Aug 21, 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
We drove the Mountain Loop Highway to Barlow Pass, then north on the unpaved section for 3.5 bumpy miles, then about a mile up Road 4080 to the trailhead. Trail conditions were excellent, neither muddy nor gritty, and bugs were not a problem ( I swatted only one mosquito, and that was in the restroom at the trailhead! )
The Elliot Creek Trail soon splits into "upper" and "lower" sections that rejoin later. We prefer the lower trail for its views of the creek, and it's also shorter.
The trail is forested all the way, passing varying types of trees. Closer to the lake there are a few gigantic cedars that somehow survived extensive mining and logging operations years ago. There are very few wildflowers, although we did see some colorful fungi.
When we reached the lake, my hiking buddy Marin and I continued on the trail along the north shore. This route soon becomes rather minimal, and we elected to sit and enjoy the views. There was some blue sky, although persistent wisps of cloud hung around the high peaks. We could see the waterfalls on Cadet Peak, and much of the snowfield including a bit of blueish glacial ice. But the summit of Cadet did not appear for us this time. After about an hour, during which the clouds seemed to increase, we began our return. This was rather leisurely, with frequent stops to view and photograph the white water of Elliot Creek.