Muddy Etiquette

Trail Running Winter Running


A lot of planning and work goes into making a single track trail.

I didn’t know this until I was able to help create a trail, as seen in the above photo. I had no idea how much planning and work went into this! Every little turn and path is planned. The contour of the hill is taken into consideration. You’re shown how to shape the path so water can run freely off of it to prevent pooling.

During the autumn and spring when the trails may be getting extra rain and perhaps even snow and thaw, runners may be encountering more mud on the trail then they are used to.

Below are a few reminders and tips, to keep these trails functioning at their  best!

  • If you are sinking into a muddy trail, you’re creating a divot in the path. In the future this will hold more water, creating a muddier area.
  • Going off a single-track path onto the grass widens a trail and damages the vegetation. This can also increase the chance of mud forming.
  • If you encounter a couple patches of mud, it’s best to go through it, however if a trail is excessively muddy you may want to turn around to avoid damaging long sections of it.
  • Going earlier in the day, before the ground has a chance to thaw, will be your best option for running on trails that may thaw and be wet later in the day.

Being mindful of our impact on these trails will benefit the users in many ways. The single-track will require less maintenance so the designers can focus energy and funds on creating new paths, knowing that these have been taken care of and respected by those who enjoy them.


Thanks to Reddit user cwcoleman for pointing this out. suggests going through the middle of a puddle or area of mud. Most likely because deepening a rut in the middle of a trail is easier to repair than the widening of a trail and destruction of vegetation along the side.

You may also like: How to Clean Running Shoes Best SKORAs for the Trail

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