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Goat Island Mountain Trail is a 8.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Paradise Inn, Washington that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September.

Distance: 8.7 miles Elevation Gain: 3,868 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

bird watching

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

over grown

rocky

scramble

off trail

no shade

no dogs

hiking
8 months ago

Very difficult. No trail for 90% had you'll get lost in the woods easily.

hiking
bugs
no shade
off trail
over grown
9 months ago

This trail was definitely not what I expected. We did this trail as a counterclockwise loop, starting with the NE ridge of Goat Island Mountain. I do recommend going this direction if you want to hike this as a loop. Going down that ridge does not seem like it would be fun. There is a game trail about 20 feet south of the ridge for a good portion of the climb, we took that where it looked like it paralleled the ridge, and bushwhacked where it didn't, only to see the trail return to the ridge later. This part was definitely strenuous, but it was about what I expected. Not many views along this section of the route, but the few that there are are nice. There are lots of old growth trees hiding in the forest here, and we observed a lost of different kinds of mushrooms. There is one area where the forest seems to be full of burl covered trees, which was pretty interesting. Eventually, we broke out into a meadow full of gorgeous lavender red brown, and bright orange butterflies butterflies. Near the top of the ridge, we made a navigation error, and ended up higher on the ridge than we should have. Now here's where it gets interesting. Most of the published routes for this loop have you goings south, through a gully to the next ridge. Reports are conflicting about where to do this. We made it to about 6400 feet and realized that we couldn't go any further, so we turned straight down. Big mistake! The hillside is steep and loose there, and it took forever to pick our way down. Most people say to cut over somewhere between 5900 and 6200. On the other side of the gully, we were greeted by a steep, muddy elk trail, that felt quite unsafe, and incredibly difficult to get up on the second ridge. I have a different route from a friend, where instead of traversing the gully, he went through the bowl to the north of this ridge at about 6170 feet, and then up the side of the first ridge and over to the second directly, near where they meet. Looking down on this bowl from near the summit, this looks like a much easier route than the typical "cross the gully" route, and merits further investigation. Anyhow, on the second ridge, once you reach a meadow (sadly not a great place to rest as it was infested with thatching ants, which do bite!), the best route is to keep just below the treeline and follow this ridge/meadow until it turns into a pumice field, and then continue staying just below the trees to the summit. This part is not that difficult, though it will be in full sun and you will already be exhausted from the first part of the hike. The views of the Cowlitz Chimneys are definitely the highlight of this segment. Anyhow, upon reaching the summit, we were greeted with a stunning view of.... Clouds. That's right, the forecast called for a mostly sunny day, but from shortly before we hit the summit, until after nightfall, we were under near total cloud cover. The mountain did feel sympathetic and peek its head out for a brief view, but most of the mountain was still obscured, and we never got to see the glacier. At any rate, due to the terrain being more difficult than realized, and our navigational error, we were hours behind schedule at this point. We began the descent of the ridge, and realized there was no way we were going to make it off of the mountain by nightfall. Great. Fortunately, we thought, the downhill part of this hike should be easy. We were wrong. A good portion of the time is spent picking which rocks to step on as you walk along a steep ridge. There is an intermittent goat path, and where possible I highly recommend following it. At some points, you have no choice but to go through the trees, which at night is a real treat when it comes to route finding. We eventually came to a nice spot, right at sunset. It was a relatively flat spot, with a nice soft pumice and dirt surface to walk on, and the one place on the trail with 4g service, which we used to update our friends on our status and revised ETA. This would have been a great place to set up for the night and sleep (cell service and a huge battery pack, what more do you need?), but the one essential that we didn't bring on this hike was shelter, and there was no wood nearby to make a fire. Put this in the "never again" bucket, thanks. Finally, we reached the point where you have to go down a meadow to a dry creekbed. There is ostensibly a way fairly straight down the meadow, but we couldn't find it, so we followed the trail to the creekbed. This creekbed is steep, and the slopes on one side or the other are covered in loose scree. SOmetimes it's best to stick to the creekbed, other times going to one side or the other is better, but in all cases it is steep. Near the end, we stuck to the ridge between this creek and fryingpan creek, which was mostly small trees and brush. Near where the 2 joined was one of only 2 markers on the entire trail. Having read a number of reports of people crossing fryingpan creek without getti

running
Sat Aug 18 2018

I uploaded a handy YouTube review (just search for "Goat Island Mountain, Rainier" on YouTube. Or if AllTrails allows clickable links, here you go: https://youtu.be/EF6HCdKxCFU ). It's filmed from the top and talks about the trail. Most of this trail is off the beaten path, and if you’re not comfortable with route-finding you should not do it. It is definitely NOT a moderate trail, as you will see it rated. It is quite difficult, albeit wildly rewarding. Biggest recommendation: I would not make this a loop when we do it next time. The descent (or ascent, if you’re doing it backwards from us) is through very steep, sketchy brush with no trail. Even following other’s recordings, it was not cool. You will slip, and of course you’ll catch yourself, but you will get cut up. Before warned if you are as stubborn as we were and thought, “I don’t want to backtrack! I’m just going to drop straight down to the car! No problem!“ Just look at the recordings and you will see how quickly you drop down to the trail head from Goat Island Mountain Ridge. If there was an established trail, it would not be so bad. With that said, this is an absolutely stunning trail, once you’re on the ridge. The view of Mount Rainier is absolutely unobstructed. You can see the mouth of frying pan glacier turning out mass of waterfalls that rival the Lord of the Rings Middle Earth. I would simply start at the frying pan Creek Trail head and go up towards Summerland. Right before the trail peels off to go up to Summerland, you simply hop down and follow frying pan creek up towards the mountain. You will eventually find a dry creek bed (summertime) if you stay to the right of the frying pan creek on your way up. Follow the dry creek bed up a steep section, picking your way through meadows. Once you are on the ridge line, simply follow it straight up. Every once in a while you will find an established trail (boot pack) and if you find yourself tangled up in trees, keep pushing through and in 60 seconds you will find yourself back on the open ridge. You will know you are at Goat Island Mt when you find the boulder the size of a small barbecue with a 1982 earthquake research benchmark on it. There are surrounding peaks 200 feet higher (see YouTube video), which you are welcome to walk 5 minutes up those to get an even better view of Mount Adams and even the Sunrise parking lot. If you’re feeling tempted to drop straight down the ridge line back to the frying pan creek trail head, you are not alone. I think everyone thinks it’s easier then backtracking. I’m pretty sure that’s why this trail is considered a loop (see first recording) instead of an out and back. Overall this is an absolutely stunning trail that is an absolute must for those who don’t mind a rather difficult, half marathon distance hike. Sidenote: The person who rated this trail 1/5 stars did not actually do this trail. You will see according to her recording, she actually went to Summerland. Sidenote #2: this is not a “moderate“ hike. It should definitely be rated “difficult.“

hiking
Mon Aug 28 2017

Not an actual trail. I guess one basically has to find himself through the thick forest. So it was frustrating to hike for me not having any experiences hiking in this NP.

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
Fri Aug 17 2018

hiking
Sat Sep 07 2013