In the land of (seemingly) endless sunshine, we get use to year-round access to the outdoors. But recently, with the repeat heavy winter rains, it’s common to find a “trail closed” sign when you head out for a hike, mountain bike ride or off-road excursion.

Earlier this week, I forgot the fact that forest road and trails are often closed after rains, and arrived at a truck-trailhead in Cleveland National Forest only to discover a heavy metal gate blocking my entrance. The same happened when I set out for a hike on my local trail in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve and found the gate locked.

This photo shared by the San Diego Mountain Biking Association provides a visual for this:

You can see that the bike tires are cutting into the trail, which will leave it rutted and bumpy for riding when it tries later. Traffic on wet trails also causes erosion which deteriorates the trail and harms the surrounding ecosystem. SDMBA recommends all of its members stay off of trails for at least 48 hours after a rain and heed all closures by land managers.

Getting shut down when you’re all jazzed to get outdoors sucks, but there are good reasons for staying off wet and muddy trails. If you’re favorite trail is closed, take the long view and take a rain check. And take heart, this weekend is San Diego Beer Fest