Trail Conditions - Late March by Forrest Boughner

Trail Conditions around Missoula
Late March 2020
By Forrest Boughner

It’s starting to look a lot like trail running season! As you start to plan your running routes for this next week, here’s an update on the local trail conditions from this weekend.

While it seems like there may not be much to celebrate right now, we can all take joy in the opening of Mount Jumbo! The elk have moved to snowier pastures and it’s time for runners to take over.
     -The south side switchbacks are dry and clear to the top. Highly recommend!
     -The L trail is still quite muddy and is probably worth staying off for now if you plan on going above the L. If you go early in the morning it’ll be frozen mud and safe to travel on without destroying the trail. 
     -The north side trail to the saddle is still very snowy and icy. Bring spikes!

Over in the North Hills/Waterworks area most of the trails are clear and dry. There are still lingering muddy spots though in the bottom of Cherry Gulch and on the Moon Randolph side. Again, running early while the mud is frozen is best. 

Mount Sentinel, aka “Where Missoula Plays during Self-Quarantine”, is drying up quickly. 
     -To the M, Boy Scout, the Fire Road, and Pengelly are all clear and dry. 
     -Other trails on the front are still quite muddy and we highly recommend staying off the steep paths once the mud gets soft in the sun. 
     -Smokejumper is still snowy and icy, bring spikes!
     -The back side of Sentinel and the Crazy/Pattee Canyon areas are a mix of snow, ice, mud, and dry. Be prepared for anything!

The Rattlesnake is still an icy, muddy, snowy mess. Sawmill gulch in the afternoon is a mud puddle. Give it another week for any adventures in the afternoon. Spikes highly recommended in the ‘Snake!

Blue Mountain is dry down low, muddy in the middle, and snowy up high. South facing slopes are great! 

Barmeyer and Sousa trails are getting close to clear. Barmeyer is great early in the morning before the mud melts, but extremely soft in the afternoons. Give it some time to dry out! Sousa is dry down low and icy up high. It’s okay without spikes, but beware!

As always, please stay on the trail no matter how muddy or icy it gets. It’s very easy to create braided trails this time of year!   If you’re not up to getting a little muddy, we’d suggest that you stay off the trails until things dry out.

If you have trail updates please send them our way!

Finally, Run Wild Missoula and the Montana Trail Crew recommend that you continue with your runs, walks and hikes for your physical and emotional health.  For now, we recommend solo runs while following these public health guidelines.
  • Remember to maintain appropriate social distancing – maintain at least 6-foot separation at all times
  • No hugs, handshakes, high fives or elbow bumps
  • Wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer, before and after your run
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue or the inside of your elbow
  • If your feel any sign of sickness or illness, stay home

Happy Trails,

Forrest Boughner and the Montana Trail Crew


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