Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
3,880.00 ft (1,182.62 m)
Trail type
11.00 mi (17.70 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Lake Anna is a perfect backpacking destination if solitude is your goal. Though the lake is rather close to a very popular hiking trail in the Trinity Alps Wilderness, a very steep hillside dissuades most people from making it to this hidden gem. Some may spend a day hiking to this lake, but few actually backpack to it.

From the trailhead the trek starts off with a small incline before entering the wilderness. From here switchbacks through the tall coniferous forest take you up further into Long Canyon. Along the way the trail splits with the left path leading to Bowerman Meadows and the right continuing along through Long Canyon. Bowerman Meadows is an alternative route to reaching Lake Anna, but it is arguably more challenging and difficult to find. After a few miles in the forest the trail emerges from the trees and the skies open. Here the trails are lined with wildflowers of many different colors. Lately an invasive species of wildflower has taken over large portions of the hillsides, but natives are still easy to find. After approximately 4.5 miles the trail crosses a small creek and then quickly increases in slope while passing to the right of a large rock dome. Once the trail levels out it begins to make a large bend to the right. This is where the ascent to Lake Anna begins by continuing straight through the bend, off the trail, and up the steep mountainside. 

Upon reaching the highest ridge, the crystal blue waters of Lake Anna can be seen below. There are a few obvious campsites on the ridge as well as around the lake. If you are having difficulty finding a site, continue making a loop around the lake.

To the southeast the outflow for Lake Anna is easily noticed by the sheer drop on the other side. Amongst the rocks are a few nice spots to jump off into the refreshing lake. Day hikes from Lake Anna are sparse unless you descend the steep climb. However, one nice option is to hike up the mountainside to the northwest of the lake and climb to the ridge that overlooks the lake. From here there are incredible views of the Trinity Alps Wilderness and its peaks, lakes, and meadows.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Solitude. Abundant wildflowers. Great views. Pristine lake.


Off-trail section. Very steep climb.

Trailhead Elevation

3,680.00 ft (1,121.66 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas



It seems to me that it would be a LOT easier to get to Lake Anna from the 5 Lakes Loop. If you left the loop at the south end, turned east over the saddle, traversed southwest across the face, staying as high as possible, then turned south to the lake, you'd skip that cross country grunt coming up from Bowman Meadows.

NOTE: I've not done this, but I was looking at a possible route on CalTopo.
Wonderful trip! Good for those new to going off trail. Scramble was steep, but fun. Did not find it too difficult to go up, even for our new-to-hiking-and-backpacking friends. Unlikely to miss the off trail point and plenty of water along the way. Expect to filter water from the lake and haul it back up to your campsite. Leave No Trace ethics enforced by naturally steep basin.

We left the Bay Area at noon on Friday and returned by Sunday evening. Very relaxed trip.
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