Mud Season Hiking Tips

Mud Season Hiking Tips

Spring weather brings warmer temperatures and more sunshine, but it also brings mud season, which can make outdoor adventures a little trickier. But don’t worry, you don’t have to spend the gap between winter skiing and summer mountain biking trapped indoors. Today we’re sharing our tips for getting out and hiking during mud season.  

Choose Your Trail Wisely 

You can’t completely avoid mud on the trails, but choosing the right place to hike can improve your chances.  

  • Stick to lower elevation trails where there is less snow to melt.  
  • Look up trail conditions ahead of time and choose a different trail if the one you picked is excessively muddy. 
  • Choose trails that get more sun exposure rather than trails that are through thick trees and foliage. 
  • Choose trails that are south facing.  
  • Check avalanche warnings before you head out. Some areas can be extra dangerous as snow begins to melt. 
  • Visit the desert during mud season—there are lots of trails in southern Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada that will be dry when trails in other areas are muddy. Plus, these areas can be uncomfortably hot later in the year, so mud season is the perfect time to try them out.  

Follow Leave No Trace Principles 

Take extra care to avoid damaging trails during mud season by following Leave No Trace principles. 

  • As always, stay on the maintained trails and do not hike if the trail is closed. 
  • If there is mud, hike through it not around it. Hiking on the sides of the trail to avoid mud will widen the trail and cause long-term damage. 
  • Step on rocks and logs, when possible, to limit trail damage. 
  • Start your hike early in the day when the ground is more likely to be hard and frozen. 

Wear the Right Gear 

  • Swap out your sneakers for mid-rise hiking boots (and stash some spare shoes in your car so you can change out of muddy boots when you finish your hike.) 
  • Wear fast-drying socks instead of wool. 
  • Bring moisture wicking layers so you’re ready for quickly changing temperatures. 
  • Don’t forget about sun protection. You can still burn even when it isn’t hot out.  

Pack The Right Gear 

The right gear can improve your hike and keep you comfortable. It can also prevent emergencies and help you handle them if they arise.  

  • A flashlight or headlamp 
  • Extra socks 
  • A printed map of the hike  
  • A compass 
  • Micro spikes or traction devices for possible icy or snowy conditions 
  • First aid kit 
  • A knife or multitool 
  • A power bank to use as a portable phone charger 

Goal Zero Gear Spotlight:  

We think a Venture power bank is the best portable charger for hiking. It is waterproof and dustproof and includes an emergency flashlight.  

Looking for a solar phone charger? Try the ultra-light Nomad 10 solar panel with a built in USB for charging small devices with just the sun. It only weighs 1.12 pounds and folds up so it can fit in a hiking pack. 

Prioritize Safety 

Muddy conditions can increase your risk of slipping and falling. Take a few extra measures to stay safe on the trails. 

  • Hike slower than your usual pace 
  • Take shorter strides. 
  • Be prepared for changing conditions partway through your hike. 
  • Always tell someone when and where you are going. 
  • Pack more water and food than you expect to need. 
  • Use trekking poles to maintain balance in slippery downhill sections and to gauge how deep mud is. (Choose poles with rubber tips to reduce trail damage.) 

Mud season can’t stop you from getting out and living life to the fullest. Stay safe and have fun out there this spring, whether you’re hiking, road biking, rock climbing, camping, or paddling a canoe. 

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