So What’s the Big Deal…Muddy Trails?

There has been a lot of talk about Muddy-Trails this spring.  It has a lot to do with the fact that we all want to get outside and play, especially because our winter didn’t stack-up (pun intended) to our normal winter expectations.  As you get ready to head out the door to you favorite trail this spring, please consider whether or not it is truly “ready-to-use.”

What does “ready-to-use” mean?  As an example, it means that the Glenwild trail system is

Example of a trail being over used during mud season – ride around track.

not good-to-go just because a couple miles of the frontside are dry(ish).  We’ve all been in this situation (us included), you leave on your favorite trail only to encounter mud on a north facing section.  Do you continue at that point?  The answer is no, but most will trudge along thinking it will be fine to walk or ride around this “one” section.  The damage being created by walking/riding around or through the mud creates the problems we’ll be outlining in the remainder of this BLOG.

Riding, running or hiking on muddy trails creates tread damage in a couple of ways.  Deep ruts created by MTB tires and footprints create low spots for melting snow or rain to settle.  The water becomes trapped, forms a puddle and trail users tend to either go through the puddle further deepening the ruts, or around the puddle widening the trail tread.  In areas where there is a large slope, these ruts trap any runoff that would typically sheet off the downhill edge of the tread and instead, focus it down the trail, creating erosion in the form

Example of cupping and the erosion that typically follows

of “cupping”.  Over time, with water channeling down the trail tread, the erosion and cupping will worsen.  Once the damage is done, it takes a tremendous amount of labor with hand-tools or expensive machinery to repair.

Let’s keep our single track “single” and wait until our trails are completely dry before venturing out.

If you’d like to know which trails we recommend and approve as being mud free, please visit our interactive map and click the “conditions” button (second from left – top of page).

Thank you for helping us preserve the Park City Trails.

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