BOULDER - Three major hiking trailheads south of Boulder are closed due to mud.
Thursday's warmer weather caused lots of snow melt, creating extremely muddy trails and spurring closure of the Flatirons Vista, Marshall Mesa and Greenbelt Plateau trailheads. The City of Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Parks department closed the trailheads to prevent damage to the open space ecosystems.
"When trails become muddy, visitors will often hike parallel to existing trails – which can cause widening and braiding of the trails, along with trampling of plants," a press release from OSMP said. "Additionally, visitor traffic along muddy trails can cause lasting damage to trail tread."
Marshall Mesa is six miles south of Boulder near the intersection of state road 93 and Marshall Rd. Dogs should be leashed at the trailhead area, where a large community of prairie dogs live, but each trail is marked with regulations and some areas may permit off-leash dogs.
Greenbelt Plateau is just south of Marshall Mesa at the intersection of state roads 93 and 128. It is popular with horseback riders and heads north for about a mile and a half where it connects with either the Marshall Mesa trail or the Doudy Draw trail.
The Flatirons Vista trailhead is eight miles south of Boulder on the west side of state road 93. It connects with several other trails for more than three miles of mostly flat hiking - very few inclines and declines, but parts of the trail are very rocky. Cars registered in a county other than Boulder must pay $5 to park.
Colorado's soil becomes sticky like clay when it gets wet and will sometimes stick to the bottom of hiking boots and sneakers, making an enjoyable outdoor stroll reminiscent of stepping in dog poop. The best option is to avoid muddy areas altogether.
The closure of the three trailheads will prevent access to the following trails:
North and South Flatirons Vista
The North and South Fork of Spring Brook Loop