Mother Nature has thrown some pretty wild weather at us here in Maine this autumn, including at least three snowstorms, several serious rainstorms, and temperatures ranging from the single digits to the 50s. Brooding gray skies have reigned over the sunny bluebird ones, that’s for sure.

For hikers, this meteorological mishmash has presented its share of challenges, making it more difficult to plan where to go and what gear to pack. Stick to the coast or chance a drive to the mountains? Will I need shorts or long johns, or both? Should I wear boots with ice traction or light hikers?

Despite all the griping about the fickleness of New England weather this fall, it doesn’t appear to have hindered those hardy hikers determined to get outside and on the trail somewhere, at least as far as I can tell from my online community of hiking friends that I follow on Facebook.

This intrepid bunch gets it done no matter what, it seems, so I checked in with them recently to see where they might be headed for their next early winter hikes, with the hope of scoring a few good trip ideas for you and me. Here are some of their recommendations.

Tom Blake of South Portland really likes Burnt Meadow Mountain in Brownfield. “It’s an easy drive, has a little scramble, and is usually pretty quiet.” Doug Dolan of Hollis Center hikes the peak for its “nice snow-capped views of the Whites.”

Caribou Mountain near Evans Notch is a favorite of Lisa Pengel of Durham, who likes to hike the mountain from the Bog Road trailhead. The trail is “typically quiet except for the critters, such as hopping hares and scurrying squirrels. It’s a winter wonderland with 360-degree views that include Mount Washington.”

Larry Lorusso of Clarksburg, Massachusetts, is a big fan of the White Mountains in winter, where there are “lots of options,” including wild places like the Sphinx Trail in the Great Gulf Wilderness. Philip Werner of Boston enjoys North and South Kinsman in the Whites. “It’s nice to visit Lonesome Lake Hut, take in the view of the frozen lake, and the views of Franconia Ridge from the other side of the notch.”

Two spots in the Bridgton area are home to a good network of trails. “Pleasant Mountain offers great views of snow-covered Mount Washington and is just challenging enough to remind me why it’s important to carry all that extra gear in winter,” said Jeanne Christie of Windham. Nearby Bald Pate Mountain “is a nice easy one with great views of the Whites,” noted Wendy Almeida of Standish. “And you can bring the cross-country skis if you want a challenge. We’ve done both snowshoes and skis on that one.”

The Bigelow Range draws Troy Zohner, currently a Colorado denizen, whose chosen route “is up Horns Pond Trail and down Firewarden’s Trail, hitting South Horn and North Horn, and Avery and West peaks. I’ve done it in December a couple times and it’s among my most memorable hikes.”

“It’s the Baldpates in the Mahoosucs for me,” said Ken Plourde of Bath. “I love the lookout from Table Rock, but even more so I love the view of Richardson and Umbagog lakes.”

Blue Hill Mountain is a top pick of Scott Bennett of Bucksport “because the Tower and Hayes trails are always well packed by others, making for easy walking even when there’s snow.”

In the Camden Hills, Leanne Moll of Windsor finds “the view of the cold, gray ocean just as beautiful as a sparkling blue one, plus it’s milder along the coast and the trails are often free of ice.”

Perhaps the best suggestion comes from Gene Gilbert of Jay. “The best hike is a safe hike. Always be prepared for the conditions that winter hiking can bring, and your day will be remembered with many pleasant memories.”

Carey Kish of Southwest Harbor is editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide. Follow Carey’s adventures in his Maineiac Outdoors blog at: