Before you set out on your hike in the Foothills, be sure to check ahead of time to make sure the conditions are safe. Ridgetorivers.org is a resource that provides an interactive map of daily trail conditions which is especially useful in the wet wintery months.

Ridge to Rivers employs a full-time crew to maintain the 243 miles of trails throughout the area. Trail conditions are updated daily and it's recommended that you always check here first before you begin your hike. I checked the site just this morning and learned that while some loops in the Foothills have been slowly drying in recent days, much of the trail system remains wet and muddy. There was also some decent rainfall overnight and the temperatures weren't low enough to freeze the trails which means to it's better to opt for the sandier trails. Good to know!

Using trails when they are muddy can cause some serious damage to the trails. Ridge to Rivers suggests the following when using potentially-muddy trails and how to help up preserve the integrity of them:

  • Stay off of muddy trails and turn back if you are leaving tracks
  • Ride or hike early in the morning when trails are still frozen during the winter
  • Check daily trail conditions on the Ridge to Rivers website or their Facebook page for updates
  • If you do encounter short stretches of mud, ride or walk through them. Don’t leave the trail and hike through the sides as this can kill trailside vegetation and lead to trail widening.

These are also some of the trails Ridge to Rivers recommends AVOIDING during the winter months

  • Sweet Connie Trail #77
  • Cottonwood Creek Trail #27
  • Old Pen Trail #15A
  • Table Rock Trail #15
  • Old Pen Trail #15A
  • Polecat Loop #81
  • Big Springs Loop #113
  • Ridgecrest #20
  • Bucktail Trail #20A
  • Central Ridge Spur #22A (both north and south)
  • Red Cliffs #39

Rose Garden at Julia Davis Park