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Black Wolf Meadows-Anvil Lake Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Anvil Lake (bobcat)
Explorer's gentian (Gentiana calycosa), Black Wolf Meadows (bobcat)
Domestic dog in Black Wolf Meadows (bobcat)
Round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), Anvil Lake (bobcat)
The short hike to Anvil Lake (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Anvil Lake TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Anvil Lake
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 2.6 miles round-trip
  • Elevation gain: 170 feet
  • High Point: 4,145 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No



In the months of June and July especially, the boggy expanses of Black Wolf Meadows and the shoreline of little Anvil Lake exhibit a wonderful variety of high marsh wildflowers in a secluded and little-visited setting. The short trail that accesses these points has a long history as it was once part of an Indian route that connected the Cascade crest with High Rock and then traversed the ridge line, where Abbot Road now runs, before dropping down to the vicinity of the current city of Estacada. The Forest Service improved upon this connection until logging roads and clear cuts obliterated much of the tread. Note that the western end of the trail, through Black Wolf Meadows, may stay extremely boggy through June, so be prepared to get your feet wet!

Walk back a few yards along the road to where the Anvil Lake Trail #724 leads into old growth red-cedar, Engelmann spruce, silver fir, mountain hemlock woods with lots of huckleberries. A few of the cedars are of decent size. The woods are open with pocket meadows and can be very boggy in the spring. In summer, white bog orchids are blooming and the fruits of false asphodel gleam red. Reach Black Wolf Meadows in a thicket of western spiraea. The trail is indistinct across the meadow, but it keeps to the right side and is marked by posts. Pass a post with a sign stating “Blackwolf Meadow Elev. 4232.” There is much elk sign here. Later in the summer, rich blue explorer's gentians bloom gloriously. Engelmann spruce form little copses in the sedge expanse. Ladies’ tresses, bog microseris, false hellebore, arrowleaf groundsel and western aster dominate the wildflower display in July. In June, look for bog laurel (Kalmia), camas, marsh violets, and elephant's-head lousewort. Towards the end of the meadow, the trail veers right at a post and into the trees. Silver fir and mountain hemlock, with some spruce, dominate here. Descend ever so gently and cross Anvil Creek, which runs dry by mid-summer. Some Douglas-firs enter the forest mix before you come to a trail junction.

It’s a quarter of a mile to Forest Road 5820 (Road S-502 on the sign - it's at least four decades old!), but instead go right down to Anvil Lake. There are only a couple of access points to the boggy shore and no trail around the lake. Marsh cinquefoil blooms here and, looking carefully, you will find insect-consuming sundews. Newts scoot under the placid surface and yellow water lilies bloom atop it. Dragonflies hover and buffleheads take flight. Ripe blueberries demand an extended stay on a sunny day.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Anvil Lake Trail 724 (Trail Advocates)
  • Green Trails Maps: High Rock, OR #493
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Clackamas River Ranger District
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Off the Beaten Trail by Matt Reeder
  • Hiking Mount Hood National Forest by Marcia Sinclair

More Links

Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.