Still mud season in Summit County; ride with caution
With this week’s mix of rain and snow, most area trails still aren’t in summer form. The Summit Fat Tire Society and U.S. Forest Service representatives are cautioning eager mountain bikers to be patient and excise some discretion out on the trails.
“The biggest risk of muddy trails is the person that rides around the mud spots and widens the trail,” said Kristofer Carlsted, Summit Fat Tire Society president.
Ken Waugh of the Forest Service echoes the concern. Walking or riding around mud can lead to soil compaction and prevent vegetation from growing in the future, resulting in the accidental widening of trails.
“We want to keep the singletrack singletrack,” Carlsted said.
Trail erosion can also be caused by riding through mud.
“A foot print is one thing, a tire rut is another,” Waugh said. “The tire track allows for water to run down a trail and erode.”
A tire track through mud can divert water drainage that would otherwise simply cross the trail and redirect it down the trail causing more trail erosion and more mud.
“The best thing to do is walk through it” Carlsted said.
Both Waugh and Carlsted encourage responsible trail etiquette.
Carlsted cautions that tearing through a muddy stretch causing a deep rut, “looks bad on all mountain bikers.”
Where to go
Carlsted and others in the biking community suggest riding on the Frisco peninsula trails for now. The Oro Grande Trail, which runs parallel to Highway 6 between Dillon and Keystone, reportedly is in good shape and ready to ride. Waugh suggests any trails on southwest-facing aspects, because they get more sun and dry faster.
Carlstead said he has heard lower-elevation trails in Breckenridge are starting to dry out. Some may be ridden as out-and-back rides before getting to muddier sections.
Another solid option for a drier ride: Take a day trip to the Front Range.
For more information on trail conditions or to post information, visit the Summit Fat Tire Society page on Facebook.
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