Jul 28, 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 kids
- Hiked with a dog
- Be Aware Of
The trail is in perfect shape. I was shocked at how well maintained it was. It is very easy to identify (trail vs. non-trail) and in the few areas where the trail is not as visible, the red flags will help you keep right on track. The lower Elliot trail had some swampy patches but overall the trail was dry. Since the trail is 5 miles and only 1400 FT, the incline is not worth mentioning. One thing to remember when you go on this hike... ..wear bug repellent. They were out and in full force. The Upper Elliot trail had less than the lower; but, you will be eaten alive of you do not prepare. I was not impressed with how little flowers there were on the trail. Other reports talked of all the flowers being out and in bloom. While that is true, I want to make sure every knows that this is not Johnson's Ridge. Go elsewhere if your hoping to see endless meadows filled with purples, yellows, reds, and whites.
Over all impressions of the hike:
I took Upper Elliot to the Lake and Lower Elliot back to the trail head. I reached the trail head at 0900 and their were about 5-6 cars. Upper Elliot is a very nice trail where you will see Old Growth Trees after Old Growth Trees. While these are very stunning to look at, what kept catching my eye were the summits in the distance off to my right. I could barely see them through the trees and I believe their were only two times the trees cleared enough to see them. I did feel a little robbed about not getting those sites in (so I decided to go up to Dickerman next weekend, :-)). I did not have GPS on me but at about the 3/5 mark up to the Lake you enter a Hiking only trail. This area is after the point where Upper and Lower Elliot trails merge back together. From this point on the trees were absolutely humungous. Amazing sites. It is also worth noting that if their is any place on this trail you will feel the incline, it is at this portion once you get to Henry Jackson wilderness. As you hike up, you will begin to hear the waterfall. Once you get closer to the Lake, the waterfall will become more visible; but, never completely uncovered by the trees. To really get a ear (and eye) full of this waterfall, going a little ways off the trail will be needed (though please use common sense and watch you footing. It is a long way down the river. WTA does not endorse leaving the day-use trail). Once you get to the top of the waterfall you realize what is supplying it. I know when I got the first little peak through the dense shubs of the lake I had to pick up the pace. There is was, Goat Lake. I think I saw God out their yesterday when staring in silence at the peaceful beauty that was before me. There were great logs to walk out on and if you anything like me, take off those boots and cool off in the lake. The way down through Lower Elliot keeps you right by the river. It was very beautiful to listen to but the density of the foliage once again kept me from getting a real nice, non-intruded upon photo or the river. In other words. You wont be able to kick off you shoes again at the river on the way down.
This is just my belief; but, the destination is the journey in this case. The trail was nice but the density of the foliage sometimes (in the cases of river and summit viewing) got in the way. Goat Lake is a must place for every hiker to go at least once. I will not go their again until I camp over night because on a day on that Lake is not enough.
I will try and get my photos up a little later. Since picnik.com is closed, I need to find another way to resize my images under 1 MB.