Goat Lake Trail

North Cascades, Washington

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Goat Lake Trail

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  • Sun setting on Monte Cristo and Foggy Peak.- Goat Lake Trail
  • Reflection in Goat Lake.- Goat Lake Trail
  • Back side of Monte Cristo.- Goat Lake Trail
  • Snow on Monte Cristo.- Goat Lake Trail
  • Snowmelt from Monte Cristo.- Goat Lake Trail
  • Pheasant on Upper Elliot Trail.- Goat Lake Trail
  • Sign to Upper Elliot.- Goat Lake Trail
  • Sign to Goat Lake.- Goat Lake Trail
  • Backside of Sloan Peak.- Goat Lake Trail
  • Rocky area on Upper Elliot.- Goat Lake Trail
  • Stream crossing on Lower Elliot.- Goat Lake Trail
  • Bridge on Lower Elliot.- Goat Lake Trail
  • Goat Lake Trail.- Goat Lake Trail
  • Backcounty campsite on the Goat Lake Trail.- Goat Lake Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
great views, wild flowers, alpine lake
Cons: 
rough road, lots of bugs
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Region:
North Cascades, WA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
NW Forest Pass
Total Distance: 
9.20 mi (14.81 km)
Trailhead Elev.: 
1,761 ft (537 m)
Net Elev. Gain: 
1,600 ft (488 m)
Trail Uses:
Hiking, Horseback
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Dogs allowed: 
Yes
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky

Today

Drizzle in the afternoon.
73°F
58°

Mon

Clear throughout the day.
78°F
51°

Tue

Clear throughout the day.
80°F
57°

Wed

Partly cloudy until afternoon.
79°F
58°

Thu

Clear throughout the day.
78°F
56°

Fri

Clear throughout the day.
79°F
56°

Sat

Clear throughout the day.
83°F
53°
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

This hike is great for a longer, steadier incline and for an early season backpack trip. Hikers will enjoy river views, waterfalls, and old-growth forest the whole way up before arriving at a glistening alpine lake surround by high peaks. There are about 15 campsites that are fairly open and close to the lake. 

About half a mile after you start at the trailhead, the trial splits into Upper and Lower Elliot Creek Trail. The upper trail used to be a road, so it’s easier to hike and has fewer streams and a steady incline. This route has views of waterfalls and a few jagged peaks from Sheep Mountain. The lower trail is slightly more difficult with a rockier and wetter pathway. The lower trail follows Elliot Creek, and you can occasionally catch glimpses of it. Consider taking the Upper Trail on the way up and the Lower Trail on the way down. 

The trails will come back together in about 2.5 miles, and from there the incline slightly increases and the switchbacks start. There are occasional views of Elliot Creek and a large waterfall. Once at the top, the campsites are on the left and clearly marked along with a toilet that is completely in the open. Once past the campsite, the trail continues down to the lake where most people stop. There are even better views farther along the lake, however. The trial narrows and is sometimes overgrown with fallen trees, but it is well worth the extra few minutes. On a still day the lake can show an excellent reflection of part of Monte Cristo Peak, which was named after the old mining town that used to be around that area.

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

(9 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(48 within a 30 mile radius)

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