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Goat Mountain

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This is a long, steep climb to a prominent peak perched smack-dab in the middle of some of the finest mountain scenery in North America. Mounts Baker and Shuksan breathe their frosty breaths upon you. A choppy sea of jagged peaks from British Columbia to the Picket Range washes up upon your boots. Gaze out to salty waters or deep into the heart of the North Cascades wilderness. And best of all, you wont' be competing for space on the summit. The crowds are over at nearby Hannegan Peak.

Starting in thick forest decorated with mossy boulders, the way immediately winds upward. On excellent tread the grade is mostly moderate - but trust me, it'll get steeper. Much of Goat Mountain succumbed to fire nearly a half century ago, and blackened snags bear witness to the past conflagration.

At about 1.75 miles enter the Mount Baker Wilderness. Shortly afterward pass an unmarked side trail (elev. 3900 ft) that heads right. It leads 0.5 mile to an old lookout site. The view is good, but the ones waiting for you along the main trail are better. Far better. So continue climbing. Thick forest cover soon thins, replaced by a jungle of mountain ash, maple, alder and willow. Then the surrounding walls of shrubbery begin to dissipate, yielding to low-lying blueberry bushes and expanding views.

At about 3.75 miles arrive on a 5100 foot knoll with a knockout view of glacier-harboring Mount Sefrit and Shuksan. From the good early turnaround option (or early season objective), you'll also find an excellent shot of glistening Price Lake tucked in a high cirque on Shuksan's northern face of ice and rock.

The trail continues along the spine of a ridge, officially terminating at 5600 feet at the base of expansive meadows high on Goat's south-facing slopes. From here follow a rough but well-defined route, first across, then straight up those flower-studded steep slopes. Cross a couple of spring-fed creeks adorned with showy bouquets. The way here is prone to slumping, so travel carefully. After a long traverse the trail insanely heads straight up the verdant slope, reaching a 6250-foot shoulder and an amazing view north to Tomyhoi, the High Divide, and British Columbia's infinite summits.

Now turn right and follow a ridgeline course, reaching a 6650-foot high point after 0.5 mile of some of the most incredible alpine viewing in the North Cascades. Look at all those peaks: Redoubt, Jack, Ruth, Blum, Triumph and Whitehorse among them, and Slesse, Rexford and Silver Tip among their Canadian cousins.

Don't forget to admire your immediate surroundings too, like the small glacier directly below wedged between Goat's two prominent summits. And speaking of summits, the peak's actual high point is just to the north of you. Only 100 feet higher, it requires crossing a dangerous snowfield and scrambling exposed rock. Leave it for the peak's namesake.
Driving Directions:

From Bellingham follow the Mount Baker Highway (SR 542) east for 34 miles to the Glacier Public Service Center. Proceed another 13 miles, turning left onto FR 32 (Hannegan Pass Road) just before a bridge over the North Fork Nooksack River. Follow FR 32 for 2.4 miles to the trailhead (elev. 2550 ft.). More parking is available just beyond the trailhead.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 78 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Goat Mountain — Nov 27, 2013 — Marty the trail badger
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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Goat Mountain in the North Cascades is open and in great shape. I hiked it yesterday hoping to get ...
Goat Mountain in the North Cascades is open and in great shape. I hiked it yesterday hoping to get one last hike in before snow closed out the lower parts the trails around Mt. Baker Hwy.
I really enjoy this hike as the south facing slope provides filtered sunshine through the trees all day. The lower part of the trail was logged once upon a time leaving us a forest of smaller diameter trees surrounding the stump monuments to the forest that once was. The spacing of old growth stumps in any logged area is revealing of how different those forests were from today’s. A mid-section of the trail gently traverses through an ancient burn area with several still standing old growth snags showing the interior, chimney fire that shot through them. Next, the trail steadily switchbacks up to the meadows. The trail is completely clear all the way to the meadows at 4500 feet with no deadfall or washed out tread anywhere. WTA has had BCRTs on this trail the past two years and Lew from the Glacier Ranger District chain sawed the deadfall below the wilderness boundary this summer.
The trail head is at 2500 feet with a temperature of 35 degrees when I started. I didn’t hit patchy snow until about 4000 feet and 2.3 miles up the trail. In just a couple of more switchbacks the snow becomes constant with a good boot / snow-shoe path packed into it. There is a strong temperature inversion currently in the area and consequently I found myself hiking in 50 degree temperatures above about 3500 feet. The drawback to this is that the snow in the meadow is quite soft and at least 2 feet deep. I had not carried snow-shoes and started post-holing through the snow-shoe path once I reached the meadow. I weigh in at about 210 with a winter pack on, so I plopped down for lunch at 4700 feet and 3.1 miles in. You should be able to reach the view point of Mt. Sefrit, Mt. Shuksan, and Mt Baker at 5100 with snow shoes or enough time and some determined post-holing.
The return hike down goes quick due to the great shape the trail is in. I hiked up in winter boots and donned my micro-spikes for the trip down with the aid of trekking poles.
If you decide to hike this before our next storm due in Sunday/Monday, then Wake ‘n Bake one block north of the Hwy in Glacier opens at 0730 and closes around 5:00 P.M. with organic coffee and homemade pastries. For the return, Chair Nine pizza is just east of Glacier and the North Fork Beer Shrine also has pizza a little farther down the hwy.
Happy Hiking!

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Goat Mountain — Oct 16, 2013 — geezerhiker
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
Issues: Water on trail | Snow on trail
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This was my first trip up Goat Mountain. This is a great hike: 7 miles RT with 2,900' of elevation ...
This was my first trip up Goat Mountain. This is a great hike: 7 miles RT with 2,900' of elevation gain. That gets you to the meadows on the shoulder of the mountain at 5,100'. I'll have to wait until next year to access more elevation.

The entire trail is clear. The first two miles are as good as trails get. The tread is wide, smooth, and soft. The third mile is mostly good, but there are a few areas with rocks, roots, and brush. The last half mile to the shoulder meadows quickly becomes a mess. It is steep, wet, and muddy. There is compact snow on the last quarter mile of the trail, but does not pose a problem to progress with just hiking boots.

I hit the trail at sunrise. The sky was clear. By the time I reached the meadows, the sun was shining and conditions were perfect to light up the beautiful fall colors on the flank of Goat Mountain. There are great views of Sefrit, Shuksan (with Price Lake), and Baker.
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Goat Mountain — Jul 21, 2013 — Grateful Tread
Multi-night backpack
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Mudholes | Snow on trail | Bugs
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Out for a stupendous WTA BCRT this past weekend with a great crew of real fine folks. It always seem...
Out for a stupendous WTA BCRT this past weekend with a great crew of real fine folks. It always seems the longer the days and more intense the work, the greater the laughter and camaraderie is at camp come evening. This trail is quite the climb with a full pack to the base camp at the 5200' level. A few nice camp spots trail side, but if you poke around there are additional private campsites both below and above the main overlook.

To stop at the last of the maintained trail by the USFS is alright indeed, but a scramble up the boot path to the top of Goat Mt. is worth every bit of effort, slogging another 1500 feet over a few snow fields (non-technical). Views abound south to Baker and west range, north into Canada, the border peaks and the ominous ridges of the Pickett Range to the east deep in the heart of the NCP. At all times the great Shuksan reminds you Baker isn't really the only showstopper in these parts; a peak at Price Lk. on the flanks of that behemoth sure makes you wonder just what a cross country trek would be like to get to that watery gem.

Do this hike, you won't regret it. Water will be hard to come by in a few weeks with the last snow melt so plan accordingly. Thanks to crew leader Arlen for his amazing ability to lead a crew and get some damn fine work done.

...sorry camera ran out of juice before the climb to the top, you'll have to go there for yourself.
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Goat Mountain — Jul 20, 2013 — University Congregational Hikers
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Bugs
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All snow now gone from the trail as far as the "balcony" at about 5200' with the spectacular views o...
All snow now gone from the trail as far as the "balcony" at about 5200' with the spectacular views of Shuksan, Sefrit, Baker, and much more. The trail is in the best condition I've ever seen. There was a WTA work party laboring enthusiastically away on the final climb to the "balcony". I'm sure these two observations are not unrelated.

This hike is notable for its Tiger Lillies (Columbia Lillies), and they were out in considerable numbers in the brushy areas around 4000'. Lots of unopened buds, so the show should continue for a while longer. Pink Monkeyflower out in at least two places. Plenty of other flowers out as well, though the open areas here here are more the clumps-of-flowers type than the vast-fields-of-color type.

Lots of backpackers were on the way up to the not-very-numerous good campsites - if you are planning to overnight on Saturday, start early.

Most of the bugs were in the brushy areas about 2/3 of the way up. Few at the trailhead. The bugs up higher weren't much in evidence at midday (though there was some breeze); we were told by a backpacker that they did come out at dusk and dawn.

To repeat, this is the Goat Mountain on the North Fork Nooksack (off the Mt. Baker highway), not to be confused with the umpteen other Goat Mountains and Goat Peaks in our lovely state.
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Goat Mountain — Jul 14, 2013 — janet
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns | Snow on trail | Bugs
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Great day; arrived at trail head at 8:50 am, only one other car in parking lot. Nice, short, 2.4 mil...
Great day; arrived at trail head at 8:50 am, only one other car in parking lot. Nice, short, 2.4 mile gravel road off Mount Baker Hwy.
Weather was clear and cool for the hike up; pretty warm on the way down, which worked out perfectly! The views were stupendous of Shuksan and Baker and the valleys. I stopped shortly after the big viewpoint. Awesome hike. The blowdowns were not a problem to get over or around, and mud on trail was minimal. Only encountered snow when close to the viewpoint. I've had much worse bug issues, so some bug repellant was adequate. The views were very worth the effort to get there!
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Goat Mountain View Angela Sasha Lucy.jpg
View from Goat Mountain. Photo by Angela, Sahsa and Lucy.
WTA worked here!
2011, 2012, 2013
Location
Goat Mountain (#673)
North Cascades -- Mount Baker Highway
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest - Glacier Public Service Center
Statistics
Roundtrip 11.0 miles
Elevation Gain 4100 ft
Highest Point 6650 ft
Features
Old growth
Wildflowers/Meadows
Mountain views
Summits
Ridges/passes
User info
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: North Cascades (Romano - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails No. 332 Spirit Lake

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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Red MarkerGoat Mountain
48.8972047 -121.6522521
  • BCRT 2013
  • BCRT 2012
  • Trail Work 2011
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