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Goat Rocks Overnight Loop

Loop hike to camp at Goat Lake and return via Goat Ridge. One of the most beautiful in the Pacific Northwest.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 13.5 miles
Duration: Multiple days
Family Friendly

Overview:  This is an overnight backpacking trip in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. You will be camping at an alpine lake at ... more »

Tips:  Wait until midsummer for this hike as the wildflowers will be in full bloom. It's about a 14 mile hike so it's not to strenuous. I... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Berry Patch Trailhead

Leaving the trailhead you will enter into a beautiful forest of douglas fir. If you go in July you should be greeted by a forest floor of various wildflowers and lush vegetation.

2. Goat Creek Bridge

This is a very nice bridge over the cascading Goat Creek. If your lucky and there is a breeze you won't be pestered by bugs but if it has been wet or it is early spring you may want to leave this low point of the valley and start heading uphill towards Snowgrass Flats.

3. Meadow & View of Mt. Adams

This is the first beautiful meadow of wildflowers you will come to. Take a look through the trees for a glimpse of Mt. Adams in the distance.

4. Snowgrass Flats

When you reach Snowgrass Flats take the trail to your left as it crosses a meadow of wildflowers via a trail deeply rutted into the ground. Take a look at the towering peaks around you. What you are actually walking through is a deep layer of rich volcanic ash from the 1980 St. Helens eruption that supports a wide variety of wildflowers.

5. Stream Crossing & Camp Ground Area

Here is a nice stream crossing where you can stop for a rest and cool off. You should have views back towards Adams as well. Here you will notice campsites all around. Most people stay at these campsites but I highly suggest you continue on towards Goat Lake for the better campsites!

6. Elk Herd Views & Alpine Ponds

As you leave the stream crossing you'll climb up a hill and emerge into the true alpine zone. You'll pass by a couple pretty alpine pools of of water and if you look across the valley you may see herds of elk, we did (see pictures below). We thought they were rocks on the snowfields but upon looking at the photos later we saw there were over 50 ... More

7. Alpine Valley Views

Walking up the side of this glacially carved valley towards Goat Lake is amazing. There are waterfalls cascading down everywhere with abundant wildflowers. Take lots of photos! You've accomplished most of the climbing by this point. From now it's mostly just a traverse along the valley wall towards Goat Lake a couple hundred feet higher in... More

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8. Waterfall Crossing

This waterfall can be a little tricky to cross with an overnight backpack so be careful. The cascading water of this one is very beautiful.

9. Approaching Goat Lake

You'll notice that what you are heading towards is a depression at the top of the valley. This is your destination, Goat Lake. The towering mountain up the right is Hawkeye Point. You are almost there!

10. Goat Lake Campsite

Just look at the pictures below. They are from two different trips to this area. Both times we saw multiple marmots and goats. There are about 4-5 campsites in this area. This region is becoming pretty popular so the earlier you get here the better of a chance you will have to get a site. At the southern end of the lake is a beautiful... More

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11. Goat Lake

This lake is usually frozen well into the summer, although it's not advisable to trek out onto it at any time of the year. When you get above it look back as the glacial meltwater is often a beautiful tourquoise color.

12. Traverse to Goat Ridge

You will climb a couple hundred feet above the lake and traverse across the top of the valley towards Goat Ridge. On this trek you will crossover several small streams and pass by an abundance of wildflowers. Look back at the other side of the valley you climbed up the day before.

13. Top of Goat Ridge

On a clear day from this point you will have a great view of Mt. St. Helens in the distance. Congratulate yourself as you have reached the highpoint of the trip and almost the entire return is downhill. Look down into the next glacial cirque you will descend into. If you've time it right you should be in for a ton more flowers. The trail down ... More

14. Glacial Cirque & Wildflowers

Take your time walking down into this glacial cirque called "Jordan Basin" and enjoy the flowers. Look towards the edge of this area. This is where the trail is. It will lead you over the headwall of the cirque and down into the next valley. There may be snow in this area so look carefully for the trail exit at what looks like the... More

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15. Leaving the Alpine Zone

You are now leaving the open alpine zone. Take a look back at where you were. Ahead is a nice descent through forests with one more optional viewpoint ahead.

16. View Backwards

Just off the trail is a campsite that is worth exploring for a rest after the descent from Jordan Basin. There is a viewpoint from some nearby rocks back towards where you came from, Jordan Basin. Take some time here to rest as you will have a long descent from here. Take some photos. From here on out you will be mostly in the woods but it... More

17. Mt. Rainier View

When you pass a trail sign for a loop trail you have the option to take it or keep going. I suggest you take it. It is an extra mile maybe but it brings you to the top of a former fire tower with beautiful views of Mt. Rainier in the distance. If you do this you will have seen a total of 3 massive volcanoes from this hike. This viewpoint will ... More

18. West Parking Lot

If you have two cars you can drop one at this trailhead to save the 0.75 mile flat walk back to Berry Flats. If not, don't worry, it's super easy. I myself dropped my pack with friends and jogged the distance easily to get the car and drive back to pick up my buddies. This is the end of your overnight. You will probably feel tired, but... More