Hoffer Lakes Hike
Updated: Jul 11, 2022
Difficulty: Moderate- Steep, but short
Length: Approx. 1 mile round trip with options to make it longer
Elevation Gain: Approx. 350 ft.
Location: Anthony Lake (45 minutes from Baker City, OR)
Notes: No cell service. Bring bug spray
Hoffer Lakes is a great hike for little kids. It's short (only 1/2 mile from the trailhead to the lake), but definitely still feels like a real hike. My kids especially love the large boulders near the bottom of the trail.
Be warned that this hike can have swarms of mosquitoes. Our first time there the bugs were so bad at the lake we stayed at the lake for less than a minute before heading down. I think the ideal time to hike to Hoffer Lakes is in the fall once the bugs die down a bit, but if you wait too long you will be hiking in snow. We are going to try mid-September next time we go.
*Update- We did finally make it here in mid-September and it was fantastic! Zero bugs, comfortable temperatures and some fall foliage. I would highly recommend doing this hike in the fall :) Keep in mind, it can start snowing up here in mid-October and it is always cooler up in the mountains than down in the valley.
This hike is at 7100' and the snow melt can vary greatly from year to year. In 2017 and 2018 we went 4th of July weekend and there were a few tiny spots of snow. In 2020 the entire trail was covered in snow and only part of our family opted to continue the hike to the lake since we were all in hiking sandals instead of shoes.
We did have to deal with snow, but we didn't have any mosquitoes! Our friends went just a week later and then snow was almost completely gone, but the mosquitoes were terrible. I don't think you can catch a window in the late spring/early summer where the snow is gone, but the bugs aren't out yet. Hiking through the snow wasn't actually that bad since it's a short hike, but it definitely would've been nice to have hiking boots and poles (it was a bit slippery going down some of the snow banks). If you go earlier in the spring this is a fun hike to do in snowshoes! The trail is marked with small blue markers on the trees, but I would recommend getting familiar with the trail while it's clearly visible first.
Daisy always enjoys a good swim along the way. This trail does have several creek crossings (there are plank bridges) and multiple spots to play in the water. Bring a change of clothes for any kids who may want to play in the water (it's cold!) or might accidentally fall in.
The trailhead for Hoffer Lakes is on the south side of the lake. If we're hiking with toddlers, we drive around to the south end of the lake and park right by the trailhead. If you want a bit longer hike park at the picnic area and extend your hike by completing the 1 mile loop around Anthony Lake.
Getting there: From Baker City head north on Highway 30 towards Haines (approx. 10 miles). Turn left in Haines and follow the Anthony Lake Highway signs for 25 miles to the Anthony Lake Recreation Area. Turn left into the Anthony Lake Campground and continue until you reach the lake.