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Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead

Mt. Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks, Washington

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Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead

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  • Hiking to Goat Lake.- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • Unidentified carrot/parsley (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • - Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • - Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • - Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • Explorer's gentian (Gentiana calycosa).- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • Western pasque flower (Anemone occidentalis).- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • View to the south toward Mount Adams (12,280 ft).- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • Contributor Shane Kucera looking out over the Goat Rocks Wilderness toward Mount St. Helens (8,366 ft). - Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • View to the south toward Mount Adams (12,280 ft).- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • - Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • Mount Rainier (14,409 ft) and Goat Lake in the distance.- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • View from a Pacific Crest Trail high point.- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • View to the northwest toward Mount Rainier (14,409 ft).- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • - Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • View to the south toward Mount Adams (12,280 ft) on the trail to Goat Lake.- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • - Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • Sunset and Mount St. Helens (8,366 ft).- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • - Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • A heard of elk crossing under camp.- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • View to the south toward Mount Adams (12,280 ft).- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • Marmots at right.- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • Hoary marmot (Marmota caligata).- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • Hoary marmot (Marmota caligata).- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • - Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • Contributors Shane Kucera and Asmund Tweto on an off-trail traverse.- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • - Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • Unidentified aster (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • Goat Lake.- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • - Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • View across Goat Creek Valley, with Old Snowy (7,900 ft) at left and Ives Peak (7,940 ft) at right.- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • Mount Adams from the Goat Rocks Wilderness.- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • The Pacific Crest Trail leading through Goat Rocks Wilderness.- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • View above Goat Lake.- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • Wildflowers in Goat Rocks Wilderness.- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • Wildflowers in Goat Rocks Wilderness.- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
  • View over Goat Lake to Mount Rainier.- Goat Lake via the Snowgrass Trailhead
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
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,480.00 ft (755.90 m)
Parking Pass: 
Wilderness Permit
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
13.60 mi (21.89 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,620.00 ft (1,408.18 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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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 treeline 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.

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