Distance: 5 km
Elevation gain: MinimalView mapDownload GPS track
The Anvil Trail is the only trail with a signed trailhead between Skidegate and Tlell on Graham Island, despite several being indicated on the map. Despite searching for the other trails (admittedly during a colossal storm), we couldn't find them, so perhaps plan on this being the only possible hike in the area. The trail gets its name as it follows a section of the Tlell river that, in outline, resembles an anvil. Take a look at the map and you'll see what I mean. The currently maintained and signed trail only follows the most northerly section of the anvil, but it looks like an acceptable trail continues along the other half as well. We didn't follow it far as the weather was closing in, but it might be worth exploring on a return visit.
The trail is located a few kilometers south of Tlell (Tlell isn't really a town, but rather a few houses and a highway sign). It is indicated by two hiker signs about 100 m apart (the entry and exit points) on the side of the road opposite the ocean. Park in a small parking lot next to the ocean opposite the more northerly of the two signs, which is the usual starting point.
The trail is well marked and maintained the entire way. It initially heads through ugly cluttered forest, but soon opens up to the more typical re-growth. This area was, I assume, logged at one point, but also suffered a massive forest fire in 1840. The consequences of both events are still evident. As the trail approaches the Tlell river the forest becomes more open, older, and more beautiful, and the sounds of birds make it an absolutely wonderful place to hike. Several old growth trees survived the fire and still tower above you.
The primary trail ends at a "log jam" on the Tlell river. I've seen log jams before, but nothing like this one. At the point of the jam the river is in a ravine and the logs have filled it side to side for several hundred meters. As this happened long ago, new large trees have begun to grow on the decaying logs of the jam, making it look much more like a forest than a log-jammed river.
From this point an unsigned trail continues along the Tlell river; my suspicion is that it continues for quite a distance, but we didn't follow it as the weather was deteriorating rapidly. Instead we took the usual return loop, which turned out to be a muddy, claustrophic forest for most of the way. In hindsight, retracing our steps would have made for a nicer journey. If you do take the usual exit route, you'll reach the highway at a point about 100 m south of where you started.