Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,510.00 ft (460.25 m)
Trail type
8.10 mi (13.04 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.

Beginning at the Iron Creek Trailhead, a steep and at times hard to follow trail beckons you all the way up past Goat Falls, tumbling down steep granite cliffs to the sapphire blue waters of Goat Lake. Few will take this trail; if you wish to leave the crowds behind heading onto Sawtooth Lake, then Goat Lake is the perfect hike for you! 

Your hike begins following the Iron Creek Trail through the forest for approximately one mile, and then you will peel off to the left following the Alpine Way Trail marked by a small sign saying "Marshall Lake." This sign is small and easy to miss, so be sure to look out for it so you don't have to backtrack. 

You will now be heading southeast along the Alpine Way Trail which you will follow for approximately two miles until you reach a "V" in the trail where it takes a U-turn to head towards Marshall Lake. An even smaller sign will mark this junction stating "Alpine Way." Do not follow this trail. Instead travel straight ahead toward the mountains and a large waterfall cascading down the cliffs. You will notice the trail ahead (and to Goat Falls and Lake) is more defined, and the trail following the U-turn (to Marshall Lake via Alpine Way) is very faint.

Continue on the well-defined path heading straight toward the mountains, now in a southwest direction, for approximately half a mile. You will reach a switchback that begins to steeply ascend uphill on a combination of rock, sand, and soil. This part of the trail is a light scramble, but mostly a steep hike with occasional use of your hands to reach for large rocks or tree roots to help you climb up. 

In another half mile or so, you will reach a large talus field. At this point, resist the urge to climb up onto the talus and stay close to the treeline and falls/creek. There will be a couple of rock cairns to mark your way. Keep an eye out for a log crossing with a small rope to stabilize yourself as you cross the water. Continue on the well-defined trail after the creek crossing passing several other small falls for about one third of a mile until you reach Goat Lake. Take time to relax once you reach Goat Lake, you've earned a snack break! 

A couple of things to consider: There may be 1-2 stream crossings depending on the time of year, both were very doable and refreshing to take a dip in the cool water on a hot summer day. Also, it may be prudent to bring a water filter device so you can enjoy some ice-cold water from the falls just below the lake with your lunch.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Light scramble. Solitude. Unbelievably scenic.


Mild route-finding required.

Trailhead Elevation

6,730.00 ft (2,051.30 m)

Highest point

8,240.00 ft (2,511.55 m)


Near lake or river
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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