FARMINGTON — The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website offers tips for spring hiking in Maine.

• Tell someone who is not hiking with you where you are going and when you plan to return. Should something happen, this will be key to helping the Maine Warden Service and other search and rescue personnel find you.

• Know that conditions will vary significantly across the state and at different elevations. Especially in the spring, it is not surprising for the bottom of a mountain trailhead to look ready to hike, but the upper sections to be covered in ice and snow, possibly impassable.

• Research your destination before you go. Hiking during muddy conditions can have lasting negative impacts on trails – some trails do not open until later in the season because of this.

• Stick to places you are familiar with or close to home. Many roads to hiking areas are dirt and can become extremely muddy in the spring and possibly impassable.

• Respect private landowners and be a good land user by staying on the trail and keeping it clean.


• Dress in layers to prepare for changing weather conditions. Stick to moisture-wicking base layers that dry fast and top them with warmer layers such as fleece and a wind and rain resistant outer shell. For many trails hiking shoes with strong ankle support and tread are needed. It is best to avoid icy conditions altogether, but just in case, pack a pair of crampons or ice creepers.

• Be prepared for no cellphone service. Know your route without the help of your cellphone.

• Pack essential items and always be prepared to spend a night in the woods. Always pack water, high-protein snacks and a fire starter. Learn more in the You Alone in the Maine Woods booklet (PDF).

• Stick to established trails and roads.

• Plan your day. Know how long the hike may take and plan accordingly.

• Be prepared for no restrooms. When nature calls, pick a spot at least 100 feet off the trail or away from a body of water and bury your waste at least 6 inches deep.

• Always have a plan B.

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