Looking for solitude? Well this is your place!
Diminutive Anderson Lake lies at the end of the abandoned and little known Dog Mountain trail. While only a few hundred feet down the road from the more popular Bare Mountain trailhead, the Dog Mountain trail sees very few hikers over the course of the season.
The trail is rough, muddy and sometimes difficult to follow, and so far as I’ve determined, doesn’t lead to the summit of Dog Mountain.
However it is quite beautiful and provides great views of the area especially in the upper portions as you amble across bare rock slabs and alpine meadows.
Distance: 9mi± RT
Elevation gain: 3500’±
Other people you will likely see: 0±
The trail starts out at an abandoned bridge. It’s deck is sturdy enough to walk on, but has some very large holes. Don’t fall.
The journey continues along a derelict road grade, crossing two more bridges before gradually climbing up to the original trail.
Occasionally you will see remnants of the trail infrastructure; decaying puncheon, rock retaining walls and well graded footpath. Strangely some of the more recent deadfalls have been cut and cleared, but by whom…it’s anybody’s guess.
Much of the trail is overgrown, rough hewn and steadily eroding.
When you reach the higher sections of trail you are traveling through a beautiful basin of low growing conifers, alpine meadows and wide rock slabs. During the early melt these slabs are like wide and lazy waterfalls.
It’s easy to lose the way as you cross the slabs, but there are a few cairns to look for at the time of this writing. When in doubt continue in an easterly direction. After the slabs the trail is easier to pick up in the heather.
You’ll eventually climb up to a gap in the steep ridge that until now was not visible. Here you will get your first sight of Anderson Lake down below. Also you will get an interesting view of the Middle Fork Valley and it’s peaks; Treen, Garfield, Preacher, even Kaleetan and Chair in the distance.
At the time of this writing there is some flagging soon after you flip flop the ridge via the gap. To your right is the way to Anderson Lake, down below is the way up to Pt.5312 (or so I think it’s called).
Heading right you’ll pass talus and steep cliffs above you. The trail is often undefined here, but continue on. Eventually you will reach an old downed log. The “trail” seems to continue past here, but terminates shortly thereafter.
You’ll find yourself standing above a steep-ish, but easy enough to descend talus slope leading right to the lake’s shore. Make your way down and you’re there!
On a hot summer day this is an excellent place for swimming. It’s shallow enough to warm up so as to not freeze your, uh, parts off, but stays cool enough to refresh.
Also, because it’s so secluded it makes a great place for skinny dipping!
There exist a couple of primitive campsites around the lake if you’d like to spend the evening.
At the south side of the lake is a boulder field that offers a mostly unobstructed view of the Middle Fork Valley and points beyond.
I didn’t try fishing during my visit, but also did not see any fish activity. If you were to ask me, I’d wager there are no fish in this lake.
All in all I’d suggest this trip for anyone who seeks seclusion in the mountains. I can almost guarantee you will not see another human being out here, even on the weekend.
During the right season blueberries are abundant, and wildflowers abound. Great views are frequent and there are even some impressive old growth specimens along the way.
Anyway, as always, leave it better than you found it, pack it in, pack it out and pack out any other jerkoff’s crap you might find.