What trails are good in the wet?

A close up of the dirt surface of a trail in the forest showing tire tracks creating ruts through the soft mud

We often get asked what trails are “good” to ride in the rainy weather we get so frequently here on the wet coast. You want to get out for a ride, we know, we do too! But maybe you’re wondering how you can do that and not wreck the trails or your bike or your face. We can’t guarantee the last one, but here are some tips to help you get out for some fun while still being considerate of the trails.

It’s not possible to cover all scenarios, but these questions should help you with your decision making. First, check Trailforks to see the latest trail conditions and confirm the trail you’re keen to whoop and holler down is open. Done? If no Trailforks reports indicate the trail is closed or that there are any significant issues, is it time to get your gear ready? Next, consider just how hard it’s been raining… 50+ mm days and rainfall warnings are good days to grab a coffee instead. Remember too, even after the sun has come out, the trails need some time to dry out.

If it’s not bucketing rain and just a little liquid sunshine, consider the trail surface. Are you primarily riding on rock? Maybe the trail is predominantly slabs or it’s rock armoured or it’s surfaced with gravel (gravel is just smaller rocks after all). Trails like this typically fare well in wet weather are are a good choice for rainy day adventures. More common are dirt trails and not all dirt is equal.  Think about what the dirt is like… is it a sponge, soaking up all the water it can and turning to sloppy muck? Or is it hard packed and water glides its way across it? If the former, best to choose a different trail. If the latter, next think about what happens to the water on the trail, does it drain away? Some trails can turn into a creek during heavy rains and may be better suited to a kayak (just kidding!). Others may have lots of low spots that trap water and the trail becomes a series of big splashy puddles. Others turn slimy and greasy and the dirt just gets packed into your tires and you slide instead of rolling. In any of these situations, again, it’s best to make different trail choice.

And if it does drain well? Well there you have it, the trail you’ve been looking for is found. Time to head out & enjoy the trails!

 

 


 

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