Planning a spring hike? Step carefully when it’s muddy so you don’t damage trails, habitat

The welcome arrival of spring weather will undoubtedly encourage outdoor enthusiasts to take advantage by hitting the many trails in their surrounding communities.

It’s a great time of year to see colorful wildflowers blooming in the desert, before the arrival of rattlesnakes and the stifling summer heat, or spring ephemerals that blossom before the greening of the forests. More people means more stress on a trail, making it more important than ever to know how to take care of them, particularly when they’re muddy from rainstorms and melting of snowpack.

“We have the big muddy time of year when trails are at their most vulnerable,” said Betsy Bloomfield, Cowiche Canyon Conservancy conservation director. “Trails can be completely demolished by use of (them) when the conditions just don’t warrant being there.”

Whether you’re hiking, biking, or horseback riding, here are some tips to ensure everyone can continue to get outdoors while minimizing the negative effects on the environment.


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