Goat Lake Trail

MODERATE 237 reviews

Goat Lake Trail is a 10.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Darrington, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

10.6 miles
1,732 feet

dogs on leash





nature trips

trail running






wild flowers




old growth

over grown


Please be aware that there have been reports of bear sightings in the area.

1 day ago

Took this hike this past Sunday, the hike was very beautiful and the dense canopy provided necessary shade in the hot weather. I got to the trailhead at around 3:00, and reached the lake via lower Elliot by 5:30. I ate dinner near the lake and took in the beautiful views, and left the lake around 6:00. I reached the parking lot via the lower Elliot at 7:45 (last car in the lot), but the trail was getting very dark, fast, due to the trees. I did spot two piles of fresh bear poop on the trail and a very large paw print, so that sped my walk back quite a bit. Overall, a very nice hike, I would recommend getting to the trailhead at no later than noon to leave enough time to enjoy the walk, the views, and the lake.

3 days ago

Got there on a Sunday morning around 815 and there were plenty of parking spots available. We took upper Elliot both on the way up and down and got in 11 miles. No bear to be seen! It definitely warmed up by the time we got back to the cars, so bring plenty of water, or there’s plenty of sources for filtering water if need be.

5 days ago

Its a very good hike it’s not that hard I really liked it

11 days ago

We came down from BC to do this over the weekend! Got a late start (6:45) - we took upper Elliot trail on the way up and it took us 2hr15min. Got there just in time to watch the sunset behind the lake and find a spot for our tent before dark. It was busy but no problem finding a place to camp. We took lower Elliot on the way down and it was nice walking by the creek (1hr 45 min).
We didn’t see the bear !

13 days ago

Great hike! We didn’t see the bear. We climbed up to the top and went swimming in the lake. Seven chipmunks came and visited us and ran all around. We took upper Elliot up and lower Elliot down. I thought both trails were super cool and would recommend doing both.

14 days ago

I hiked this on 07/04/18. I got to the trail head around 7 am. I reached the lake around 9:30. I took Upper Elliot to the lake and Lower Elliot back. I didn't encounter the bear or mountain lion. I was early enough that I had the lake to myself and I passed a few hikers on my decent.

15 days ago

Goat Lake is a beautiful hike! I have been wanting to come here for a long time, and would definitely do it again!
On the way up, you are met with a choice of taking either Upper Elliott or Lower Elliott trails. I would definitely recommend Upper Elliott both ways, or at least Upper Elliot to go up. The Upper Elliott trail is mostly flat, with gradual include, and mostly dirt trail. You’ll run into some water crossings of streams, but it is definitely the better option of the two trails. The trail is not marked well. When you get to a point where you’re not sure where to go - stay to the left!!! Once you’re finally there, the views and scenery is just gorgeous!
On the way down, we took Lower Elliott. It was very rocky, lots of roots, up and down inclines/declines, but for a stretch did have the roaring river over the boulders to see. If I go again, I am definitely taking Upper Elliott both ways.

Beautiful hike, is mostly covered by trees on either trail you take. Bring bear spray (just in case), bug spray, and dry cloth in case you’re brave to wade or jump in the lake at the top!

16 days ago

Great hike, killer views up at the lake. Was carrying a 40lbs pack and indefinitely recommend the upper trailbon the way in and the lower trail on the way down. Elliot the bear was in our camp the night before and was up the hill from us watching what we were doin. Never came down to our knowledge. Great overnight spot.

17 days ago

Great trail, we took Upper Elliot on our way up and Lower Elliot on our way down, which was the best thing to do. Trail gets steeper and a little challenging for inexperienced hikers on its last 2/3 miles. The lake is amazing and the view is totally worth the hike. Unfortunately it was raining, but I’ll definitely go back when the weather is nicer. We heard a bear on our way up, so beware.

We got there around 9am on a Sunday and the parking lot was already packed. Make sure you get there early.

17 days ago

Great trail with a wonderful view. Started the hike around 1pm and took Upper Elliot on the way up which is definitely the way to go. It is a more gradual incline. We took Lower Elliot on the way down which was steeper but was a much more scenic view. Once we got to the lake, we walked along it to find a spot to sit and relax. There were plenty of small access points which offered everyone to have a small private beach. The lake was stunning.

19 days ago

The trail is very well maintained and the views are unreal. The hike itself isn’t too hard incline-wise, but it’s all of 11 miles round trip. The lake is stunning - worth all of the miles. Treat yourself to these views.

22 days ago

Important: Rangers were handing out citations like Halloween, so make sure you have the northwest forest or America the Beautiful pass. The discover pass doesn't count and will get you a ticket.

About the trail, it is in a great condition, I did the lower trail to the lake and upper on the way back. Its a simple hike about 10 miles round trip, depending on your gadget it might vary a bit.

Not a lot of people on Sunday, there were a few at the lake. Loads of parking near the trail head.

Water level seemed lower as compared to prior years and a lot more cloudier, but the first view of the lake & the mountains, just makes it all worthwhile.

25 days ago

Great hike with beautiful sites along the way...waterfalls, forest, meadows of alders and wildflowers. The gravel road had potholes but I navigated it with a small car. The parking lot was full at 8:45 am on a Saturday so others started parking along the road. The trail was in great condition. We took the lower trail on the way up and the upper trail on the way back. We did not see "Elliott" the bear but did see some scat on the trail. The lake was gorgeous even though it was foggy and we could not see the mountain range. This is a very popular trail and we passed a lot of people coming up when we headed back.

26 days ago

Fantastic hike, really well maintained trail and amenities. Did the upper trail today and it was just great. A few small creek crossings though, so waterproof shoes are recommended but not necessary. Beautiful lake/mountain combo, one of the best I’ve seen. Definitely recommend camping too since it’s so nice up and there are many solid places to set up camp. Seemed much less crowded than Lake 22 and other hikes in the area. Parked right out front with spots to boot. Would give it 5 stars if there were more epic mountain views on the way up—it is mostly a forest view til the end.

1 month ago

It looks like something from a movie - really pretty!

1 month ago

Goat Lake was an amazing hike! I took the upper trail to the lake and the lower trail back down. both trails were in good condition. It’s 11 miles round-trip but very scenic. Slight elevation in the first 4 miles however the last mile takes some work. Beautiful place to camp overnight or hang out for the day. Saw some bear scat but never saw the bear.

1 month ago

First of all no black bear Elliot sightings we were warned by the ranger an aggressive bear was on the loose. The parking lot was packed which we expected. We took the lower Elliot trail to the lake. It was wonderful well kept and we had it mostly to ourselves which was surprising. The lake and mountains were stunning we sat lakeside to eat lunch honestly everything I’d hoped! Lived up to the hype! . We were surrounded by mosquitoes I’m sure after this week of warm weather it will be worse. We decided to take the upper Elliot trail back for the full experience. Not much for views felt like a road and it was much longer.

1 month ago

This was a great hike, signs mentioned an aggressive bear, we didn’t encounter it. Took lower trail up and upper trail on the way back. Both have great views and the lake is awesome. Lots of mosquitoes at the lake. We went on Saturday and it was heavily used, lots of people but was a great day.

trail running
1 month ago

Lots of fun. Technical in spots. Warning of aggressive bear at campground at the lake, so we brought bear spray and a bell. Didn't see any bears. It was coldish and rainy but beautiful all the same. No problem with bugs.

There's a rootball with an orange ribbon. If you spur 100yds to the right, you get a great view of the falls.

Ranger warned of car break ins at the lot so take any valuables.

1 month ago

We hiked this trail on National Trails Day (6/2). Parking lot was full - the ranger said it was a record day for Goat Lake. The hike was great; I liked the upper trail better than the lower, at least for scenery and waterfalls. It’s also a nicely groomed trail with a gradual incline (decline coming back!). The lower trail is more twisty. I would do it again and bypass the lower trail entirely. The lake was so beautiful, it almost looked fake! We saw the sign about aggressive bear sightings, but didn’t see the bear. It was a crowded day, so he may have stayed hidden. Lots of people and dogs at the lake but the trails never felt crowded. Enjoy!

1 month ago

ATTENTION! We were one of the last people off the trail today and when we got done there was a black bear in the parking area. We quietly and quickly got in our car and as soon as we started the engine and started to drive he took off into the woods. Definitely not the scariest situation and thankfully our dog didn’t bark and get it’s attention. We did let a passing by ranger know on our way out because there was another family behind us and he informed us that there had been previous sightings a few days before. So keep that in mind. Other than that the hike was long but very easy and mostly flat with beautiful scenery along the way, and the lake is breathtaking!

1 month ago

Awesome hike if you have the time. Can be tiresome if you totally new to hiking but worth it. The lake itself is absolutely beautiful and on top of that you get Elliot Creek Falls on your way up. Great little streams on your way up as well. I’ve heard the bugs are bad but if you go early enough you won’t notice a thing. It’s also early in the year so that could have something to do with it as well. Good luck everyone!

4 months ago

It’s a long hike but the lake is beautiful. The water reflects the surroundings and it looks like a mirror.

9 months ago

Love the view! Long but easy, mainly flat trails. Waterfalls along the upper trials are a plus. A lot of space to relax, unwind & take in the amazing lake.

10 months ago

- Mid way the trial is relatively flat and easy
- Dog friendly
- Waterfall pit-stop

- A lot of bugs (highly recommend bringing good bug repellent)
- We couldn't find the lake because we lost the trail after the waterfall
- First and last part of the hike has a lot of climb

Overall for someone like me who has only hiked twice this summer this was a decent hike. It was a little disappointing not getting to the end but we were still satisfied with the waterfall. Our black lab definitely enjoyed himself at the waterfall. I would go again just so I can reach the lake.

10 months ago

Amazing trail , did the hike this morning with my wife . It was a fantastic experience

11 months ago

Great spot, a well used trail. Watch for the mice at the campsite and in the carpark. They will get into your car if there is anything edible in there. Same goes for the campsite, use a sealed container as they will chew through bags etc. even when hung.

11 months ago

great hike went up Thursday left my car unlocked with nothing in it no problems. really clean outhouse at the trail head took the lower trail and it was nice follows the river. cross a few streams. near the end the trail gets a little steep for the last mile but not too bad about 4 or 5 switchbacks and you're there. pretty waterfall, beautiful lake, nice
camping area and toilets. bugs were minimal but I used bug spray anyway. clear sky under the stars and the moon lit up the lake too

11 months ago

This hike was killer! What a wonderful day we had! The worst part was the flies, they were so bad and irritating, especially at the edge of the lake! The water was SO chill and refreshing though, I jumped in 3 times! :) Ran in to about 10 groups throughout the day, everyone was super great and my pups were off leash the whole time, we only saw 1 other dog and they all played, it was nice! At the first split we took the lower falls trail and found out it's a lil faster! You come to the falls first and they are gorgeous and powerful! Right up the hill a few hundred more feet is the stunning lake! It's Aug 6th and the Canadian fires are burning bad, so the air was very smokey, but made for eerie pics! Loved this hike, took us 6 hours round trip at a moderate speed, stopping of course to eat berries and let the dogs dip in to the river spots and cool down, then about a good hour at the lake! :)

11 months ago

Pretty easy hike and nice camp sites. Downside, a lot of rodents.

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