The short trail up Mud Pond Mountain in Long Lake rewards climbers with spectacular views! It is less than a half-mile in length, but quite steep with an elevation gain of 600 feet.
The trail is in the Cedarlands Conservation Easement, which encompasses ~5,500 acres. The trail, and most of the property, is available to the public for 10 months of the year, from August 23 to June 23. (Mud Pond itself and surrounding lands are publicly available all year.)
Bicycling to the Trailhead
My husband, George, and I decided to bicycle from the parking area to the trailhead, making a quick journey of the roughly two and a quarter miles on dirt roads.
As George got the bikes out of the car, I listened to a cacophony of bird sounds. A calling Sharp-shinned Hawk, likely a migrant, was hunting the birds, and causing quite a panic in the forest!
George and I biked three-tenths of a mile to a four-way intersection with three gates. Access to Cedarlands is around the left gate.
Within a few minutes, views of Mud Pond appear on the left. We passed the put-in location and continued biking to the outlet of McRorie Lake. A large group of Common Mergansers in the outlet was startled by our sudden presence.
Just before the outlet, we noted the canoe-carry trail from Mud Pond. Just after the outlet, the canoe-carry trail to McRorie Lake is found.
The Trail up Mud Pond Mountain
We continued our bike trip to the Mud Pond Mountain trailhead. The Cedarlands Boy Scouts named the peak "OA Mountain," and the wooden trail sign is marked "OA Trailhead." We parked our bikes and started the climb.
The trail is relentlessly steep, but thankfully, it is short! We flushed several Ruffed Grouse along the way.
A Black-throated Blue Warbler sang as we approached the summit.
The Boy Scouts have not used the property since 2012, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the trail up Mud Pond Mountain in great shape.
The Lovely Open Rock Summit
The open area with spectacular views is actually on a short side trail after reaching the summit. There is a rocky spot with a slight descent before another open rock area. The side trail is between these two rocky sections off to the south (a left turn when heading up). The trail does continue beyond the mountain, so if you find yourself descending and heading into the forest, you have gone too far!
The views are 270 degrees from the northeast to the south and west of the peak. Mud Pond, McRorie Lake, parts of Long Lake, and numerous mountains are visible. I counted four fire tower peaks – Goodnow, Blue, Owl's Head, and Buck Mountains!
This open rock area offers a climber terrific bird's eye views of Mud Pond and McRorie Lake!
George and I lingered on the open rock area with gorgeous views. It is a great spot for a food and water break. Cedar Waxwings, with their high-pitched vocalizations, were also on the summit.
On the descent, views of McRorie Lake and mountains continue, including Kempshall Mountain which is the highest peak in Long Lake.
Biking Around McRorie Lake
As George and I arrived back at our bikes, the expected rain was still holding off, so we decided to continue biking around McRorie Lake. We came to a spot where the road was washed out and we had to carry our bikes over the gully. On the other side of the gully, Moose tracks were found! We continued to find Moose tracks as we biked around the north side of the lake.
For campers, the Cedarlands map shows a lean-to on the northwest side of McRorie Lake and a camp site on the north side. We kept an eye out for the lean-to, but it was not visible from the dirt road. We did spot the trailhead for Rock Pond Mountain, which the Cedarlands Boy Scouts labeled with a wooden sign that reads "Masters." This location has been heavily logged and is wide open now. We plan to return and search for this trail on another day.
George and I continued biking to the camp site, which is a lovely, open spot on the north side of McRorie Lake. It has a nice sandy beach.
From the beach, we could see the lean-to. On the way out, we bushwhacked to it. Unfortunately, the lean-to is falling down and did not appear safe for camping. So if you plan to canoe and camp on McRorie Lake, bring along your tent!
As George and I biked back toward our car, the expected rain arrived! The last 10 minutes of our trip out was wet, but it was a hot day, so it felt good!
Cedarlands continues to be little-known, so it is a nice, quiet place to visit. If you plan to explore the area, by canoe, bicycle, or on foot, there are many wonderful lodging and restaurant options nearby.