Goat Peak offers expansive views into the William O. Douglas Wilderness and beyond. Once the site of a U.S. Forest Service lookout, Goat Peak’s 6,400-foot summit showcases such impressive gems as the Goat Rocks, Bumping Lake, Mount Rainier, Fife’s Peak, and the Stuart Range.
There’s no question how the peak earned its name; the steep trail climbs over 3200 feet in less than 3.3 miles. It’s certainly the shortest route to the peak, but seems relentless, requiring strong hooves and the energy of a mountain goat.
The trail leaves the parking lot and immediately begins its uphill climb on a narrow path which travels through forest and alongside a small creek. Within the first mile, it leaves the creek and begins a traverse eastward where the trail becomes even narrower as it crosses a dry hillside.
Luckily, it is on hillsides like this where flowers of all varieties are delicately sprinkled amongst rocks. Purple and pink varieties of penstemon provide a welcome distraction along the steep trail. Angling into the ridge the route offers some views of the surrounding hills, then switchbacks a few times before contouring with the ridgeline as it climbs closer to its goal. Before you pass another mile, the trail swings eastward to a rocky overlook for your first full view of Fife’s Peak.
The trail travels just below the crest of the ridge through areas of forest, huckleberry bushes, and along steep hillsides of rock covered only by a thin layer of dirt. These areas require an attentive step and a close eye. Looking up the trail one cannot help but recognize there are no stretches of flat pathway as it continues through more forest and shrubbery.
Near 2.8 miles, the trail alters its uphill course eastward across a talus slope just before meeting its intersection with the American Ridge Trail 958. Turn right and follow the obvious path through a final few switchbacks under the welcome shade of tree cover. Before long, the trail breaks out into an open, rocky hillside switchbacking up to the crest of American Ridge.
At a landing just below the high point, the trail continues westward along the American Ridge, providing alternate ways to ascend or descend from this peak. Take the very short boot path to the right, which leads through big rocks and windblown trees to the top. As noted, views here are expansive and they are most definitely your reward for the hard work in getting there.
- 6.5 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 3,200 feet
- Highest Point
- 6,473 feet
Hiking Goat Peak
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 46.9641, -121.2675 Open in Google Maps