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RISMEDIA, January 15, 2010—(MCT)—Strap on your shoes, hit the trail and bond with your family under winter’s night sky. Here are five places where you can explore snowy mountains by moonlight.

1. Yosemite National Park, Calif.
Snow blankets the hills and peaks famously captured on film by Ansel Adams. Wind through the forest to a ridge where the moonrise will amaze all who have arrived on snowshoes. A naturalist guide will share knowledge of the park, its plants and animals, as well as lunar folklore.

2. Bend, Ore.
Guided by the light of central Oregon’s starry sky, explore the high Cascades on snowshoes. You’ll learn about winter sky constellations, be on the lookout for shooting stars and enjoy the soft sounds of the nighttime forest as you shoe through moonlit powder. Enjoy hot chocolate and marshmallows at tour’s end.

3. Squaw Valley, Calif.
Enjoy stunning moonlit views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountain peaks during guided tours designed for explorers of all ages. Expand the experience by signing up for the dinner package. Stay on to ski and take advantage of the 12,000-square-foot Squaw Kids’ Children’s Center for guests ages 3 to 12. The center, at the base of the mountain, is home base for accessing the mountain lifts and the 110-passenger aerial cable car. Full-day and half-day ski-school programs are available.

4. White Mountains, Gorham, N.H.
Fuel up with a hearty dinner at the Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch before heading out on snowshoes with an Appalachian Mountain Club naturalist. This sensory-rich experience challenges families to rely on sight to navigate trails and also to listen for owl calls and other sounds of nocturnal nature.

5. Tahoe City, Calif.
Join award-winning astronomer Tony Berendsen for a family-friendly tour of the superlative Sierra skies by moonlight. Learn about the natural and human history of the area while you trek through the peaceful, snow-laden forest to a night-sky vantage point. Hot drinks and snacks will warm the winter night.

(c) 2009, The Dallas Morning News.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.