Hike to Goat Lake, Idaho

Iron Creek Trailhead

This hike is off the beaten path and leads to the largest waterfall in the Sawtooth Mountains and a beautiful alpine lake.

This moderate hike begins at Iron Creek Trailhead in the Sawtooth Mountains. Follow the trail through the forest and alongside Iron Creek. At 1.1 miles you will officially enter the Sawtooth Wilderness and soon after come to a marked junction. Turn left to follow Alpine Way Trail across Iron Creek. At 1.5 miles cross a bridge and then begin a steep 600-foot ascent. Although somewhat taxing, the widespread vistas and wildflowers will keep you captivated. The trail levels off at an elevation of 7,600 feet. Continue on through the forest to another junction at 2.9 miles. Take the right path and walk along a hillside until the path nearly disappears north of Goat Falls (3.3 miles). Be sure to take a short detour down a 100-foot path to get the best view of the spectacular falls. 

To continue on to Goat Lake, look south for an angled, scree-covered granite slab. Scramble up the slab to an unmaintained path leading to the lake, directly west of the falls. It is about 600 feet elevation gain to Goat Lake, but the view is definitely worth it! A hidden gem of the Sawtooths.

Pack List

  • Hiking shoes 
  • Water bottle 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Snack 
  • Camera
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RT Distance 6.8 Miles
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Easy Parking


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Better Than Banff! Best Sawtooth Hike!

Best hike in the Sawtooths! I never would've thought my favorite alpine lake hike would be found in Idaho! The crowd factor makes this almost better than Grand Teton or Banff because the views are all to yourself. I will note that this is definitely at LEAST 1000 feet elevation gain. Camping at Goat Lake looked epic by the way if you have time!

Gorgeous hike!

Hiked up to Goat lake a few summers ago (in August)... I was definitely thankful to have brought lots of water on this journey as it took a half day at least and the last scramble was water break worthy!! The whole trek is great, packed with beautiful scenery and fun terrain. Passing through the boulders and then arriving at the lake still sticks out in my mind! The lake is magnificent, crystal clear and backed by an ice covered peak... this is by far one of my favorite lake hikes!! I would recommend getting up there early and taking a fishing pole and a camera, both things that I wish I would have had at the time!

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