Snowshoeing to the Summit of Mud Creek Ridge, Oregon

After snowshoeing around Trillium Lake on Sunday, Katie and I decided to hike to the top of Mud Creek Ridge (SE of Trillium Lake). According to my map, the easiest approach is from the North with a gradual climb to the summit at 4,368 feet in elevation. The round-trip climb is less than two miles.

As we were leaving Trillium Lake Campground, I noticed what looked like an access trail on the other side of the road toward Mud Creek Ridge. This was farther South than where I wanted to start, but I couldn't resist exploring the trail. We started climbing the fairly steep slope and came to a water tower after a few hundred yards. This was the end of the trail. Instead of turning around, I persuaded Katie that we should continue on this steeper, but shorter route to the top. Luckily there was snow on the ground, so we used the crampons on our Atlas 9 and 10 series snowshoes to get descent traction. At times it was pretty steep, but after about 1/3 of a mile our ascent became more gradual and easier going.

Jason Hiking up to Mud Creek Ridge     Katie Hiking up to Mud Creek Ridge

With the aid of my GPS and compass, we continued hiking toward the summit of Mud Creek Ridge. At two points near the top, we thought were at the summit only to realize we had a short distance left to go. We decided to take a couple pictures anyway at what could have been the summit.

Jason Posing on False Summit     Katie Posing on False Summit

Because there is no formal trail to the ridge, the snow was fresh and without sign of other people. The higher we climbed, the deeper the fresh snow became. It was nice to be able to finally hike in new snow. Hopefully this trend continues for the rest of the month. Just below the summit, we discovered some faint snowshoe tracks that were probably been left earlier in the week. At least we were alone today.

Our Fresh Snowshoe Tracks to Mud Creek Ridge     Old Tracks Near Mud Creek Ridge Summit

At the summit, we had a nice view of Ghost Ridge to the East. It was cloudy, so we could not see much beyond that. Maybe on a future adventure we'll hike to the top of Ghost Ridge and have a view of Mud Creek Ridge. The snow on top of the ridge was gorgeous and undisturbed until we arrived.

View of Ghost Creek Ridge Looking East from Mud Creek Ridge Summit     Mud Creek Ridge Looking South

Before enjoying lunch, I took advantage of the steep slopes of the ridge to practice self-arresting with my Black Diamond Raven ice axe. I had fun and am sure I looked pretty goofy to Katie watching me slide down in the snow.

I dug out an area for us to sit and enjoy our lunch while admiring the view to the East. Katie graciously accepted my offer to let her use my REI inflatable sit pad. She enjoyed a nice warm seat while I sat on my cold wet snowshoes. We should probably invest in a second sit pad.

Katie and Jason after Lunch on Mud Creek Ridge     One Last View from Mud Creek Ridge

We headed back down the original route I mapped out, heading due North and then Northwest. It was much less steep and definitely the route I would recommend to others. As soon as we reached the trail back to the SnoPark, we began seeing multiple groups of people. We were happy to have enjoyed the solitude of Mud Creek Ridge so close to such a busy trail.

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