When you can’t do the rock walk or find logs to use as stepping stones to navigate through muddy areas, the next best option is to embrace the mud!

With spring seeming to come earlier this year, so is mud season. Trying to avoid a mud puddle by going around it can damage surrounding vegetation and widen the path. This is especially true because the terrain is already more vulnerable to erosion when it’s wet. It may not seem like your steps can cause that much damage, but it all adds up when you consider how many hikers are likely doing the same thing.

To prevent trail erosion/widening, consider avoiding hiking on wet trails, especially those above 3,000 feet, until the trails have dried. Or embrace the mud to keep the trails in ideal shape (your shoes, not so much).

Think of the mud like a souvenir from your hike, or a badge of honor.

Follow the Seven Principles of Leave No TraceTM to maintain minimal impact on the environment and the natural resources.