Photos of Mallard-Larkins Loop

DISTANCE
19.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
8,290 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

camping

fishing

hiking

trail running

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

over grown

rocky

backpacking
5 months ago

My boyfriend and I are just starting to get into backpacking and this was our first real backpacking trip! We had a blast however there were a few problems along the trail. The trail was pretty easy to follow until trail 108. In the beginning It was an easy trail for the most part however once we got to the fork of trail 12 and 108, the trail disappeared. They were both clearly labeled and trail 12 looked decently maintained but about 100ft from the fork trail 108 was practically nonexistent.

We decided to keep going however thinking the trail would start to come back or we would be able to find It... we ended up doing this for so long there was a slim chance we could make our way back to the trail. Not the smartest idea, we admit, but It was too late. So we kept going northwest, luckily we had brought a compass and some printed out maps. We kept going northwest knowing we would hit the sawtooth creek or the river.

Finally after about 9 hours of going up and down steep mountains and over/under tons of blown down trees and through shrubs that were taller than our heads, we finally hit the sawtooth creek. We ended up hiking about a mile down and hit the river and knew about a quarter of a mile back was trail 50. So we turned around went back up the creek and got back on trail at that point and completed the loop. It was extremely challenging when we lost the trail and we contacted the forest services afterwords and they said multiple people have complained about the lack of maintenance of that trail. I would advise bringing a compass, a good map, an excellent gps, and a lot of determination. It was a great challenge and I feel a lot more confident surviving in the woods now, but It was not the safest route by far. Good luck!