Mule Mountain Trail is a 4.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Jacksonville, OR that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round.
Directions from Ruch: Travel south on County Road 859 5.5 miles past the Star Ranger Station to the trailhead on the left.
Watch for poison oak, And some areas with narrow trails and fairly steep drop offs, but only for a short part.
Beautiful springtime hike with lots if wildflowers.
This trail was totally accessible even after our wet winter weather. There's no need to open and close the front gate, as the "fence" around the gate is basically a pile of wood. You can easily pass beside the gate without going off-trail. The trail is uphill right from the start. The first stretch is in the forest, and the views really aren't that stunning. As you gain elevation, it clears, and there isn't much tree cover--but the views improve.
We only did about 2.5 miles out, for a round trip of 5 miles. We bypassed the Mule Creek trail and opted for the mountain trail, but we'll probably go back and check out the creek trail. At times, the mountain trail is about a foot wide with a drop-off to one side, so be aware of that. We also experienced that 'tilted foot' feeling one of the above reviewers mentioned...seems like parts of the trail were maybe rutted?
Mule mountain is worth going up just because of how high you get into the mountains and the trail is pretty open for most of the way. Honestly unsure where the actual top is. We hiked for around 5 miles up and didn't see an end, so we just walked up one of the mountains and had lunch. Bring lunch and enjoy!
The view at the top is some what disappointing. Over all, it was an enjoyable hike.
Beautiful sunny day for a hike on December 1, 2013. The trail starts on private property so they ask that you make sure you keep the gates closed after you pass through. The beginning is a nicely groomed trail that switchbacks up through the tall trees. We followed the Mule Mountain trail to the left. After awhile, there are no trees to provide any shade. This would be a hot hike in the middle of summer. I ended up taking off my long sleeve shirt and wearing my base layer tank top. The trail was dry as we have not had much rain this year. There were places that the trail was narrow and you need to be careful and watch your footing. Part of the trail seemed to have a slope and the outside of my right foot was a bit tender. I asked one of the other hikers and she felt the same way. We are avid hikers and have not ever experienced this before. We skipped summiting Mule Mountain and continued on to Baldy to the top. Weather permitting, we will return on Saturday and go to the summit of Mule Mountain. It will require a scramble up the steep side of the mountain.
A winter snow storm prevented us from returning to the summit of Mule Mountain on December 7th. On January 5, 2014 we returned. Another beautiful sunny day. We also found a geocache at the top.