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Wolf Lake – 7.1mi / 11.5km
While a majority of the hike to Wolf Lake is spent in a hall of lodgepole pines, Little Gibbon Falls, a couple of beautiful stretches along the Gibbon River, and the lake itself make it worth the hike. The trail starts out alternating between trees and meadows along a lazy stretch of the Gibbon River. It climbs up into the forest, then pops out above a nice cascading waterfall, called Little Gibbon Falls, with great rock formations along the rim of a small canyon.
The trail wraps around to the top of the falls, then crosses over the river via some logs. From there, the trail enters a hall of trees, then joins the Howard Eaton Trail. Take a right and continue through the trees that lead you to a nice stretch of the Gibbon River with another log crossing. Once again, the trail leaves the river and heads into the trees.
Eventually, it crests a knoll that looks down on Wolf Lake and its great open meadows. The trail descends to a campground and a wide, calf deep river crossing. Feel free to ford the river and explore the meadows beyond before heading back. The trail at the lake continues on to Grebe and Cascade lakes, which can be done as a longer 9.9mi/15.9km day hike and would require arranging a car shuttle.
An alternate route to Wolf Lake starts at the Ice Lake trailhead that adds Ice Lake and 0.7mi/1.1km each way to the trip, but misses Little Gibbon Falls. (See descriptions of Ice Lake, Cascade Lake, and Grebe Lake for more route options that include Wolf Lake.)
Trailhead: Parking for the signed trailhead for Wolf Lake is located on the south side of Norris-Canyon Road, between Norris Junction and Canyon Junction. The trail begins on the north side of the road. Alternate trailhead is Ice Lake, and is located further west on the same road.
Elevation Gain: 800ft / 240m – Elevation Loss: 800ft / 240m