Mud Lake

The perfect learning environment for naturalists of all ages, Mud Lake is a unique wildlife habitat in western Boulder County. Come share with your family the mystery and beauty of this high-altitude reflecting pool.

Resident Ranger Tweets


Caribou Link Trail

0.7 miles
Dogs Allowed Bikes Allowed Hiking Allowed Horses Allowed

Kinnickinnick Loop

1.1 miles
Dogs Allowed Bikes Allowed Hiking Allowed Horses Allowed

Tungsten Loop

0.8 miles
Dogs Allowed Bikes Allowed Hiking Allowed Horses Allowed

Picnic Areas


  • Located near the trailhead.


  • 27-car spots
  • 5 horse trailer spots

Keep in Mind

  • Swimming and fishing are not permitted

Brochures & Field Guides

Management Plan


Plants & Animals

At the higher altitudes of 8,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level the montane forests of the Southern Rocky Mountains are found. Characterized by cooler temperatures and more precipitation than at lower elevations, this life zone is dominated by dense conifer forests but also includes meadows, ponds and streams. Due to its altitude, snow can linger into late spring or early summer and many beautiful wildflowers come into bloom later in the year than at other in the plains and foothills below.


  • Chickaree
  • Coyote
  • Elk
  • Least chipmunk
  • Little brown bat
  • Long-tailed weasel
  • Montane vole
  • Moose
  • Northern pocket gopher
  • Snowshoe hare


Amphibians & Reptiles

  • Striped chorus frog
  • Western terrestrial garter snake

White Wildflowers

  • Daisy fleabane (Erigeron spp)
  • Mariposa lily (Calochortus gunnisonii)
  • Milkvetch (Astragalus spp)
  • Miners candle (Oreocarya virgata)
  • Mouse ear chickweed Cerastium spp)
  • Mountain pussytoes (Antennaria parvifolia)
  • Northern bedstraw (Galium septentrionale)
  • Porter aster (Aster porteri)
  • White geranium (Geranium richardsonii)
  • Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca)
  • Yarrow (Achillea lanulosa)

Yellow Wildflowers

  • Blanket flower (Gaillardia aristata)
  • Cinquefoil (Drymocallis spp, Potentilla spp)
  • Common sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
  • Golden banner (Thermopsis divaricarpa)
  • Gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa)
  • Hairy false golden aster (Heterotheca villosa)
  • Heart-leaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia)
  •  Sulphur flower (Eriogonum umbellatum)
  • Western wallflower (Erysimum asperum)
  • Whiskbroom parsley (Harbouria trachypleura)

Pink, Orange & Red Wildflowers

  • Lambert’s loco – Colorado loco (Oxytropis lambertii)
  • Pinedrops (Pterospora andromedea)
  • Scarlet paintbrush (Castilleja miniata)
  • Spotted coralroot (Corallorizha maculata)
  • Wild geranium (Geranium caespitosum)

Purple & Blue Wildflowers

  • Colorado columbine (Aquilegia coerulea)
  • Greenleaf penstemon (Penstemon virens)
  • Common harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)
  • One-sided penstemon (Penstemon secundiflorus)
  • Rocky mountain iris (Iris missouriensis)
  • Tall ciming bells (Mertensia ciliata)

Green Wildflowers

  • Louisiana sage (Artemisia ludoviciana)


  • Common juniper
  • Kinnikinnick
  • Wild rose


  • Aspen
  • Douglas fir
  • Lodgepole pine
  • Ponderosa pine


The Lake

Mud Lake, at one time called Muskee Lake, was once thought to be a crater formed by a meteorite. A study funded by the Town of Nederland and the Colorado Geological Survey in 2001 concluded that it is more likely of human origin.

Scientific Studies

In 1947, researchers found some tiger salamanders at Mud Lake to be polydactylic, growing too many feet or toes during metamorphosis. This is considered the first record of mass polydactylism among amphibians.


The tungsten-mining boom, which began at the turn of the 20th century, heavily influenced use of the property. By 1904, the Wolf Tongue Mining Company and the Primos Chemical Company owned and mined much of the area.

Wild Bear Center

The Wild Bear Center for Nature Discovery, a non-profit environmental education organization, owns a 5-acre parcel at the site. Wild Bear currently uses the property for daytime, hands-on educational programs.


Parks & Open Space

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Parks are open sunrise to sunset
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