By: Dave Hatoff Comments: 0

This week looks to be wet one, with a good chance of rain each and every day through the weekend.  We have been on the dry side for most of the spring and have been approaching near draught conditions, so the rain is welcomed and well needed. 

For trail users, like mountain bikers, hikers and runners, that means most likely trail closures coming, and it advised that you adhere to these closures until they are lifted so the trails can dry out properly.  Riding, walking or running on trails when wet can degrade the trails, break them down, and put them in poor shape for future usage once they do dry out. When the trail is soft, wet or muddy, trails are more vulnerable to damage then when they are dry. 

In Stowe and Waterbury, color codes are used to signal the current conditions of trails- GREEN means go, YELLOW means ride with caution and care. RED means stop, turn around and don’t ride, walk or run. 

When the trails are RED, this gives you a great opportunity to diversify your fitness or change things up a bit. For example, if you are mountain biker, it’s a great time to gravel or road ride and hit the many uncrowded and quiet back roads that Vermont is well known for.  You can also run and hike these very same roads, hit the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail or Stowe Recreation Path.   For bikers, you can work on raising your heart rate up for longer periods of time by just keeping moving, using a harder gear and not stopping like many of us do when mountain biking.  And when gravel or road riding, you keep your pedal cadence up for longer too, which will in turn makes you a stronger rider once you get back onto the single track for those quick bursts of energy that you need on climbs, riding for longer and feeling stronger in general.  There is a reason why most competitive and pro mountain bikers who race either cross- country, Enduro or Downhill train on road or gravel bikes, it makes you stronger.

When the trails start to dry out and go to Yellow, there is a right way and a wrong way to ride them.  Ride through puddles rather than around them.  Riding around the water widens the trails, changes the lines and just degrades the trail in general.   If you arrive on a portion of trail that is soft and muddy, you will notice that your bike tires will start leaving ruts, anywhere from ½” to 1” deep.  If this is the case, get off your bike and walk through that section of trail until you get to firmer soil.   

The bottom line is, be loyal to your soil!  We can show our commitment to our community trails by being responsible trail users and by using these simple guidelines and some common sense to help protect our trails. For up-to-date local conditions, visit or and click on the conditions tab. 

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