Mud Season Hiking: What You Need to Know
|Family hiking on trail|
It's time for our yearly PSA: Please, stay off muddy trails during mud season! Conditions are variable this time of year: dry in places, snow and mud in others. Respect trail closure signs and turn around if you encounter muddy conditions. Continue to practice social distancing and following all Vermont Department of Health recommendations and guidelines. For updates on Vermont State Parks and COVID-19, click here.
Spring is in the air! The birds are singing, flowers are starting to pop up, and the snow is melting. While cabin fever may drive you to hit the trail, make sure to remember we’re entering Vermont’s fifth season:
What is mud season? End of winter snow-melt and early spring rain make many trails wet and muddy. The wet soils on and around hiking trails are very susceptible to erosion at this critical time of year. Hikers walking on saturated soils or the sides of trails cause damage to surrounding vegetation, widen trails, and inhibit natural drainage of our beloved hiking trails. Higher elevations take even longer to dry out, and muddy trails conditions can often be expected through the end of May.
While trails are usually vulnerable this time of year, it is extra important this year to respect trail closures and turn around when you see muddy conditions. Trail crews are currently unable to repair trails per Governor Scott’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. This means that downed trees, dead overhanging branches, and other hazards may be lurking on closed trails. To protect you and our trails, some trails may be closed by land managers. We ask everyone to please respect the signage you see. Thank you for helping to preserve our beautiful natural resources!
|Hiking paved trails is a great option|
🥾 If a trail is so muddy that you need to walk on the vegetation beside it, turn back and seek another place to hike.
💐 Plan spring hikes in hardwood forests at lower elevations. Stay below 3000 ft during these times of year.
🌲 Avoid spruce-fir (conifer) forests at higher elevations and on north slopes before late May and from the end of October until frozen or snow covered.
🏔 Camels Hump and Mt. Mansfield trails are closed from April 15 through the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend (and earlier if there is mud).
✅ Before you hike, check the Mud Season Trail Status Cheat Sheet.
Looking for even more information on mud season hiking? Check out the Green Mountain Club's Day Hiking in Mud Season resources.
- Mt. Ascutney State Park Parkway (PDF) (after mid April, when the ice has melted)
- Dutton Pines State Park - Myron Dutton Memorial Loop Trail (PDF)
- Fort Dummer State Park - Sunrise and Sunset Trails (PDF)
- Jamaica State Park - West River Trail (PDF)
- Wilgus State Park - Pinnacle Trail (PDF)
- Delaware and Hudson Rail Trail (PDF)
- Emerald Lake State Park - Roads (PDF)
- Woodford State Park - Trails (PDF)
|Leashed dogs on the Maidstone State Park roads|
- The Austin Brook Trail - Warren/Granville
- Trail Around Middlebury (TAM)
- Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail
- Alburgh Recreation Trail
- Mallets Bay Causeway
- Cambridge Greenway Recreation Path
- Mt. Philo State Park
- Button Bay State Park - Roads (PDF)
- Brighton State Park - park roads and trails
- Maidstone State Park - park roads and trails
- The Cross VT Trail - runs west to east across VT
- Thresher Hill/Pine Brook Loop (PDF)
- Liberty Hill - Contest Trails
- Robert Frost Interpretive Trail
- Stowe Bike Path