Understanding key adaptation traits is crucial to developing new cultivars with broad adaptations. The main objective of this research is to understand the genetic basis of winter hardiness (WH) and fall dormancy (FD) in alfalfa and the association between the two traits. QTL analysis was conducted in a pseudo-testcross F1 population developed from two cultivars contrasting in FD (3010 with FD = 2 and CW 1010 with FD = 10). The mapping population was evaluated in three replications at two locations (Watkinsville and Blairsville, GA). FD levels showed low to moderate correlations with WH (0.22–0.57). Assessing dormancy in winter is more reliable than in the fall in southern regions with warm winters. The mapping population was genotyped using Genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS). Single dose allele SNPs (SDA) were used for constructing linkage maps. The parental map (CW 1010) consisted of 32 linkage groups spanning 2127.5 cM with 1377 markers and an average marker density of 1.5 cM/SNP. The maternal map (3010) had 32 linkage groups spanning 2788.4 cM with 1837 SDA SNPs with an average marker density of 1.5 cM/SNP. Forty-five significant ( P < 0.05) QTLs for FD and 35 QTLs for WH were detected on both male and female linkage maps. More than 75% (22/28) of the dormancy QTL detected from the 3010 parent did not share genomic regions with WH QTLs and more than 70% (12/17) dormancy QTLs detected from CW 1010 parent were localized in different genomic regions than WH QTLs. These results suggest that the two traits have independent inheritance and therefore can be improved separately in breeding programs.