Jul 04, 2012
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Goat Lake
- Region: North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
- Agency: Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Darrington Ranger District
- Trails: Goat Lake (#647)
- Avg Rating: 4.07
- Hiking Companions
- Hiked with a dog
- Why You Should Go Now
- Wildflowers blooming
- Be Aware Of
Reached the trailhead easily, lots of cars considering how far out this hike is. Decent amount of pot/mudholes on the gravel road to the parking area but avoidable for the most part by a good driver. Headed out on from the trailhead and took the LOWER ELLIOTT trail on our way to Goat Lake. We all would definitely recommend this route approaching the lake as the view of Elliott Creek and further up, McIntosh Falls, are NOT to be missed! Its 3.5 miles to the joining spot of upper and lower and while it's not straight up or down, it's a good trail to get your heart rate up. It's mostly up a bit, down a bit, flat, up some more, down a bit, flat, etc. Beautiful views and the sound of the creek follows you the whole way. It is muddy, though so wear shoes that are waterproof or that can wash off easily in the many streams you will cross.
Once we joined up with the upper trail, we were spoiled by a nice flat portion for about half a mile. After that, it got a bit rough. Once into the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness, we encountered a relatively steep and steady climb. This lasts for about .25-.45 of a mile then we were on our way to the lake with a couple of gentler switchbacks and turns into the sunshine. We did, however, get a bit lost right by the base of the falls and ended up free-hiking up the side to reach the trail again. The trail is a bit difficult to find in some spots, BUT it is marked by pink and orange surveyors "ribbon" tied to trees, rocks, etc so help you keep on the trail. IF you find yourself very close to the falls and traversing over and under fallen trees, turn around and look for the trail marks.
Once at the lake, we were blown away at how beautiful it was. You get a motivating glimpse as you approach from the head of the falls and then wind to the left to find the camping and resting areas. Once into the meadow, we looked left to find two beautiful waterfalls streaming off the cliffs. We took an adventurous "hike" on the logs piled up at the mouth of Elliott Creek/McIntosh Falls. Zoey loved jumping from log to log, so if your pup is a fan of water, this is a great hike for them.
Continuing to our left, we found plenty of places to sit and have lunch and find our way to the bank of the lake. Further around to the left and visible from the log piles is another awesome waterfall which was rushing quite well.
After eating, we hiked back down and ensured we stayed to the path. We got to the split point and chose to take the UPPER path, which again, we would all recommend. My husband and I both thought it was maybe .25-.5 longer than the lower trail, but it is definitely easier and after 5.3 miles of "rough" terrain, its a nice break for the legs. Also, this keeps you from running into a ton of people along the way. There is a rock slide but there is a path on the outside and inside curves of it so it's completely passable, even by children.
Amazing day for an equally amazing hike. We were tired afterward but a good tired. Zoey is still tired! We only ran into 5 people total coming up the lower path and only 3 groups on our way down the upper path...so she was off lead 85% of the time and loved it!