The Mud Springs hike actually begins with an exciting ride 2.85 miles out Mack Canyon Road. This small road which is used for camping is located not far past the Sawmill Trail picnic area. It starts out decent enough but the further one drives, the worse the bumps get; therefore, a high clearance vehicle is required.
After reaching the trailhead which is somewhat hidden at the right side of the road, 18 hikers started off on the undulating path which ascended and descended the same 100 feet several times over the course of the 5 mile out-and-back hike. We hiked below Mack's Peak for most of the time in a wooded area with nice views of the peak and the desert below. One of the ridges held a giant joshua tree which seemed to be a bit out of place among the white pines and juniper.
At around 1.4 miles, we reached the first mud spring which was surrounded by a barbed wire fence and posted with the sign seen to the right. It is difficult to get 18 hikers in a long line to be quiet but there didn't seem to be any elk in the area at that moment anyway. We saw plenty of scat but no elk were drinking at one of their favorite watering holes.
We passed a second mud spring which looked similar to the first then made our quietest approach to the third and final spring. Again, no elk. However, since the elk were not at home, we were able to cross a low part of the fence going into the spring area where we got the photo above.
We ate our snack at the third spring and waited hoping to see an elk wander in but "nothin' doin'." The trip back out from the spring was very pleasant. Some of the best views are seen better on the way out. We were careful to retrace our steps correctly as this trail can be deceptive otherwise. In fact, a small boy was lost in this area for 3 days a few years back. They found him and he was fine but ....
We found this vertebrae bone in the area. As you can see, to the right, it is very large. Perhaps it either belonged to one of the elk or maybe a horse or burro. We all enjoyed the hike and hope we remember the location at a future time.