Snowgrass Flats and Goat Lake Loop Trail is a 12.1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Packwood, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
12.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,742 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

A long hike into some very beautiful country and awesome NW vistas. If you love pristine wilderness and beautiful views of major mountains and broad green meadows, this hike is for you. Take 96 through Snowgrass Flats up to the PCT, then along the PCT until you can see Goat Lake. Hiking along the PCT beneath the Goat Rocks peaks is a real treat. Mt. Adams dominates the view to the south.

1 month ago

Incredible views and an incredible hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely stunning views, especially of the local snow-capped peaks to the southeast of Goat Lake and the valley to the south, as viewed from the section of the trail before arriving at Goat Lake (travelling clockwise). It's a long day hike, taking us more than 6 hours, but well worth it. One of my best hikes ever!

backpacking
1 month ago

absolutely amazing. spend a night if you can. after seeing the beauty went back to car, drove to walupt lake. put on backpack. hiked up nannie ridge trail, night at sheep lake and then back through cispus pass to snow grass. camping in cispus would be amazing but sheep lake was awesome as well. if coming from snowgrass hike to sheep lake for night. then back to snowgrass but follow pct to snow peak. that way you will see it all.

backpacking
2 months ago

Amazing hike with some awesome camping sites surrounding the lake. Just got back and we had absolutely no problems with mosquitoes or flies. Went up on a Friday and there were only a handful of people at the lake. We will be going back to this gem. Can’t beat the views at the top either.

backpacking
2 months ago

Whoever said this hike isn’t strenuous and is good for any skill level is trolling you. There is 1200 feet of elevation gain in the first 1.5 miles if you go clockwise from Berry Patch (or a terribly steep descent at the end of your hike if you’re coming from Snowgrass Flat). The ascent is pretty relentless until you reach the ridge, so I wouldn’t recommend it for brand new backpackers or anyone who isn’t in decent shape. Going out and back from Snowgrass Flat to Goat Lake would be an easier hike for those who can’t handle Goat Ridge.

Went Sept 2-3. Parking lot was overflowing but we didn’t encounter throngs of people until we hit Goat Lake (also saw goats!). I counted 20-25 tents around the lake. Other than the view, I don’t understand the appeal of camping there- it’s overcrowded, cold, and totally exposed to the elements. Found a better spot below the tree line. Didn’t encounter many people on the hike back and the parking lot was nearly empty— weekdays are definitely the way to go!

Spectacular hike, perfect weather (it gets cold at night- bring layers), no bugs, and still a few wildflowers in bloom.

backpacking
2 months ago

Beautiful Scenery and a great loop hike.

backpacking
2 months ago

A couple friends and I did this loop and added Old Snowy and Hawkeye Point onto it. Incredible views of Adams, as well as Rainier, Helens, and even Hood in the distance. We did the loop clockwise from berry patch trailhead over two days, camping at goat lake overnight from August 31-September 1. Didn’t see a single mosquito, probably because it was a little cooler, but comfortable hiking weather. The hiking itself is not strenuous and any incline feels very doable for any skill level, nothing technical. We were each carrying packs that were about 35-40 lbs. The views of Adams are just incredible. The whole hike above the tree line is basically worthy of a postcard from any direction you look. Stop to eat huckleberries in the meadows, and enjoy idyllic views of mountain goats grazing on the cliffs and marmots scrambling around in the meadows. I recommend planning a trip during off-peak traffic times so you can get a good camping spot at goat lake to watch the clouds settle in the valley in the evening and wake up to an incredible view of Adams in the morning. I strongly recommend adding Old Snowy onto your loop. It’s an extra 5 miles that felt like 2-3, and despite the elevation gain of about 2000 feet was surprisingly easy (I dropped my pack at the turn off and enjoyed a packless ascent up Old Snowy). It’s worth the effort to enjoy getting above the ridges and seeing numerous others peaks and into other basins and valleys. At a minimum tack on Hawkeye for a similar, view as Old Snowy. I recommend this hike to anyone starting at even the most basic skill and generally healthy fitness level. Oh, and fun to interact with some thru hikers on a little bit of the PCT.

hiking
3 months ago

As a follow-up to the review by PhLo S just below...my group went August 10-12. There were some flies and mosquitoes at the lower elevations, but nothing close to plague-level. As a precaution we wore long sleeve shirts and long pants, with the option to wear head nets. While hiking these precautions weren't really needed, but during rest stops the bugs can get annoying. The views at the upper elevations are amazing. This was one of the best hikes I have been on.

hiking
3 months ago

First off, DO NOT follow the directions on AllTrails! Take FR 21 instead of FR 48 and search for directions ahead of time from somewhere else as the ones here are horribly inaccurate (wrong forest road and not 9.5 miles, more like 20 once on FR 21). If it weren’t for the payoff when you make it up to Goat Lake, I’d have a hard time recommending this trail. I went counterclockwise to how Alltrails has you do it (I went through Snowgrass Flats then onto Goat Lake) and the first 4 miles are brutal but not because the trail is incredibly difficult, but because of the relentless biting flies and gradual ascent. I pushed through faster than I wanted and when I’d stop for a break I’d be covered in seconds by dozens of flies, none of them caring that I had 100% deet all over. So then you just keep going and by the time I made it out of the forest I was exhausted. Once you clear the forest, Snowgrass flats is great. Crowded, but beautiful and with plenty of water sources so no need to carry a lot of water if you have any way to filter. The last push up to the lake is absolutely gorgeous though a pretty steady climb. Once at the lake, madness; it was a Friday evening and there must have been over 50 people camping at the lake (including a tent city with 6 tents all clustered together) so I pressed on to Jordan Basin and found a spot to hang my hammock for the night. Easy 5 miles into the Berrypatch parking area the next morning and then the short connector back to the other parking lot. Overall it was worth it but I won’t come back until the weather has turned in the fall when I think the bugs won’t be an issue and the crowds will have died down.

backpacking
3 months ago

Three friends and I did an overnight along this route, staying near Goat Lake. The hike is absolutely miserable near the beginning and end due to plague-level biting flies that easily eclipse the also annoying mosquito infestation. A ways above the treeline all that junk disappears. The views and nice weather made up for the terribly buggy ascent and descent. We did the side trip up Hawkeye Point on our way back, well worth the extra effort. As the first evening approached, the clouds cleared off Mt. Adams. The view south from Goat Lake is amazing. The wildflowers were fairly abundant, especially near small streams. Keep in mind that standard insect repellent does absolutely nothing for the biting flies even if it keeps the mosquitoes from biting. Deet, Picaradin - no effect. Had I known, I would have read up on specific solutions for biting flies as they were far worse than mosquitoes. If you can tolerate wearing pants on a hot day, it will reduce the flies' annoyance at least a bit. Slapping your full body is harder, though it burns more calories. If you plan to camp, I highly recommend going on a weekday. It's a very popular and crowded trail. Maybe we saw over a hundred people total. Luckily we stayed Sunday night, so most of the weekend hikers were on their way down as we went up. If you are concerned about snow, as of August 6th there isn't any on the trail this entire loop route. There is a big, steep snow patch in the saddle going to the Hawkeye Point side trip, but there is a makeshift trail below and east of the snow to keep it safer. From Hawkeye Point we were able to see 28 goats to the northeast. Keep in mind they might be in the snow, in which case they blend in a bit. Bring a powerful lens (like 200 or 300 mm at least... aka 10x zoom+) if you want to get a decent photo of them.

backpacking
3 months ago

We planned our arrival in hopes that 830 at the trailhead would get us parking and avoid the crowds. We were right and wrong at the same time. The trailheads at West Parking and Berry Patch were both packed, but as it turned out, it was mostly day hikers.

The trail condition heading up Snowgrass Trail (We did the loop counter clock wise) was in great condition, and the bugs were only bugging us if we stopped. We were hiking with two dogs, and the bugs were more interested in them than us.

There were plenty of people on the trail, but almost all of them were day hikers in large groups. We saw maybe 5-6 backpacking groups (2-4 people) the entire way up. We stopped and ate lunch at Snowgrass before pushing on towards Goat Lake, where we intended to set up camp. The bugs were worse up in snow grass flat, but not unbearable and as the valley opened up the views made us completely forget it.

We ended up deciding to make camp about a mile shy of Goat Lake. I'm not one for crowds, and everyone was headed up there and we were early on the trail for backpackers. It ended up being a great call, as we found a nice shaded spot a little off the trail with a perfectly framed view of Mt. Adams and easy access to fresh water. Through my telephoto later that evening, I counted over 15 tents in the vicinity of Goat Lake.

The next day, we continued the loop, stopping for pictures and to let the pups play in the snow at Goat Lake.

The trail from a mile prior to Goat Lake, and about 3 miles after it is absolutely beautiful, but a little precarious for novice hikers, hikers with inexperienced dogs, and children. The drop offs exceed 1000 feet in places, and while the path is mostly in wonderful condition, there are sections that require a little more concentration, and they generally match up with those steep drop offs. Just a thought to consider when deciding how best to tackle this loop, or whether to just do an out and back on Snowgrass.

After crossing the ridge into Jordan Basin and following the long ridge-hugging trail down into the treeline, the trail slowly widens, the canopy thickens and despite a last minute climb before the 1.8 mile elevator descent to parking, the trail was very enjoyable.

Water is pretty available the whole loop, but the wooded section on the western part of the loop has only one good creek access, and the rest of the water is available above the tree line. Jordan Basin has a wide, cool stream to fill up in before your descent. We packed too much water in, considering the availability of fresh water throughout the hike.

For a weekend backpacking trip on this trail, I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of crowds, availability of camp sites and the friendliness of everyone on the trail. There were lots of dogs, lots of families with young kids and hikers of all ages on the trail.

3 months ago

This is a beautiful scenic trail. Unfortunately I ran out of gas about one half mile before Goat Lake. The views are amazing but I ended at 12 miles which was too much for me to day hike. I will have to try it again another day. A side note, the biting flies are insane, bring lots of repellent or you will be miserable.

backpacking
3 months ago

18.07.28 (Overnight)
The trail itself is in good shape and the spectacular views begin around 5 miles in. The trail was very busy, but not excessively so.
Bugs were an absolute horror until you get above the treeline, to the degree that even my 2 dogs were actually groaning and thrashing around in frustration whenever we stopped for water.
The lake is 90% frozen and there was still snow around Goat Lake, but solid ground could be found for tents. However, there were easily >30 tents crammed throughout the vicinity and campfires were in use by some groups despite very visible signage stating this was prohibited. In short, it was a zoo.
The gross misconduct by overnighters and general overuse of the area will unfortunately keep me away. Please, be respectful when you enjoy these beautiful trails.

backpacking
4 months ago

7/6/2018 Incredible loop, my son and I hiked in from Berry Patch trailhead to Goat Lake with an overnight at Jordan Basin. The second day we went up to Hawkeye Point in the morning, then trotted the 4 miles back from camp to Berry Patch in the afternoon.

There is still a lot of snow: Goat Lake was still frozen over, with melt along the edges, and the campsites there were still in snow. The way from the Bypass Trail to Goat Lake was about 40-50% over snow, but easily navigable, with many short snow bridges over the numerous runoff streams. The scenery is magnificent as you come out above timberline on the Lily Basin Trail after the Snowgrass veers east to join the PCT. Enough wildflowers were out to provide constant interest. Camp at Jordan Basin was beautiful, with a view south to Mount Adams and water at the doorstep; we were alone except for a solo camper and several marmots. A cold night with a bit of skim ice on the water when we awoke.

The morning hike to Hawkeye (about 1,000 vertical from Jordan) was beautiful, with one long snow ridge (again, easily manageable). From Hawkeye we had a magnificent view taking in Rainier, Adams, the tip of Hood, and Mount St. Helens, only this last shrouded in clouds. Goat Lake is directly below.

The trail back to Berry Patch is a pleasant gradual descent through Jordan Basin and then into forest. Really an extraordinary hike, strenuous but not desperate on the way to Goat Lake.

4 months ago

Loved it. Beautiful scenery all around! We went early September so we just missed the wildflowers, but it was still amazing.

hiking
5 months ago

6/16 - attempted to backpack this and there is more snow up there than I thought there'd be. 6+ ft of snow by the time you approach snow glass flats. More snow the further elevation you gain. Packed in pretty well, but we got hit with hard rain and the temp dropped quickly, so we hiked back out.

backpacking
5 months ago

I went in late July and I can say that this is not for the inexperienced hiker, but a great first backpacking trip. I've not seen anywhere more gorgeous than this place in my 10 years in the Pacific Northwest. The scenery is breathtaking and diverse and I've never seen so many colorful wildflowers anywhere else.

DOG OWNERS BEWARE: there is snow traversing and swift creek crossings where the snow has created a bridge over the creeks, so if your pup slips in they might not get out. I have small dogs and I highly recommend a Ruffwear harness with a handle so you can (gently) toss your pups over to the other side while keeping them leashed (and keeping the leash snug around your wrist), just in case they do stumble in (also don't rely on the clipped part of the leash to stay fastened if this happens, tie the leash tight to the harness, and honestly small rope is preferred to a leash in this scenario).

Don't miss the view at the Goat Ridge lookout but BRING BUG SPRAY. There are mosquitoes all over the place, especially at many of the campsites, but the mosquitoes at the Goat Ridge lookout were intense. Totally worth it though because the views are great and also a great place to set up shop.

backpacking
Monday, September 04, 2017

Did this loop with some friends in July. I want to do it again this month!!!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Crowded but worth the trip! Amazing views from Goat Lake.

hiking
Saturday, August 12, 2017

Did a day hike to Snowgrass Flats and almost to Goat Lake before having to return. The road is in good shape except for some washboard areas. Trail in good condition, but a fair amount of traffic for a Wednesday. Wildflowers are in full bloom.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

this was a amazing hike, makes you feel on top of the world, nice & clean little camp spots. its a must backpacking trip.

backpacking
Monday, July 24, 2017

This was a great hike!! Loved the views they where amazing!! Will definitely do this hike again!!

camping
Saturday, July 22, 2017

While you must cross a few snow patches, they are not a problem if you walk where others have walked. This is a gorgeous hike. I camped at Goat Lake (still frozen), where there are 5-6 very nice flat campsites nearby that have no snow. I also hiked on the Lily Flats trail up to the ridge above Goat Lake. Spectacular view from there of Mount Rainier, as well as views of St. Helens, Adams, and even the tip of Hood. One nice thing is, that though there are mosquitos at the trailhead, once you get about 1000 feet higher, there are none!

backpacking
Monday, July 17, 2017

Beautiful hike!!! We did there full goat lake loop + Old snowy. There are still many snow patches that was difficult to pass.

backpacking
Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I hiked the Snowgrass Flats loop in two days from 8-20-16 to 8-21-16.

I started from Snowgrass Flats Trailhead #96 and ended at Berry Patch trailhead #95, then took the connecting trail #96a back to the car. This is the typical hike and the first time I’ve done it as an overnight. It can be done in one day but it’d be along day.

As you’d expect, the parking at Snowgrass was about full for a Saturday morning at 9am. I like to count the number of people I see on the trail, and always loose track around 20. I was surprised by the number of people ending their hike on Saturday morning. Must have been around 10 or so before Snowgrass. That was encouraging since it meant the possibility of more sites.

Most campsites were taken even by Noon and it took a bit of searching to find one. I found one but it was very close to other sites. I didn’t want to camp in their backyard and opted to look elsewhere. After talking to a couple on Lily Basin Trail #86, I found on a site about half way to Goat Lake. That Saturday was 95 degrees and while there were trees, most were small providing minimal shading. The flies were out in force in the shade and made sitting annoying. Nothing some mosquito repellent couldn’t fix though. I was lucky enough to be close to a creek, so getting water was easy. The evening as warm and with no chance of rain didn’t use the rainfly.

The next morning was clear and cool (mid 70s), a nice change from the high 90’s we’ve had the days before. Luckily, the wild flowers were out and made an already stunningly gorgeous even better. Goat Lake had a quite a few tents setup and many people were leaving. That weekend was blue sky’s and clear and I was awestruck by the view from Goat Lake.

I was glad to see the most stunning field of wild flowers on Lily Basin Trail #86 between Goat Lake and the Junction of Goat Ridge Trail #95. Every color you could imagine. Blue, Red, Purple, Yellow, White. Jordan Basin was beautiful and there were no campers that I could see. Water is plentiful here as is most of Lily Basin Trial #86 from Snowgrass to Jordan Basin.

I was surprised to see a few campsites on Goat Ridge Trail #95 near Jordan Basin. I’ve never noticed them before. Goat Ridge Trail was different and nicer trail than I remember. Very nice with elevation gain, or decent in this case not too bad. I opted not to hike Goat Ridge Lookout trail and take to group who was considering it.

I made it back to the car about 2pm and talked to a family almost ready to start their 3 day hike. All and all, you can’t go wrong with this hike. Expect people and good views, even it if’s cloudy.

hiking
Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Saturday, 7-16-16, I hiked to Goat Lake on Snowgrass Flats trail #96 and Lily Basin Trail #86. I have never hiked this so early in the year and was concerned about the snow level. Previous reviews indicated a snow free trail so I decided to go.

As you’d expect, there were about 40 cars parked at the trailhead with room for more. The weather was partly sunny and warm, in the mid 70s and perfect for hiking. I only packed my day pack because I wasn’t able to get my backpack and gear ready in time. 30 minutes into the hike, I was sorry I didn’t have it.

I’d arrived at the trailhead late and most people were already on the trail. I talked with a small group at the TH and we leapfrogged a few times on the way up. Some people were coming down from overnights on Friday. Having such a light pack, about 20 lbs, I managed to pass a couple more groups with much heavier packs.

As the reviews stated, Snowgrass trail #96 was snow free and easy to travel. There were 5 blowdowns to cross over or around but easy to navigate. Despite all the cars, there really wasn’t that many people on the trail. I stopped at Snowgrass Flats for a small break before heading to Goat Lake. All the people I passed on the trail came up shortly after me and started scouting places for their tent. Most of the closer spots were taken and they spent a good long time finding somewhere. After the break, I headed up Lily Basin Trail #86 and noticed there were a lot of tents in Alpine camp and wondered where I would go if I had my tent. Wildflowers were out. Not as many as next month, but still a lot and pretty colors.

That’s about where I saw the first random snow crossing on the trail. A small creek with packed snow on it. Nothing to cross, just a few steps plus it was pretty well tracked out. However, these snow crossings became closer together and longer the closer you go to Goat Lake. Some of the creeks were fairly big with lots of packed snow. I found myself walking on snow bridges as water was melting the snow below. Care should be used on the snow bridges as they were getting softer with each crossing and soon will melt altogether.

Goat Lake area was covered in snow. More snow than not. About a 1/8th of a mile before the lake, the trail was on tracked out snow and easy to follow. Places were slippery as you’d expect. Goat Lake itself is frozen over but starting to melt on the south edges near it’s outlet. The trail from the outlet up to and towards Jordan Basin is covered with snow also. However, some people said it’s not that bad.

I had lunch at Goat Lake and could only spend about 45 minutes there before I had to go back. Despite the snow and the cars at the trailhead, it was a great hike!!! I would do it again and I’m sure I will before the summer is out.

backpacking
Monday, July 04, 2016

The trail was great, except the northern end of the trail (4.5 miles - 6.5 miles up the trail, starting from the Goat Ridge Trail head at Berry Patch) was covered in snow. The lake was completely iced over, too.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Life changing. Especially camping at night.

camping
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Awesome. Strenuous but worth it. With added side trips like a day on the PCT, we did 20+ miles in three nights. Almost no snow anywhere. Spectacular views of Mts Adams, St. Helens, Rainier, Goat Lake, and valleys like Jordan, Cispus, Packwood. Many, many campsites--not crowded despite high popularity on an August weekend.

hiking
Sunday, July 26, 2015

We left PDX at 9:00 AM on Sunday morning and started walking on the trail at noon. We encountered 42 individuals descending the trail (yes, we counted) on our way to the junction of the Snow Grass Trail and the Lilly Basin Trial. We camped there three nights. Originally, we wanted to camp at Snow Grass Flats, but we scouted the area and there was limited run-off and spring water, so we settled for the abundant water at the junction. Good news came in the absence of bugs: three mosquitoes in four days, but the biting flies were a mild bother. This was our dogs first backpacking adventure; it went well. We met a few other dogs on the trail, most were very pleasant, and all were respectful.

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