Hiking muddy trails can cause lasting damage

To avoid trail widening, unnecessary erosion, soil damage, higher maintenance costs and labor demands, trail crews ask us to be responsible trail users when the ground is water logged and muddy. Bikes and horses can cause the most damage, but foot traffic is also destructive when the ground is wet. “If people must go out, we want them to stay on the trails. Please avoid walking around puddles because it damages vegetation and creates trail widening,” said a Land Access Manager.

He recommends hikers reschedule an outing when storms hit because windy conditions can be dangerous. Tree roots can lose their footing, rocks can tumble down slopes and high winds can break branches and topple trees.

For folks who just can’t help themselves and need to get outside despite foul weather, try using alternative trails including those that are paved. Water is, of course, the number one enemy of any trail.

Trails can take a week or two to dry out depending on the slope, elevation and soil type. Look for south-facing trails and trails at lower elevations that dry out more quickly.

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