Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
2,000.00 ft (609.60 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
10.50 mi (16.90 km)
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Goat Flat is a sought-after destination within the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness of Southwest Montana. The Continental Divide Trail crosses this high-mountain plateau. And several different trailheads in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest provide access to the elevated scenery. One such trail, Storm Lake, offers a great day hike to Goat Flat or start to an overnight trip.  

High-clearance vehicles can drive to Storm Lake to begin the hike. With significant divots in the last mile of the dirt road accessing the Storm Lake Trail, more compact cars should park near where the forest road crosses a small bridge a mile down the road. 

The area around the south end of Storm Lake is rich with overland and backcountry campsites. On any sunny weekend in the summer, even if wildfire smoke hangs in the air, expect to encounter other campers enjoying the lakeside splendor.  

Hikers can head either direction around the lake to reach the beginning of Storm Lake Pass, which leads to Goat Flat. West is the recommended approach, first crossing the gravel road atop the dam and then hitting singletrack. From there, it’s a mellow walk around the lake with the Pintler Mountains rising on the horizon. 

The trail diverges from the water at the north end of the lake and quickly enters the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness. The trail also begins its climb up to Storm Lake Pass shortly after leaving the lake. The rise is steady, but not too steep, and within just a few switchbacks, hikers reach Storm Lake Pass.  

Hikers skirt along the side of the mountain they just ascended to get to Goat Flat. Upon making it to Goat Flat, the high-mountain meadow opens the landscape for long-distance views. Large rock cairns direct the traffic through this elevated space and eventually lead to an intersection with the Continental Divide Trail. 

The CDT continues north to Seymour Lake from Goat Flat, but day hikers should content themselves with the great view of the Seymour Lake Basin. This area offers an excellent spot for a lunch break before heading back on the same trail to Storm Lake. For a different perspective on Storm Lake, hike the lake's eastern shore back to the trailhead. 

 

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Good backpacking spot. Great mountain vistas. Access to the Continental Divide Trail.

Trailhead Elevation

7,765.00 ft (2,366.77 m)

Highest point

9,339.00 ft (2,846.53 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Wildlife
Big vistas
Big Game Watching
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

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