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Beware the Mud! Learn About Spring Hiking & Mud Season in the Adirondacks

Editor's Note: Please follow the DEC and CDC guidelines to adhere to social distancing while hiking and recreating outdoors during this public health crisis. Hikers are asked to stick to trails close to home and only hike with immediate household family members. Read more from the DEC »

Spring hiking means muddy hiking ion the Adirondacks. As the weather warms up many outdoor recreationists are itching to get out on the trails, but mud season can be a hazard. Here's what you need to know, what trails to stick to, and which ones to avoid.

a pair of muddy boots

Stay on the Trails or Avoid Hiking Altogether

While there's no official start or end date, the Adirondack mud season usually runs from the first of April to mid-May. This is a stime when snow melts off the mountains and creates large amounts of mud and erosion. When mud season is at its worst, the DEC often asks hikers to stay off some trails. In fact, hikers are encouraged to postpone their spring hikes on any trails that are above 3,000 feet until about mid-June to allow the trails to fully dry and harden.

While hiking in the mud can pose a danger to hikers, it can also cause damage to the environment. One of the biggest issues with mud season is that hikers can destroy trails and damage vegetation. When hiking, we see mud and immediately think - how can I avoid this? This leads to hiking off-trail. When hikers travel off the marked trails, particularly in the High Peaks, it puts plants in danger of being trampled and destroyed. A typical lawn can be stepped on up to 500 times before damage becomes visible, but delicate alpine plants can be damaged after only five steps!

Therefore, vegetation found on alpine areas of the Adirondacks become threatened during the mud season. And while the alpine summits are the most vulnerable areas to vegetation destruction, hikers need to be aware of this issue on the lower elevations as well. Your best bet is to always walk in the middle of the trail, even when it's muddy and messy.

Trails to Try During Mud Season

muddy trail with leaves

Ready to take on an Adirondack hiking trail this spring? Check out the best trails to try, and the ones to avoid below:

High Peaks Region

Outside the High Peaks

  • Azure Mountain
  • DeBar Mountain
  • Pharaoh Mountain
  • Treadway Mountain
  • Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain
  • Silver Lake Mountain
  • Taylor Pond Trail
  • Blue Mountain
  • Paul Smith's College VIC Trails
  • Panther Mountain near Saranac Lake

Discover seven hiking trails that are recommended during mud season »

Trails to Avoid During Mud Season

muddy trail

Save these hikes for June or later in the summer!

*If you're determined to hike the High Peaks during the spring, don't forget to check out the latest High Peaks trail conditions before heading out the door, and be prepared to stay on the trail and in the mud.

See a list of kid-friendly hikes »

« Back to the Hiking Guide

« Back to the Spring Guide

Source Information:

  • http://blog.timesunion.com/explore/outdoors-hitting-the-trails-in-mud-season/609/
  • http://visitadirondacks.com/recreation/hiking/hiking-during-mud-season