• Local Trail Condition App FAQ

    Trail status app breakdown.

    What do the different condition/status labels mean?

    • Open: Trails are open to all permitted users.
    • Closed: Trails are closed to all users.
    • Caution: Trails are open but hazardous conditions exist. Hover over the trail button to see a popup description which may list more information about the specific hazard.
    • Freeze/Thaw: This status means trails are experiencing freeze/thaw cycling and conditions are too variable to display accurately. See this article for more info about the freeze/thaw cycle and trails. Typically riding in the early morning before trails have a chance to thaw is the best option here. User discretion is advised.
    • Call: If we aren't able to make contact with land managers who control trail closures to get a definitive answer on trail status this condition will be displayed so users may attempt to make contact themselves. Very rarely needed.
    • Other: Other statuses can be displayed but will be self evident.

    A trail's status hasn't been updated in a while. Are the conditions still current?

    If the status timestamp is old, it usually means conditions haven't changed and an update isn't necessary. However, be wary of stale conditions if significant rain has fallen within the last few hours; especially overnight and early morning.

    Will the trails be open/closed in X days or on X weekend?

    Sorry we aren't psychics and we definitely can't predict the weather long range. Trail statuses are updated as soon as possible after trail stewards and/or land managers can check on-site conditions. Check the local forecast for any expected precipitation if travelling from out of town. The National Weather Service forecasts seem to be the most accurate and show an hourly breakdown with precipitation estimates.

    Why doesn't the on-site trail closure sign match the trail app status?

    The website trail status overrides conditions posted on physical signs with the exception of Scott County Park. It's much easier/quicker to update the web status than changing on-site signs which may take a few hours to become current.

    Why is a trail closed even though it hasn't rained?

    Trail closures can happen for a number of reasons besides rain/mud. Some parks close trails due to hunting seasons, animal migrations, hazardous conditions, controlled burns, and special events.

    How long will it take for the trails to re-open?

    After moderate rain, most local trails will re-open within 24-48 hours during the warmer part of the year. Heavier rains (0.5" or more) and multiple rain events may cause closure for 3-4 days or more. During the spring thaw, closures may last many weeks since drying happens very slowly when temps drop below 50F.

    How much rain does it take to close a trail?

    Each trail handles rain differently due to varying soil and terrain compositions. The time of year and weather conditions (windy?, sunny?, humid?, warm?) have an even greater effect on rain tolerance. Sandy/rocky trails will take more rain (Sylvan Island, Westbrook, & Geneseo Prairie Park) whereas trails with a lot of clay and deep ravines (Sunderbruch, Scott County Park, Illiniwek, Stephens, & Dorrance) will require much less and more time to dry out. During summer months, a dry trail can usually take 0.2" of rain before it gets too muddy. This can fall to as little as 0.1" or less during cooler months. Keep in mind these numbers are offered as guidelines only and due to the complexities of trail drying they will likely be wrong a large portion of the time.

    When will the trails re-open from the spring thaw?

    Each trail varies, but most will start to re-open towards the latter half of April given normal winter conditions. More snowfall, early rains, and/or unusually cold temps can delay this another few weeks. Sylvan Island is the exception given its rocky soil which can be rideable as early as mid March.

  • Local Trail Conditions

    Sylvan Island

    Bridge Closed

    Sunderbruch

    Closed

    Scott County Park

    Closed

    Illiniwek

    Freeze/Thaw

    Westbrook Park

    Open

    Stephens Park

    Open

    Prairie Park

    Open

    Dorrance Park

    Freeze/Thaw

  • MTB Trail Etiquette

    • Ride Open Trails: Respect trail and road closures — ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other authorization as required. Be aware that bicycles are not permitted in areas protected as state or federal Wilderness.

    • Leave No Trace: Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don't cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.

    • Control Your Bicycle: Inattention for even a moment could put yourself and others at risk. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations, and ride within your limits.

    • Yield Appropriately: Do your utmost to let your fellow trail users know you're coming — a friendly greeting or bell ring are good methods. Try to anticipate other trail users as you ride around corners. Bicyclists should yield to other non-motorized trail users, unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel. Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. In general, strive to make each pass a safe and courteous one.

    • Never Scare Animals: Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses.

    • Plan Ahead: Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient: keep your equipment in good repair and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.