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Goat Mountain and Deadman's Lake

South Cascades > Mount St. Helens
46.3563, -122.0700 Map & Directions
11.2 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
2,400 feet
Highest Point
5,025 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Photo by trip reporter mboderck. Full-size image
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Summits
  • Lakes

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
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Hike along a lofty ridge at the demarcation of the blast zone. Look south at blown-down and toppled forests and a series of sparkling alpine lakes surrounded by silver snags. Look north at alpine meadows flush with wildflowers and hillsides cloaked in verdant old-growth canopies. One of the best trails for comparing before and after the eruption landscapes, Goat Mountain is also one of the best for views. Continue reading

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Hiking Goat Mountain and Deadman's Lake

Mount St. Helens is an eerie place, considering its dramatic history. The magnificent eruption of 1980 obliterated the top 1,000 feet of the mountain and spewed hot ash and lava across the surrounding valleys, killing everything in its wake. It can be a creepy experience to think about what was lost—and about the Sasquatch sightings that have been recorded here—but take comfort in the fact that the landscape is beginning to heal, with awesome numbers of wildflowers and lush grasses, as life comes back to the scene.

The trail begins in the forest near Ryan Lake and is a steep switch-backing ascent up to the ridge of Goat Mountain, gaining about 1,500 feet within 2.5 miles. This is the most difficult portion of the hike; the remainder of the trail will be a walk on the south-facing side of the ridge.

Once you crest the ridge, the majestic views are there to soak up—Mount Rainier dominates your vision to the north, and Mount St. Helens takes your breath away to the south. You’ll also be able to see Mount Adams to the east along the trail, with Mount Hood peeking out in the far distance.

At about 4 miles, as you are heading west on the ridge, you’ll switch over from the southern side to the northern side of the ridge. You can turn around anywhere along here. If you want to continue, you can drop down to Deadman's Lake.

There is plenty to see that doesn’t require the additional leg to the lake, however; looking north there are many lakelets that oftentimes have elk gathered around them. You can also take in the intense demarcation between the blast zone and the unaffected lands, and ponder what it must have been like to be here during that event.

WTA Pro Tip: Road access can be an issue here. Check with the Gifford Pinchot National Forest to see how the roads in this area are before you head here. 

WTA worked here in 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2015!

Hike Description Written by
Kristen Sapowicz, WTA Correspondent

Goat Mountain and Deadman's Lake

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.3563, -122.0700 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Randle, drive 8 miles south on FR 25. Just after crossing the Cispus River, turn right onto FR Road 26 (paved). Continue 12 miles until a junction with FR 2612 and turn right Continue 0.4 mile to the trailhead.

More Hike Details


South Cascades > Mount St. Helens

Goat Mountain (#217)

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Cowlitz Valley Ranger District and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

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Goat Mountain and Deadman's Lake

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