Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Backpacking: Goat Lake

Goat Lake

Location: Goat Lake, Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Dates Backpacked: July 8-9, 2017
Miles hiked 10.4 miles +
Elevation Gain: 1400 ft
Difficulty: Pretty Easy besides the distance

Cody and I originally wanted to backpack Eagle Creek in Oregon this weekend, but while researching the hike and overnighting camping spots, I called the ranger station and they advised that there was a wildfire going nearby and not to backpack in the area. So we came up with a backup and headed out to Goat Lake instead.

Cody and I left Seattle Saturday morning at 5:40 am for Goat Lake Trailhead. From reading the most recent trip reports, and seeing people's posts on social media, I knew it was going to get busy and crowded, so I wanted to get there as early as possible to snag a good camp spot. We got to trail head by 7:20 am, and there were already 12 cars there. But that's not that many compared to Sunday when we left and there were 50+ cars parked at trailhead and along the road.

Within the 1st 10 minutes of the hike, you hit a trail split, Upper Elliot, and Lower Elliot; both take you to the lake and are the same distance. So we chose to hike Lower Elliot to the lake, and Sunday we took Upper Elliot to the trailhead. Lower is more wet and forested, while Upper is more exposed and along a wider trail. It took us about 2 1/2 hours to hike to the lake and we only passed 1 hiker on the Lower Elliot trail. Once at the lake, we immediately looked for a good spot to set up camp. At this point it was a little before 11 am, and there were only 3-4 tents setup. So we picked a nice spot next to some bushes and good trees to throw up hammocks and pitched our tent. Then we headed to the lake to eat our lunch. You can keep hiking along the lake but the brush gets really dense and scratchy, and eventually we turned around after 20 min of hiking further in.

Cody and I headed back to our campsite after lunch and took long cat naps in our hammocks. We eventually woke up, and headed back to the lake for a quick swim. No fires are allowed at Goat Lake, so we made a hot dinner with my Jetboil. We tried Mountain House's Teriyaki Chicken this time and it was quite tasty! We also had a package of Curry Chicken ramen and that was delicious as well.

With the sun not setting until beyond 9 pm, and the sky not getting completely dark till almost 10 pm, you never realize how late it is until you look at your watch. We headed to bed shortly after dinner and called it a night.

Following morning, we slept in, ate breakfast, and packed up camp by 10:30 am. We got back to trailhead a little before 1 pm, and were amazed at how many cars there were when driving out! Glad we lost some sleep to snag a spot close to trailhead! Another great weekend with amazing weather!

Until next time Goat Lake!
Cody and I with our packs! 1 night, or 3 nights, it always fits lol
 Cody going up the trail
Pretty waterfalls on the way up
 Home is where you pitch it
 Not our tent, but the lighting seemed right
So many tents!
 About to stumble upon the lake
 Goat Lake is beautiful!
Log jam
Trying not to fall
I ALWAYS want to go swimming haha
Not cold not cold not cold...
 Hiking out
Informed by LoLo that these are wild fox gloves on the trail! So pretty!


  1. After hiking to Goat Lake a few years ago, I've wanted to return and camp to enjoy some of that early morning mountain stillness, but haven't wanted to deal with the crowds. Glad to see you were able to secure a good site by getting an early start!

    1. I think going during the weekdays if you can would help with avoiding the crowds!