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Ten cool winter hiking spots in Western Mass.

Hiking in winter is the best. You don’t have to swat bugs. And rarely, at least in these 10 spots, do you encounter more than a handful of people. With the numerous nature preserves and state forests in the Connecticut River Valley and flanking hill towns, hikers on snowshoes or skis will find plenty of varied terrain to explore.

Before heading out, check with the managing agency or organization for local conditions and rules about pets and parking. And in winter, it’s crucial to wear and pack the right stuff — see the Appalachian Mountain Club’s list at

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