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Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,694.00 ft (516.33 m)
Trail type
7.60 mi (12.23 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Goat Lake is accessed from the Alpine Way Trail by hikers heading south from Iron Creek to Fishook Creek. At the first trail Junction, the Alpine Lake adventure heads to the right (north).

Goat Lake

Goat Lake is perched at the end of a 2.5-mile north-facing alpine basin tucked behind Williams and Thompson Peaks. An impressive waterfall, visible from Highway 75, cascades down the outlet creek. The north face of Merrit Peak rises 1,700 feet directly above the southwestern shore. Needless to say, it is an impressive place. 

Goat Lake is most commonly accessed from Iron Creek Trailhead. Walk the first mile to the Sawtooth Lake/Alpine Way. Turn left and cross Iron Creek on several logs that broach trees on either bank. For the next 1.8 miles the trail climbs onto, traverses, and then descends the large moraine between Iron Creek and Goat Creek. At the first switchback on the descent look for a spur (headed right) that leads to Goat Lake.

NOTE: The spur to Goat Lake is not maintained by the Forest Service and crosses steep, exposed terrain to reach the lake.

Additional Adventures

Hiking beyond Goat Lake is strictly off-trail terrain into a long, stair-stepped and glacially carved alpine basin.  The Alpine Way Trail continues south to Fishook Creek, but most do Goat Lake as an there-and-back adventure.

Wilderness Regulations

Most of the trail lies within the Sawtooth Wilderness.  Please observe the following  regulations:
• Mountain bikes are not allowed past the wilderness boundary.
• Self administered wilderness permits are required and available at the trailhead.
• Dogs must be on a leash between July 1 and Labor Day.
• Camp 100 feet from trails, lakes and streams.
• Pack out all garbage.
• Human waste should be buried and well disguised in a cat hole that is 6 to 8 inches deep.  Pack out all toilet paper.
• Campfires allowed ONLY in a backcountry pan or fire blanket.
• Campfires are NOT allowed at some lakes and in some drainages in the Sawtooths.  Please review the campfire restrictions at individual trailheads.
• Permits required for all stock use in the wilderness. No grazing allowed in the Salmon River watershed (This includes the Alpine Lake drainage).
• No equine stock at Edith Lake. ALL stock prohibited in the Goat Creek and Alpine Creek (Alturas Lake) drainages.

Reference: All content excerpted from Exploring the Sawtooths - A Comprehensive Guide by Idaho River Publications.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Goat Falls. Stunning alpine lake. Moderate length. Glaciated canyon.


Popular route. Steep. Exposed trail to lake. Mosquitos. Trail not maintained.

Trailhead Elevation

6,710.00 ft (2,045.21 m)


Backcountry camping
Rock climbing
Big vistas



My plunge into Goat Lake.
Pics from my trip in July 2015
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Our mission is to inspire adventure with beautiful, comprehensive and waterproof map-based guidebooks.  Owner, publisher, and photographer Matt Leidecker, grew up exploring and guiding on the rivers in central Idaho.  His award winning Middle Fork of the Salmon River – A Comprehensive Guide is the standard by which other river guidebooks are measured.  Printed on virtually indestructible YUPO paper, IRP guides are truly unique all-in-one resources for adventure.  Each book is loaded with full-color maps, stunning photographs, and information on the history, geology, and wildflowers.  Visit Idaho River Publications to explore our guidebooks to the Rogue River in Oregon and the mountains of Central Idaho.

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