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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 (maximum depth 5 feet) drainage lake surrounded by an extensive shrub and timber swamp. Immediately surrounding the open water is a narrow zone of shrubby 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 (Somatochlora hineana) among many other wildlife and plant species. The open zone grades into second-growth wet-mesic forest of white cedar, white spruce, balsam fir and black ash. This is an example of boreal forest habitat which a rare community type to be found in Wisconsin. As a result records of boreal forest species such as common goldeneye have been documented to nest on the property, which is rare in Wisconsin.

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 (no designated trail);
  • Hunting (especially noted for deer, grouse, rabbit, squirrel and waterfowl);
  • Snowmobiling trail;
  • Trapping;
  • Wild edibles/gathering; and
  • Wildlife viewing.

Download [PDF] a map of this property.

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

Useful links
Adopt a Fish or Wildlife Area


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