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For The Love of Mud

Hiking and biking in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho

Spring brings with it longer days, warmer temps, and some very muddy trails. While the anticipation of getting back out there might be difficult to resist, there are some precautions the Sawtooth Society would like hikers and bikers to take into consideration.

Hiking? Consider proper Footwear, Clothing, and Hiking Poles

Proper footwear and clothing are a must. Make sure you are prepared. Hiking poles might be a necessity rather than an optional accessory. If bringing along a furry friend a towel or two might also be required for you and them. 

Unfortunately, erosion damage is a real result of SNRA trails being overused during this time of year. As tempting as it might be to step off the trail, and walk along the side, this could potentially widen and erode the trail. Stay in the center of the trail, proceeding through the puddles. Step on rocks whenever possible.

Since this is a particularly fragile time for trails, consider heading out when the ground is more firm. Mid-day will be the warmest but also making the trail much softer and vulnerable to wear and tear. Consider trekking earlier or later in the day.

Biking? Check trails – Stop if your bike tires are collecting mud

Being responsible when biking ensures future rides for yourself and others on your favorite trails.

If you are biking keep these items in mind:

  • Check to see if the trail is open
  • Stop if your tires are balling up with mud or leaving visible ruts
  • Discontinue if water is flowing down the trails

Other rules to observe this time of year for hikers and bikers:

  • Stick with the more heavily traveled trail if there is more than one
  • Stay off closed trails
  • Travel single file- this is a great time to teach kids this important rule when hiking and biking,- taking turns letting them be the leader

Ultimately, using a muddy trail might not be good stewardship of the SNRA trails we all love. Keep in mind what it takes to maintain the trails. Government workers, Sawtooth Society volunteers, and other organizations have worked countless hours for you to enjoy them. Respecting that work could mean finding a dryer place less susceptible to damage. Welcome back to the SNRA trails and for more information on how you can help maintain and/or fund a trial visit:

Sawtooth Mountains | Sawtooth Society | For the Love of Mud

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