There are several branching paths and routes you can take to navigate the Mudlick Trail, which includes an equestrian-friendly loop and some direct point-to-point sections that are only for hikers. Whichever route you take, though, you're in for a treat as you explore one of the oldest mountain ranges in America with your canine companion. You'll find Mudlick Trail in Sam A. Baker State Park, where there's ample parking and many amenities.
This rugged trail includes many steep ascents that lead to amazing vistas of distant peaks. Before you summit Mudlick Mountain, you'll hike up Green Mountain, where views are best in the fall and winter. As you descend Green Mountain, you'll pass through an aromatic stand of red cedar. Rare plants grow in the shade and small waterfalls spill into pools as you head through Mudlick Hollow.
Getting through the hollow requires taking one of the more challenging hikers-only sections of the trail; if the weather is bad or you're wanting to conserve your energy, you can bypass it by taking the Hollow Pass Trail to stay on the equestrian-friendly route. You'll continue through old-growth forests of black and white oak and along rocky creeks. When you reach the summit, stone and timber shelters at the top of Mudlick Mountain give you a place to enjoy the view in the shade.
If you want to stay overnight, you can break up your hike by camping at one of the primitive campsites along the trail. You can also opt to rent one of the "Cabins for Canines" located near the park entrance and visitor's center. Either way, you can get provisions for your evening meal at the park store, which sells a wide variety of prepared foods and ingredients for cooking. You can even take a pizza to go from the Mudlick Mountain Grill, which has a walk-up window for takeout orders.However you plan your day, you're sure to go home with special memories of the day you spent with your dog in this magical place.