Goat Lake

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  • Hiking to Goat Lake.- Goat Lake
  • Unidentified carrot/parsley (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Goat Lake
  • - Goat Lake
  • - Goat Lake
  • - Goat Lake
  • Explorer's gentian (Gentiana calycosa).- Goat Lake
  • Western pasque flower (Anemone occidentalis).- Goat Lake
  • View to the south toward Mount Adams (12,280 ft).- Goat Lake
  • Contributor Shane Kucera looking out over the Goat Rocks Wilderness toward Mount St. Helens (8,366 ft). - Goat Lake
  • View to the south toward Mount Adams (12,280 ft).- Goat Lake
  • - Goat Lake
  • Mount Rainier (14,409 ft) and Goat Lake in the distance.- Goat Lake
  • View from a Pacific Crest Trail high point.- Goat Lake
  • View to the northwest toward Mount Rainier (14,409 ft).- Goat Lake
  • - Goat Lake
  • View to the south toward Mount Adams (12,280 ft) on the trail to Goat Lake.- Goat Lake
  • - Goat Lake
  • Sunset and Mount St. Helens (8,366 ft).- Goat Lake
  • - Goat Lake
  • A heard of elk crossing under camp.- Goat Lake
  • View to the south toward Mount Adams (12,280 ft).- Goat Lake
  • Marmots at right.- Goat Lake
  • Hoary marmot (Marmota caligata).- Goat Lake
  • Hoary marmot (Marmota caligata).- Goat Lake
  • - Goat Lake
  • Contributors Shane Kucera and Asmund Tweto on an off-trail traverse.- Goat Lake
  • - Goat Lake
  • Unidentified aster (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Goat Lake
  • Goat Lake.- Goat Lake
  • - Goat Lake
  • View across Goat Creek Valley, with Old Snowy (7,900 ft) at left and Ives Peak (7,940 ft) at right.- Goat Lake
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Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Incredible Cascade views. Wildlife. Superb backpacking.
Cons: 
Limited season due to snow-pack. Heavy use.
Region:
Mt. Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks, WA
Congestion: 
High
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
Wilderness Permit ($0.00)
Total Distance: 
13.60 mi (21.89 km)
Trailhead Elev.: 
4,620 ft (1,408 m)
Net Elev. Gain: 
2,480 ft (756 m)
Trail Uses:
Hiking
Trail type: 
Loop
Dogs allowed: 
Yes

Current Local Weather

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Today

Snow (2–5 in.) throughout the day.
27°F
16°

Tue

Snow (2–5 in.) throughout the day and breezy overnight.
34°F
22°

Wed

Snow (1–2 in.) throughout the day.
35°F
31°

Thu

Mixed precipitation throughout the day.
47°F
30°

Fri

Mixed precipitation (1–3 in. of snow) until evening, starting again overnight.
51°F
31°

Sat

Snow (2–5 in.) throughout the day.
41°F
29°

Sun

Snow (1–3 in.) throughout the day.
36°F
23°
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

Located in what seems to be the "middle of nowhere," sandwiched roughly halfway in between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams, Goat Rocks Wilderness is quickly becoming a favorite backpacking and hiking destination, and the nearly 14-mile loop trail up to Goat Lake is certainly its most popular adventure.

This hiking trail offers almost everything any outdoor enthusiast is looking for: old-growth forest, waterfalls, lush wildflower meadows, extensive wildlife (e.g., Roosevelt elk, hoary marmots, mountain goats, etc.), alpine lakes, and panoramic vistas of Washington's Cascades.  What protects it, however, is the 2+ hour drive from the nearest town over 5,000 people, and the extensive snow pack that only allows this trail to be accessed for a few months out of the year.

From the Chambers Lake/Snowgrass trailhead you can choose to ascend up to Goat Lake either via the Snowgrass Trail or via Goat Ridge.  Obtaining an overnight camping spot at Goat Lake is a gamble based on its popularity, however, and you'll find a lot more backcountry campsite options along the Pacific Crest Trail, which is best directly accessed via the Snowgrass Trail.

Once above tree line and connected with the PCT, Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens will come into view.  To get a view of giant Tahoma (Mount Rainier's original name), you'll have to venture all the way up to the Packwood Glacier.  From there, you might as well hike an additional 0.8 miles up to the top of Old Snowy Mountain (7,900 feet) to get the best vistas and to appreciate the rest of the Goat Rocks Wilderness.  From the summit of this hike you can return to the PCT and then onto the Lily Basin Trail to reach Goat Lake, or you can make a somewhat tricky but direct off-trail scramble.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(16 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(56 within a 30 mile radius)

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