors often enjoy the park’s trail system, Jack O’Connor and visitor centers, as well as other regional points of historical interest. Guests must supply bedding and are advised to watch the weather forecasts to pack and plan accordingly.
Winchester State Park has four yurts available for year-round rental ($63.30-$79.20) which also include a bunk bed, futon, picnic table, heat and electricity. A deluxe yurt, which costs around $10 more, is larger and includes adirondack deck chairs and a microwave. All of the yurts come with a minimum of four snowshoes that can be used on the Lakeshore Trail, a groomed 3-mile trail that winds through the woods and down by the lake. When the lake is frozen over, many winter camping visitors choose to do some ice fishing.
Double dare: If you’re going to rough it and do your camping in a tent, you not only need to know what you’re doing and have a plan, you’ll need the gear and skills to handle the winter weather, lower temperatures and shorter daylight hours involved. The public can rent tents, sleeping bags, skis, snowshoes and more from recreation rental centers at University of Idaho, Washington State University and Lewis-Clark State College. Some outdoor equipment businesses also offer rentals.