Cyclists Blair Seymour, front, and Kris Rowse ride up the Mad Creek Trail on Monday morning after passing hiker Susan Marshall and her dogs. Trails in Steamboat Springs are slowly becoming available to mountain bikers and hikers as the terrain in our area continues to dry out.

Photo by John F. Russell

Cyclists Blair Seymour, front, and Kris Rowse ride up the Mad Creek Trail on Monday morning after passing hiker Susan Marshall and her dogs. Trails in Steamboat Springs are slowly becoming available to mountain bikers and hikers as the terrain in our area continues to dry out.

Several trails in Steamboat open amid wet weather

Officials ask hikers, bikers to stay off muddy trails to avoid damage

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Rosie, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, leads Sue and Charles Phillips down the Mad Creek Trail on Monday morning. The couple and their dog were visiting the Steamboat Springs area from Louisiana and took advantage of the warm weather to hike the recently opened trail.

— Recent inclement weather doesn’t mean there aren’t options for hikers and bikers looking for an early start to summer without getting too dirty or damaging trails.

The Mad Creek and Hot Springs trails and sections of the Spring Creek and Ridge trails are open to bicyclists and hikers so long as dry trail conditions persist.

Nonetheless, Routt County Riders bicycle club officials stressed Monday that cyclists should not ride through muddy areas because it could damage the trails and lead to increased future erosion.

“If your bike is muddy, you went too far,” Routt County Riders spokeswoman Riley Polumbus said. “The basic rule is don’t bring a bike home muddy.”

Polumbus said riders also should avoid riding around wet spots on the trail because that simply destroys vegetation and widens the trail. Instead, riders should turn around whenever they hit a snowy or wet part of the path.

Routt County Riders Pres­ident Robin Craigen said that in past years, more trails were available by this time. In response, many cyclists are taking to road riding, or riding on the dirt road up to Strawberry Park Hot Springs.

U.S. Forest Service officials say they will enforce road closures and hand out citations with maximum fines of $5,000 and/or six months in jail. Violators also may be required to pay for repairs to damaged roads, according to a Forest Service news release.

“Forest Service roads and trails are closed this time of year for good reasons. Please don’t drive or ride around gates to access closed areas. And don’t drive on roads that are muddy, whether or not the road is closed,” Kent Foster, recreation manager for the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District, said in the release.

The Bear River Corridor is also muddy, and although it’s not blocked off, drivers are asked to stay out of the area until it is dry.

“There’s some good riding to be had, but we have to tell people to be patient so we can make the best of the trails later in the year,” Craigen said.

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