Once mud season starts, even GMC staff members have to take a break from hiking Vermont’s mountains. We tend to stick to the valleys instead, giving the trails plenty of time to dry out. Check out some of our favorite mud season activities below:
Mollie Flanigan, Land Stewardship Coordinator
Canoeing in the Champlain Valley
In mud season, I like to embrace the very thing that defines the season – a preponderance of water – and temporarily trade in my hiking boots for my canoe. Floating high on swollen rivers and lakes, you have the perfect vantage point for observing spring bursting onto the landscape, from birds flocking to the region, to trees leafing out, and the return of dazzling sunlight.
One of my favorite outings is to the LaPlatte River in Shelburne. The LaPlatte drains into Lake Champlain and annually floods its banks in the springs when the lake level rises. The forest along the river host trees and other species that can survive in periodic floods and adventurous paddlers can go “bushwhacking” in the flooded forest. Canoeing between trees is a unique, bizarre, and hilarious experience that I look forward to doing every spring.
From the mouth of the LaPlatte River you can also canoe out into Lake Champlain. From there miles of fresh water extend in front of you, and the Green Mountains to the east and Adirondack Mountains to the west provide spectacular backdrops, no matter where you go. (Make sure to follow cold water paddling safety tips.)
Isaac Alexandre-Leach, Field Assistant
Warren & Ruth Beeken Rivershore Trail
Mud season may not allow for big summit hikes, but there is no better time, I would argue, for a long ramble by your local river. Paths like the Warren & Ruth Beeken Rivershore Trail in Richmond provide easy access to the many delights of spring in Vermont: Early flowers! Interesting smells! Things floating down the river!
These hikes are often easily accessible from main roads, so you can sneak one in while the weather cooperates, or grab some fresh air after work while the sun is still up. Elevation change is always negligible so these are generally good hikes for all ages and skills.
Jason Buss, Director of Finance
One of my favorite places to take my family during mud season is the Burlington Greenway, also known as the bike path. From Oakledge Park in the south to Airport Park in the north, there are almost eight miles of paved pathway to explore, all within sight of Lake Champlain. We especially love ducking into the many parks along the way, which variously provide playgrounds, beaches, and dirt hiking trails.
It’s wonderful to be able to access this great path right from the city where we live. Plus, the Burlington Greenway is actually part of the longer Island Line Trail, so you could just keep walking or riding your bike north onto the causeway into Lake Champlain for even more spectacular views.
What do you like to do during mud season?