Aug 26, 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
- Ripe berries
#1 Trail is mostly hard pack dirt with needles, and a few creek crossings, and a lake destination. This hike was mostly for Scout.
#2 Less than 2 hours from Bellevue to the TH (well, it's close to 2 hours).
#3 Between 8-10 miles so we keep our hiking bodies tuned since we are headed to Winthrop next weekend for 4 days of hiking.
#4 We liked it last time.
The approach from Verlot on the Mountain Loop Highway is easy and only has a few gravel spots before it becomes completely gravel after Barlow Pass. And it's only 3.5 miles from there to the TH access road, then less than 1 mile to the TH. We did it in our Camry with ease. And today, with the clear skies, we got to see peaks and cliffs we'd never seen before! Big Four, Foggy Peak, Sheep Mountain, Sloan Peak, Bedal Peak. This is some gorgeous rugged backcountry.
There is a vault toilet at the TH that I really don't remember from three years ago.
We followed the Lower Elliot Creek Trail to the Lake and back. It was too pretty to only do one way. There are several bridges, puncheons and walkways built up so the lower trail can sustain itself through the winter. There is no reason to do the Upper Trail unless you just want different scenery. Not a lot of wildflowers on this trail, but there are a few, and there are berries, though it looks like birds have had their fill recently! No bear signs any where that I could see. Most of this hike is under tree cover, with views and music of the creek, and peaks in between the trees. It is lovely.
Once we got to the Henry Jackson Wilderness Boundary, we remembered the climbing needed to get to the lake. Seems that 1400 ft of elevation gain comes all in the last mile!
The lake level was lower than our last visit, which made it easy for Scout to run in and swim. We had our usual PBJ sammies on the lake shore, and scoped the mountain across the lake for goats. (no goats!)
On our way back, I tarried a bit looking for photo ops. But only remembering to bring my iPhone limited what I could shoot. When I spied some pretty orange fungus on a tree off the trail, I quickly noticed up close that I had totally missed seeing the berries ready for picking and eating when I passed through on the way to the lake! Yummmy!
Two hours of hiking from TH to Lake, two hours and a quarter from lake to TH. 9.5 miles not including the scouting we did around the lake shore and through the old mining town and hotel site (just campsites there now).
Go now because even though there are lots of hikes calling your name, this one is not over hiked. There were about 15 cars at the TH, but we only saw people near the lake. We mostly had the trail to ourselves.