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What is monorail?

Monorail on the Signal Ridge Trail
Monorail on the Signal Ridge Trail

Monorail is a trail condition, typically found in spring, when the trail looks like a narrow balance beam or monorail of ice, with bare earth or soft snow on either side. If you fall off the monorail, you’re likely to posthole on one of its sides, which can be quite exhausting. The monorail is formed when hundreds of hikers hike in the center of the trail all winter long, compressing the middle section into a dense layer of snow and ice. The sides of the trail are less heavily used and less compacted, so they melt off faster in spring when the weather gets warmer.

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