VERMONT >> The Green Mountain Club (GMC), maintainer of Vermont's Long Trail and Vermont's hiking trail advocate, and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR), manager of state forests and parks, announce that Mud Season has returned to the Green Mountains a month early.
The groups are asking hikers to stay off muddy trails from now until Memorial Day weekend; the forest has not caught up with the variable climate so the trails will remain wet, muddy, and prone to erosion. Hikers walking on saturated soils or on the sides of trails cause irreversible damage to surrounding vegetation, widen trails, and inhibit natural drainage of Vermont's hiking trails.
The range of temperatures will continue through April into May. Together with this winter's high elevation snowfall that rarely reached the valleys, the mountains are hiding cold, wet, snowy, and icy conditions that may persist deep into Spring, like always.
Conditions can change quickly in the mountains. Hikers venturing to high elevations will need better traction and warmer clothes than the valley may hint at. If you encounter conditions you are not prepared for, turn around.
"It's been an odd winter and we need exercise. If a trail is so muddy that you need to walk around it, please turn around and seek an alternate hike or another outdoor activity like biking or road walking," recommends GMC Director of Trail Programs Dave Hardy.
He said dry trails at lower elevations, dirt roads, and recreation paths provide excellent opportunities for Spring activities.
For a list of alternative mud season hikes, visit: