Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
2,590.00 ft (789.43 m)
Trail type
13.60 mi (21.89 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.

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Wilderness Permit


Incredible Cascade views. Wildlife. Superb backpacking.


Limited season due to snow-pack. Heavy use.

Trailhead Elevation

4,620.00 ft (1,408.18 m)

Net Elevation Gain

2,480.00 ft (755.90 m)


Backcountry camping
Big Game Watching
Big vistas
Old-growth forest

Typically multi-day



Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

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

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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


The snow is almost fully melted out along all of both the Lily Basin and PCT 2000 trails. Wild flowers are in full bloom.
Quick overnight trip to Goat Rock Wilderness, with all the warm weather the snow at Goat lake has almost all melted out. Still a few snow patches higher up on the Old Snowy ridgeline. Great wildflower displays at the moment.
Being a year with little snow, decided to try the Goat Lake loop in early June. There is still a good amount of snow in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. While the PCT was covered and Trails 96 and 97 were still under a few feet of snow, we could do the full loop hiking along the lower trails from Snowgrass trailhead to Goat Lake a back.
Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.