Hike to Goat Lake

Washington Goat Lake via the Mountain Loop Hwy.

Added by Gemina Garland-Lewis

Hike to a beautiful mountain lake, forest, and waterfalls with easy access. There are designated campsites and privies for those overnight adventurers. 

The trail starts by lazily winding through beautiful forest. Fairly quickly, you'll reach a fork for the Upper and Lower Elliot Creek Trails. Both will take you to Goat Lake in about the same distance (~3 miles), but each offers a different take on the area. The lower trail winds along as it follows Elliot Creek through a lush environment that is full of a multitude of mushrooms during the fall. The upper trail is an old road, lending itself towards a more wide open path with occasional views of the surrounding mountains. If you're hiking in spring, be aware that some creek crossings may be more difficult.

When the upper and lower trails rejoin, the trail will become rockier and a bit steeper. Several switchbacks will lead you up a hillside and you'll see a short side trail to the right to a beautiful cascading waterfall. Take in the falls and then rejoin the main trail, which continues up towards the lake. Soon you'll reach a signed junction where the ~15 designated campsites and privies will be to your left. Stick to the right at this junction if you're day hiking and you'll shortly come out at the lake.

The trail does not go all the way around the lake, but there are lots of beautiful spots along the lake shore to stop and have a rest, lunch, or just sit and marvel at the awesome reflections. If you're lucky, mountain goats will greet you at the lake.

If you're thinking of making this an overnighter, check out Camp at Goat Lake.

Feeling starved afterwards? Make a stop at Barbeque Bucket in Granite Falls on the way back!

Pack List

  • 10 Essentials
  • Water/water purifying device if staying overnight
  • Backpacking gear (tent, sleeping bag, headlamp, etc) if staying overnight
  • Camera
  • Snacks
  • Rain gear/bug spray/poles, depending on season
  • Northwest Forest Pass (available for purchase at Verlot Ranger Station)
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Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



10.4 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1400 Feet



Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly

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How to Get There

2 months ago

Worth It

It took my friends and I six and a half hours to complete this hike. We took the upper trail on the way there because it is much more scenic. We took the lower trail back to make it easier on ourselves. The views were absolutely stunning all the way up! But it was very challenging to hike. The elevation and terrain was difficult! But as soon as you come up on Goat Lake, it truly takes your breath away. That Gorgeous view is totally worth it.

2 months ago

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