Staying Off Wet Trails

Updated: May 10, 2019 09:05 AM

The month of May is upon us and many of us are getting the Spring itch to get outside and enjoy some mountain biking on the many trails Duluth has to offer. Although we have seen some nice stretches of weather, the last couple weeks have brought rain and snow which creates less than ideal trail conditions to start the season.

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“What we are really waiting for is for that frost to get out of the ground and then for the trails to completely dry out before we want any foot traffic or bike traffic on them as there could be an impact to the trails.” Matt Andrews told WDIO News. Andrews is the Trails Coordinator for the City of Duluth and an avid mountain biker himself. 

Andrews says that it is better to wait for the trails to dry out before riding on muddy or wet trails. 

"If you put an imprint such as a footprint or a bike tire rut, you are really defeating the entire purpose of the design of the trail," he said. "You are allowing water to get trapped on the trail and that can cause the trail to soften and erode and even widen in some cases."

Not only riding your bike on soggy and muddy trails damage the trail, but it is also not good for your bike to get all that mud caked on to the moving parts. 

"It’s definitely something that a rider wants to protect their investment in a bicycle too, their drivetrain can get pretty messed up, and it is just really not that fun when your tires all the sudden weigh three pounds more than you are used to and you are trying to slop through the mud," Andrews said.

He reminds us that we all benefit from the trail system in Duluth and we should take some stewardship to ensure proper use of the trails. 

“These trails are a public asset. I mean they are your trails and we want your help to respect the trails and protect your trails because they are for everyone and with limited staff and with limited budgets and limited volunteers from our partner organizations it takes a lot of effort to repair damage. Andrews said. "So please help us and respect your trails.”

And for those of us who are still itching to get on those bikes that have been collecting dust all winter, there is still alternative options when the natural trails are wet. 

"If we get a rain event you are going to want to wait 24 hours after a good rain event to let those trails to dry out," Andrews said. "So in the mean time there is lots of excellent gravel trails around town or there is the waterfront trail and cross city trail.”

So before you venture out to your favorite trail this season, it is a good idea to check the trail conditions first. You can check the latest conditions at

Join WDIO News at Ten every Thursday to get the latest tips and tricks you need to enjoy the trails in the Duluth area as well as updated trail conditions.

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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