Mud Season is Here! Info for Hikers

Hikers Are Asked to Avoid Muddy Hiking Trails

Vermont – Today the Green Mountain Club (GMC), maintainer of Vermont’s Long Trail and Vermont’s hiking trails advocate, along with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (VTFPR), manager of State Forests and Parks, and the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF), announce the return of Mud Season to the Green Mountains.

Some trails, especially those at high elevations, are closed at this time of year. Please respect the signage you see. Snowmelt and rain will cause the trails to remain wet, muddy, and prone to erosion. Hikers walking on saturated soils or on the sides of trails cause damage to surrounding vegetation, widen trails, and inhibit natural drainage of our beloved hiking trails.

“It can take hours for a volunteer or trail crew to fix what takes just moments to damage by hiking on muddy trails,” says Jessica Savage, VTFPR’s Recreation Program Manager. “So in a way, each footstep on a muddy trail makes extra work for people who are needed for other major projects on trails. We know the sunshine makes getting outside a priority, but saving your mountain hikes until the trails are dried out will ensure a better, longer hiking season for all.”

Dry trails at lower elevations, dirt roads, and recreation paths provide excellent opportunities for Spring activities. “Please give the trails time to dry out for the summer hiking season,” says Dave Hardy, Director of Trail Programs for the Green Mountain Club, “Until the end of May, consider hiking on south facing slopes and lower elevations where the sun can dry out the trails sooner. Thank you for taking care of the trails!”

The Green Mountain Club, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, and the Green Mountain National Forest thank hikers for their cooperation in helping to maintain one of Vermont’s finest recreational resources, our hiking trails.

For information on mud season hiking, call the GMC’s Visitor Center at 802-244-7037 (or email gmc@greenmountainclub.org) or the Vermont State Parks Call Center at 1-888-409-7579 (Mon–Fri, 9am–4pm). In addition, a weekly trail update with the latest conditions and a list of alternative hikes will be posted on the Vermont State Parks website at: http://vtstateparks.com/hiking.html#mudSeasonHiking

Established in 1910 to build the Long Trail, the Green Mountain Club is a private, nonprofit organization with over 9,000 members. The GMC is dedicated to maintaining, managing, and protecting Vermont’s historic Long Trail System and advocating for hiking opportunities in Vermont. Every year more than 800 volunteers work so that future generations may enjoy the 475-mile Long Trail System. Contact the Green Mountain Club to learn more about the GMC or to become a member.

The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) is responsible for the conservation and management of Vermont’s forest resources, the operation and maintenance of the State Park system, and the promotion and support of outdoor recreation for Vermonters and our visitors.  In addition, FPR is responsible for the acquisition, planning coordination and administration of all Agency of Natural Resources lands.  Department employees are stationed throughout Vermont, including offices in Montpelier and at five regional locations. For more information, visit http://fpr.vermont.gov/

The Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) encompasses more than 400,000 acres in southwestern and central Vermont, forming the largest contiguous public land area in the State. Located within a day's drive of more than 70 million people, the GMNF is a destination for visitors seeking a variety of recreation opportunities. The Forest includes three nationally designated trails: The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT), Long National Recreation Trail (LT), and the Robert Frost National Recreation Trail. The Forest also includes approximately 900 miles of multiple-use trails for hiking, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding, and bicycling. For more information, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/gmfl

Contacts: Jessica Savage, VT Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation  802-249-1230 and  Kristin McLane, Green Mountain Club   802-244-7037