Wagner Subaru
Apr
18
2021
Land & Environmental
This stretch of trail has tripled in width due to hikers on muddy days. (Photo courtesy of Glen Helen)

Glen Helen trails will be closed on Sunday, March 1, to allow the ground to thaw and avoid widening the trails. This stretch of trail has tripled in width due to hikers on muddy days. (Photo courtesy of Glen Helen)

Seasonal trail closures begin Thursday in Glen Helen

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On Thursday, February 25, at 7 p.m., the Glen Helen trail system will close to protect the nature preserve during the freeze/thaw cycle. The trails are scheduled to reopen at sunset on Monday, March 1. The Raptor Center remains open, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where can I stretch my legs while Glen Helen trails are closed?
Here are a few nearby options to consider:

1. Little Miami Scenic Trail: This paved hiker/biker path runs past the Glen. A three-mile walk north will take you to Jackson Road near Young’s Jersey Dairy. Traveling south will take you past Glen Helen towards Xenia.

2. Cedar Bog State Nature Preserve: Located 20 minutes north of Yellow Springs, just off Route 68, the preserve has a boardwalk through its unique wetlands habitat.

3. Siebenthaler Fen: Located 15 minutes south of Yellow Springs, off Fairground Rd. in Fairborn, it features a boardwalk through a wetland.

The closure marks the beginning of a period of seasonal trail closures when, depending on the weather, Glen Helen may need to close and reopen its trails on relatively short notice. The closures are mainly based on the fragility of the Glen as it begins to thaw after cold days.

According to a press release from the Glen, as the late winter season fluctuates between freezing and thawing, the trails are often only half thawed, with a wet, melted layer on top of a harder, frozen layer. The soft, top layer is easily and quickly turned to mud by hikers, who often end up widening the trails to avoid the mud; in the past, trails have been widened by as much as four feet during the course of a single day. Widening the trails threatens the plant life at the edges of the trails, among other things. 

Even hikers who are undaunted by tramping through the mud without widening the trail are asked to stay off the trails, as closures are designed to give nature a chance to recover after the cold days of winter, and to allow the trails to thaw completely.

Glen Helen land stewardship staff will decide when it’s safe to reopen the trails when they are closed. Depending on how quickly the weather warms up, closures may only last a day or two. To check on the status of the trails, visit glenhelen.org, or visit the Glen Helen page on Facebook for regular updates.

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