Mud Lake Trail - Mountain Biking Halfway, Oregon

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1.56 miles (2.51 km)

Total Elev. Gain:
477 ft. (145 m)
Total Elev. Loss:
-83 ft. (-25 m)

Max Altitude:
7,464 ft. (2275 m)
Min Altitude:
7,012 ft. (2137 m)
by Brian Sather — Updated 1 year 7 months ago · Posted Fri, Aug 10, 2012
Climb an ATV trail through a burn up most of Sugarloaf Mountain to meet up with the Suglarloaf Trail where you can head east to descend down the Deadman Trail. This is a fun trail that puts you within a few hundred feet of the Sugarloaf Mountain summit if you want to drop your bike and hoof it up to the top. It takes off from the Clear Creek Trail where it reaches Mud Lake. This ATV trail is clearly marked as "no motorized use" but seems to be largely ignored by the ATV users, which makes for a clear two-track trail that is the grooming route for snowmobiles in the winter. All-in-all it provides a well-maintained riding path that meanders up the mountain and past the reservoir. Trail Notes (For making a loop from Deadman Trailhead)
  • 0.0 mi. Find an ATV track at the south of the Deadman Trailhead parking area.
  • 1.0 the trail splits at the junction at Mud Lake. Take a right. Mud Lake will be on your left shortly after this turn.
  • 1.9 the trail splits just before arriving at Sugarloaf Reservoir. To complete the loop shown here, you will take a left and follow the trail through some meadows and then toward the Sugarloaf Mt. summit. If you want to cut the loop short, take a right at this intersection where the trail will travel south of the reservoir and then dissipate within sight of the Deadman Trail across the meadow. Otherwise, left is your best bet for staying with an established track.
  • 2.4 meet the Sugarloaf Trail 1887 and take a right.
  • 2.7 Arrive at a trail junction. Go right.
  • 2.9 Arrive at another trail junction. Go right. Eventually this trail will disappear but you should be able to follow the rock cairns or wood posts down a gradual ridge that connects with a meadow where the Deadman Trail skirts the east of the meadow. If you completely lose the trail, just head to your left and you'll connect with the Deadman Trail quickly. Go right on the Deadman Trail and follow this back to the trailhead.

Sugarloaf Reservoir with Sugarloaf Mountain in the background.
The beginning of the climb in the Twin Lakes burn of the early 90s.
Mud Lake
The trail isn't well used.

Looking up at Sugarloaf Mountain from the bottom of the meadow.
The trail gets rocky and steep before topping out. This is getting near the connection with the Sugarloaf Trail with Sugarloaf Mt. summit visible through the trees.
View north into the heart of the Wallowa's from atop Sugarloaf Mountain