Getting Outside During Mud Season

Mud Season Hiking: Q&A

The season we love so much has again returned…you called it: Mud Season! With the warmer weather upon us, it’s easy to get excited and dash out to the parks the second you have a free afternoon—and we want you to! But we need to remind everybody about some precautions to take during these slippery times and how to safely make the most of your outdoor adventures. Here are a few common questions the Vermont State Parks get about hiking during Mud Season!

When is Mud Season, exactly? Early spring through the Saturday of Memorial Weekend (ish)

What does it mean for the trails? When snow melts and we get rain at high elevations, it keeps a lot of trails wet and muddy. When hikers walk on them, it causes irreversible erosion. The trails, as well as surrounding vegetation, are permanently damaged, not to mention your new hiking boots.

Where should I go? Trails at lower elevations, dirt roads, and recreation paths are great options for getting outside for a hike during Mud Season. Lower trails, particularly those that are south-facing and in hardwood forests, will be your best bets!

What should I avoid? Trails at high elevations, conifer forests, and north faces should be avoided.

What should I be on the lookout for? If you need to step on surrounding vegetation in order to cross parts of a trail, please turn around. Also, be attentive to changes in trail consistency—some trails will start off dry, but start to get increasingly muddy. In these instances, please play it safe and find a different trail to hike!

Any changes in the parks during Mud Season? Yes! Camel's Hump and Mount Mansfield are "closed" from mid-April until May 22nd. These are very fragile areas and we appreciate your cooperation in staying off the trails.

Any other areas to avoid? YES: Stratton Mountain, Killington Peak, Lincoln Ridge (Mount Ellen to Appalachian Gap), and Jay Peak have all reported delicate conditions in the past. Please play it safe!

Ok then…where should I hike?
We’re so glad you asked!! Some recommended places to hike this spring are: 

Northeast Vermont:
• The Cross VT Trail - runs west to east across VT 
• Thresher Hill; Pine Brook Trails
• Liberty Hill; Contest Trails
• Lefferts Pond
• Robert Frost Interpretive Trail 
• Stowe Bike Path

Happy trails!

By Carlie Timbie
Vermont State Parks


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