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Mud Lake Wildlife Area

Mud Lake in Door County
Photo Credit Troy Gibbs

Mud Lake Wildlife Area is a 2,290-acre property located in northeastern Door County near Moonlight Bay. The property consists of a 155-acre shallow drainage lake surrounded by an extensive shrub and timber swamp. Mud Lake State Natural Area is embedded in this property. Immediately surrounding the open water is a narrow zone of northern sedge meadow dominated by sedges, willows, dogwoods and sweet gale. The wetlands and lake provide habitat for the federally endangered Hine's emerald dragonfly among many other wildlife and plant species. The open zone grades into a second-growth wet-mesic forest of white cedar, white spruce, balsam fir and black ash. This is an example of boreal forest habitat - a rare community type to be found in Wisconsin. 

The pristine, wild character of this property is its greatest asset. There are several ways for recreationists to access the property. Depending on water levels, kayaks and canoes can be used to travel up Rieboldts Creek from Lake Michigan to the interior of the embedded State Natural Area. In addition, an accessible trail leading from the Birch Road parking area takes visitors on a short walk to a boardwalk and pier on the Lake. Mud Lake provides hunters, anglers and all recreationists alike access to a wild unspoiled property within proximity to Door County’s tourist activities.  

Management Objectives

Mud Lake Wildlife Area was acquired by the state beginning in 1966. The original purchase of 1,040 acres was from a landowner who expressed a desire to sell the land to the state to protect the wildlife habitat on the property. A portion of the wildlife area was first designated as a state natural area in 1975. Reiboldt's Creek, which runs from Mud Lake to Lake Michigan, has been stocked with trout and supports a trout spawning run. Waterfowl use of the lake is occasionally heavy.

The property provides opportunities for public hunting and fishing while protecting the qualities of the unique native communities and associated species found there. Management is implemented through access management, boundary posting, invasive species control and timber harvests.


The Mud Lake Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:

  • Birding
  • Canoeing
  • Cross-country skiing (no designated trail)
  • Fishing
  • Hiking (designated trail)
  • Hunting (especially noted for deer, grouse, waterfowl and small game)
  • Kayaking
  • Snowmobiling trail
  • Trapping
  • Wild edibles/gathering
  • Wildlife viewing


  • Bathroom? No.
  • Parking Lot? Yes.
  • Campground? No.
  • Trails? Yes.
  • Other: Pier and kayak landing.


Download a map of this property.

If you are interested in exploring this property further, you can access an interactive map.


Disclaimer: The DNR cannot guarantee the usage of every parking lot, as parking lots can close suddenly and for a variety of reasons. Weather, local water levels and county road closures may impact parking lot availability.

Adopt a Fish or Wildlife Area


This wildlife area has been adopted by Door Sand Hill Farm.