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Pansy Lake Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Pansy Lake at dawn. (Matt Reeder)
Old growth at the wilderness boundary. (Matt Reeder)
GPS tracklog of Pansy Lake/ Bull of the Woods Loop
  • Start point: Pansy Lake TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Pansy Lake
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out-and-back
  • Distance: 2.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 500 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: late Spring-early Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: Yes


Hike Description

The short trail to Pansy Lake is hands down the best family hike in the Bull of the Woods Wilderness Area. The trail climbs steadily but never steeply a mile to a beautiful lake tucked into a basin below Pansy Mountain and the Bull of the Woods Lookout. For those with more energy (or more energetic children), you can continue up to the summit of Bull of the Woods, the peak from which the wilderness area derives its name.

The trail begins in an old-growth forest and climbs slowly away from Pansy Creek and out of Pansy Basin. At a trail junction 0.8 mile from the trailhead, keep left on the new routing of the Pansy Lake Trail; going right takes you down the old routing of the trail into Pansy Basin and up steeply to Pansy Lake. The trail passes above a side creek's waterfall shortly afterwards and passes the Pansy Basin-Dickey Lake Trail Junction before reaching yet another junction near the lake. Going right will take you around the lake to a number of excellent campsites; going straight takes you up to the Pansy Basin-Mother Lode Trail Junction and eventually the summit of Bull of the Woods.

While in the area, there is much to do. You can look around the lake on an unmarked but easy (albeit brushy at times) trail. You can also search the area for the old mine shaft built by Robert Bagby in the late 19th Century. You could also return via a loop by heading down into Pansy Basin, though this loop is not recommended unless you are a skilled trailfinder. Dickey Lake is another possibility. As with any hike, be sure to carry adequate maps or a detailed guidebook if you plan on making any such excursion.


  • Green Trails Maps: Battle Ax, OR #524
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, Bull of the Woods Wilderness, Opal Creek Wilderness, Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area
  • Geo-Graphics: Bull of the Woods and Opal Creek Wilderness Map
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Clackamas River Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood

Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

Located in the Bull of the Woods Wilderness Area, all restrictions apply.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington - Third Edition, by William L. Sullivan
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Megan McMorris

More Links

  • For the Mount Hood National Forest info sheet, check out the entry at Trail Advocates.
  • There is also a virtual hike entry over at NW Hiker.


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.