Goat Rocks Wilderness, Aug 27-Sept 1, 2016 - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: New Westminster
Interest: Backpacking, hiking, scrambling, mountaineering
Posts: 15
Default Goat Rocks Wilderness, Aug 27-Sept 1, 2016

After hearing glowing reports of the Goat RocksWilderness from Washington-based friends, it was finally time to check-out thisarea just SE of Mt Rainer NP. A six-day trip which, in hindsight, wouldhave done in five-days. Highlights: high-open ridge walking day after daywith constant views of Mt Adams and great views of Rainier, fields ofwildflowers (peak is mid-August but still out in many spots) accompanied by themost butterflies I've ever seen, scramble to the top of Old Snowy Mountain, andhiking The Knife along the PCT. Wildlife: pikas, marmots, and mountaingoats (though at a distance, not up-close as at the Enchantments).

Day 1 (Sat): about 5-hour drive to Walupt Lake CGfrom the border (not including stops for groceries and one of the best burgersanywhere at Cliff Droppers in Packwood). A fee campground which is ingood nick with clean toilets (no showers, sinks; but has potable water andfirewood for sale) on a wonderful lake (the warmest of those we went into). Ifthis site was full, we would have gone to the non-fee site at Chambers Lake(not as nice). Roads to the CGs and THs are rough but fine for even myMazda3.

Day 2 (Sun): we left one of our two vehicles atWalpult Lake CG (our hike end-point) and then squeezed into the second anddrove to Berry Patch TH (last toilet until back at Walupt). From there,we took the Goat Ridge Trail 95 to Goat Lake for camp (wide side trips on95A and up Hawkeye Point, the latter provides the best view of MtRainier). 13km, 1050m elevation gain, 2266m max elevation. Going upthe trail we were told by those going out that there were something like 100people Saturday night at Goat Lake. Fortunately everyone had left so onlya few Sunday night, so advice is to not hike in on a Friday or Saturday. Goat Lake made for a very cold swim (recently fully melted out).


Mt Adams our constant companion:

Mt Rainier from Hawkeye Point:

Day 3: Goat Lake-Snowgrass Flats-PCT (a couple ofgood camping sights located just off of the PCT between trail 96 and 97 near anunderground creek which surfaces just to the west of the PCT (very audible);6km; 265m elevation gain. After setting up camp, we headed north on thePCT to scramble up Old Snowy Mountain (the PCT goes over its west shoulder) -trail from PCT to summit is initially signed and obvious until the last 200feet where it is an easy 3rd class scramble to the summit with little if anyexposure depending upon your route). 8km from camp-summit-camp; 560m elevationgain; 2415m max elevation.

Goat Lake and Mt Rainier:

Old Snowy Mountain:

View from summit of Old Snowy:

Day 4: PCT Camp-along The Knife to Elk Pass,return. Just take PCT north as far as you wish (though after Elk Pass thePCT just drops and drops). Two snowfields to cross on west side of OldSnowy, but snow was soft and though one crossing was steep and in need of someserious kick-stepping Ok without microspikes/ice axe. 12km, 720melevation gain, 2195m max elevation.

The Knife:

Day 5: PCT camp-Cispus Pass-Sheep Lake. Section to Cispus Pass, like all of the above, wonderfully scenic. Shortly after Cispus Pass, drop down into the trees and all trees until WaluptLake. So at a VERY leisurely pace we arrived at Sheep Lake in 4 hours(10km) - a fine spot, but recommend people to continue the extra 7 km (2 hours)to Walupt Lake and then drive home.

Cispus Pass:
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 01:49 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Mackenzie, BC, Canada.
Interest: hiking, skiing, camping, SAR, Canadian Rangers (army reserve)
Posts: 1,515

Great pics! Looks like a very nice hike..

Who needs a signature? Mine is always: Last edited by dougz; Today at 03:27 PM
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-13-2016, 12:03 AM
Off the Beaten Path
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Powell River, BC, .
Posts: 609

Thank you for the memories of a trip to Goat Rocks Wilderness many, many years ago. What a great place.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-15-2016, 02:29 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Abbotsford, B.C., Canada.
Interest: Hiking, Snowshoeing, and Photography. Enjoying the outdoors fresh air and fitness experience.
Posts: 17,919

This is surely a beautiful area, plenty of fantastic ridge walking. Love this area, and enjoyed your photos.


Hiking is what keeps you young of mind and heart. When the going gets tough, the tough get going..............
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