Hiking can be just as fun in rain, but be kind to trails

Even on trails, hiking the right way is sometimes counter-intuitive. Especially this time of year.

Take, for example, a familiar and notorious fall hiking obstacle: the mud puddle. What is the best way to pass?

Toss a big branch over the puddle to create a makeshift bridge to keep your boots from getting muddy? Skirt the edge of the puddle? Walk through the puddle as if it wasn’t there?

“That’s one of the biggest things we tell people when it comes to hiking in the rain,” said Kindra Ramos, spokeswoman for the Washington Trails Association. “Just walk right through. You actually do more damage walking around. “It creates wide spots in the trail. It can damage delicate flora.”

Similarly, tossing branches or rocks over the puddle can change the way water flows on the trail and damage the path. It could also leave a hazard on which others might slip or trip.

Here are some tips that will help keep the trails in good shape…


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