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Very easy hike with stunning views of the mountains. It’s like you’re in a little basin cove and the ice caves are beautiful! Took two dogs there and we loved all the waterfalls.

Beautiful trail enjoyed while I carried a two month old and my husband carried our two year old. Flat in the beginning on a gravel trail/boardwalk, several bridges over streams. Fairly easy hike up with about 200’ gain and beautiful view of the mountain, waterfall, and caves once you reach the top. The rangers at the top were very nice and available to answer questions. On the way back down stopped to let the toddler throw some rocks in the river. We will be back! Note that you need a NW Forest pass to park and the kiosk at the trailhead is not currently operational so stop at the Verlot ranger station on the way for a pass.

backpacking
18 days ago

A 50 lbs pack on this hike was a real leg burner but worth it. We camped 2 nights and 3 days. The downside is that we got stuck in a constant rain+wind storm for 2 days and couldn’t see more than 30 feet in front of us. The the views were of a gray cloud that we were stuck in. Upside, bears and bugs don’t like that weather so no run in’s, ha. I have an inReach Garmin and kept holding onto hope for Monday, our last morning, since the weather report kept updating at 0% chance rain. It did finally blow out and I’ll admit, seeing that happen was almost worth the storm. Once the sun finally pierced through the clouds, it was amazing. Then it took about an hour for the cloud cover to blow away and reveal why the North Cascades are my favorite. Photos don’t do it justice, you just have to come and see for yourself. Just don’t be a jerk, pack out what you pack in and no fires. The plant life up here is like a PNW rainforest. It’s gorgeous and there are also tons of wild blueberries around. We got to spend 3 hours exploring around which was great. We all had tent fever pretty bad and needed to stretch out minds and our legs. I’m just happy we were able to see the endless sea of Cascades before heading down. We were also stoked that we didn’t have to scramble down wet and muddy rocks. I will say that the scramble area is way longer than posted on here. It wasn’t constant but there were scrambles for the last mile. Some of them were so high that my full pack top touched what I was climbing. Trekking poles and hiking boots are a must, and not worn down hiking boots, you’ll need good outsoles. Also, the split from Barlow trail to Gothic Basin happens a little before what’s posted on here. The original trail is unsafe, looked like a tree fell through. They made a new trail to connect over, just follow the wooden sign that says “Gothic Basin” and ignore your preloaded maps. I use OnX, it lets you preload high resolution maps for offline use. They’re better than my Garmin maps. Definitely bring a bear canister or ursack. There was a warning sign saying they “strongly discouraged camping” at Barlow pass, which is the trail you begin on. Apparently it’s a bear hangout and the trial head where you park, bears have gotten into vehicles and aren’t easily scared off. So while Gothic Basin isn’t Barlow pass, they share the same parking and part of the trail and it’s still bear country. So be smart. Do your research and enjoy the view! It’s worth every bit of leg burn.

backpacking
19 days ago

We went on Sept 2nd for our honeymoon. The trail was great, rugged but definitely worth it!

First intentional day hike/fish excursion. a family of four and a little pup went for a day hike (really to fish) 1 mile seemed perfect for our first together & hope to have many more. This hike is listed at Moderate and I would agree, from the trail head it was 3 quick switchbacks then onto a bit more level hike/walk, it was dry so this was relativiely an easy hike, although a couple of us were huffing an puffing because a) were out of shape b) were ex-smokers c) it was about 65 degrees. Overall a great hike. Once we got to Independence lake we stopped to fish, this was the clearest most blue water I'd ever laid eyes on and yes, there were fish in the lake. We got quite a few hits & double hits from the fish whom were chasing rooster tails/lures like candy but wouldn't take em. Great hike, we will definitely be back here and continue to explore this great Northwest we have in our backyards.

Great runnable trail to an amazingly scenic lake if the sun is out. Most of the trail is through woods and the bushes along it rub you along the way. Important to note if certain plants give you rashes you may want to wear long sleeves. There is a great waterfall that comes off the lake in the woods. You can get to it by going a bit off trail and following the sound. It’s worth seeing. The trailhead is off Mountain Loop Highway however this highway turns into a dirt road with some large potholes so drive carefully as you’ll likely spend 30 minutes on the dirt road part. You’ll be 35 miles from the nearest gas station or cell service some plan accordingly. There have been bear sightings here too. I post photos of my hiking adventures on instagram under “adventuringKR”, which include some solid Goat Lake pics from a nice sunny day. Great place to camp.

Trail ran this today. Similar to what the other reviewer said, biggest regret was not bringing a tent. The basin is pretty awesome. Hard to describe and pictures don’t do it justice. Hike was smoke free, bug free. Super steep at times so be prepared to have your legs burning. Kind of like Mt . Si but 3 miles longer. First 2 miles are flat and easily runnable. Hiking poles and hiking shoes are a must. Trust me. I post photos of my hiking adventures on instagram under “adventuringKR”. One final note, this hike is 30 miles from cell service so download some offline maps and get a lot of gas before you get there.

hiking
20 days ago

Only regret is not bringing our tent. Take your time, and bring hiking poles if you’re unsteady on your feet. Plan on hanging out in the basin for a while!

Perfect forest walk!

Very nice and extra hard trail however well worth the view all the way to the lake

Okay hike with a nice lake at pay-dirt and a pretty rushing river along long parts to f the hike. Why only 3 stars? other mountain lakes in the same area are better and with easier access. While we enjoyed the hike, it’s not one we’d do again.

backpacking
23 days ago

Definitely a challenging trail. but not so hard that it wasn't enjoyable. The views and waterfalls were great going up the trail. The basin has panoramic views no matter where you set up camp.

hiking
24 days ago

This was a let down for both my wife and I. There is no reason for this to be marked as moderate. It’s more like “extremely easy” with only a few minor obstacles.

Trail type: The majority of the walk path is a very boring 10 foot wide gravel road.

Tip: Bring a trail bicycle. You can ride the entire way on a flat gravel road with only a couple areas where you will need to walk the bike..

Conclusion: If you plan to hike to silver lake or one of the other connected trails then you will have no choice but to walk this trail.
For anyone else as long as you aren’t expecting great views or a moderately challenging hike then it’s possible you might enjoy the long walk.

Nice Hike. An adolescent bear wandered up the trail while we were having lunch near the mid-point of the lake. We stood tall and made noise and, fortunately, it backed off and chose another route. Definitely our closest encounter with a bear, tho we were intent on eating and weren't making a lot of noise before it came upon us.

Would hike it again, probably skip lunch at the lake.

One of the more challenging hikes I have done. My only gripe is someone had their boom box on at the first lake and it was rap echoing across the hills. Ugh. A hike behind us asked them to use ear buds. Thank you!!

backpacking
27 days ago

My wife, 120 lbs German Shepherd, and I did this hike. We took upper Elliot the way there (~6.2miles) and t was generally flat, slight incline until about the last mile or so. If you stay on the trail and don’t get distracted by the first waterfall, it’s switchbacks the rest of the way up. However if you get off trail, you likely follow the trail of ‘travelers-lost’ and likely go straight up adding a ton of incline. We did the upper Elliot in about 3.5 hours with back packs.

The lake is worth every bit of the walk. You’re not allowed to camp as close to the water as you would like, but the designated camping area is nice, well-used making most of the sites flat for sleeping.

On the way out we took lower Elliot and it was about ~4.6 miles and that took less than two hours. Much better views than upper Elliot. Many wonderful waterfalls and sounds of water flowing down the river.

This was my wife’s first backpacking trip and she loved it.

hiking
28 days ago

I did this hike last Saturday. Very strenuous and very very smoky. I don’t think this hike is worth doing until the smoke from the fires in Canada has cleared. Once they have I’m sure it would be a worth it to hike. Be prepared tho!! This hike was recorded for 14.5 miles.

backpacking
28 days ago

Perfect quick overnight trip. if your taking someone who is relatively fit on a first backpacking trip, this would be a great option.

Very easy hike. Beautiful scenery once you get up to the caves. I've hiked it twice in the last 3 weeks.

Great for a family trip!

backpacking
1 month ago

It was a fabulous backpacking trip. we only stayed one night but it was just right amount hiking. Took my 70 lbs dog with me and he did just fine. we did see some bear tracks but no bear. the views are awesome! well worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

Easy hike for kids with an amazing view. This was my niece's first hike (3 years) and she did well, but tired by the end. The rangers at the top were great about answering questions and explaining to my kids how the caves formed and why they were dangerous. Please listen to all the signs and do not go inside!

backpacking
1 month ago

Went up to Gothic Basin this past weekend and is sad to report back that almost every single campsite had a fire pit in a location where fires are prohibited. We disassembled some of them but was frustrated and angry to see that people have no respect for these fragile places that we are so lucky to go and for LNT principles. Please educate yourself before heading out there and leave places better then when you found it.

We did this hike today and it's beautiful. The first cave is easily accessible however the others require little effort but worth it. There was a water curtain due to a small water fall behind the cave in the last one. It was worth taking the effort to go up till there. We actually entered and experienced the cave from inside however one of the cave, which was small and fragile collapsed right behind us, be careful and don't risk.

backpacking
1 month ago

This trail absolutely destroyed my legs, went camping for 2 nights, Gorgeous scenery, but do not let the "light scrambles" confuse you. There were some parts where I should have hiked in a ladder. All in all the hike is beautiful but a very very strenuous all uphill/rock climbing hike

We did this hike on July 29th. This is an easy hike that our 3 year old can easily walk himself. Even though it’s a short hike, I still recommend bringing water. A great place to pack a picnic.

Beautiful hike. Well maintained "manicured" pathway that's friendly to visitors of all abilities including kids on strollers. Trail ends near the caves and many will go off the trail to get close at their own risk.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely loved this hike! Took Lower Elliott on the way up and Upper Elliott on the way down. Lower had beautiful scenery and soothing water sounds. The last mile of the hike is the toughest part and the trail gets a bit confusing but the lake is worth every bit. So beautiful, great for a swim and plenty of trees for your hammock ;) The waterfalls near the lake were equally breathtaking! We went later in the day on a Sunday and ran into very few people, even at the lake. Upper is perfect for the way down because it’s majority downhill. As mentioned in another review, make sure you have the right pass because they’ll get ya. I will 100% be coming back here.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, good views, and fun rugged terrain that will challenge you. Trekking poles recommended for anyone doing this trail, especially for inexperienced hikers. This trail is a bit longer than the posted 9 miles due to the 3/4 mile walk from the mountain loop road to the trailhead.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice easy hike up and back in 4 hours.

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