Snowgrass Flats and Goat Lake Loop Trail

HARD 242 reviews

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

snow

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.

The trail is completely snow covered. At the ridge the snow depth is up to knee height. We only saw 3 other people on the trail. Not easy to navigate given there are no footsteps to follow .... Must have GPS or other orientation tools. We were totally not ready for snow and hiked it in tennis shoes which made the hike much more challenging ...

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

We hiked this trail during a 100% chance of rain day and the weather forecast proved accurate! It was pretty miserable with wind and heavier rain when we reached goat lake (no goats!), which was shrouded by fog. A blast of wind came in and voila, we had a 1-minute view of Goat Lake. We decided to wait and have “lunch” once we descended into more forested tree areas, but had to move quickly since it was getting quite late and the weather wasn’t any closer to improving. Continuing on, the clouds moved away a little to give us broad views of how high we had “climbed” on the hike, but then quickly moved in again as the weather again deteriorated. I thought we were getting out of the wind as we began our “descent,” into a meadow-like area, but that proved untrue. I was unable to relate our exactly where we were along points of the trail because of the visibility, which diminished because of heavy fog for a bit as we hiked around Goat Lake to drop into the basin(?). But, at least we were able to see and stay on the trail. There were many rocky, unstable places lined with varying sizes of slab-shaped rocks and several stream crossings with large, stable rocks for footing to keep from getting boots in the streams. The trail is not wide once one starts getting to the more exposed areas of Goat Rocks. Anyone tiring out by this time should watch their footing, being careful not to slip on loose rocks and falling over the edge. The drop off is fairly steep. The trail was very muddy in several places, with areas of standing water, but overall in good condition. There seemed to be more ascents than descents, and several ascents were killers. Surprised to see many western pasque flowers, pearly everlasting remains, but this hike was mushroom heaven throughout the forested parts of the trail. If it weren’t for the excellent hike leader, mostly great, fun, and funny group of peers who were in the same boat with me on this hike, no bugs, no 85F degree weather and many unusual-looking small and large mushrooms (and of course, beautiful trees), I would have given less stars on this review. Plan is to return to hike this trail in better weather conditions to see the predicted views, wildflowers and animals.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

What a great hike this is! It is definitely a “hard” one, since the paths are super rocky and steep. I was really content with my walking poles, both for the climbing as the descending. Definitely one of the harder ones I’ve hiked so far. But worth it! We hiked counterclockwise, starting at the Snowgrass trail. I was really glad we hiked this way because the second half (Goat Ridge trail) has way much nicer views and paths so this made the second half not that hard ;-) The Snowgrass trail is mostly forest which is nice too, but the great views start when you enter the Lily Basin trail. If you do a loop an option could be to hike Goat Ridge/Lily Basin up to the Goat Lake and go back the same way. We saw a lot of ground squirrels and marmots, however not so many goats (which I expexted because of the name “ Goat Rock Wilderness”). And of course many wild flowers. Note: the distances provided seemed to be “a little” off; all our GPS devices said we hiked 26 km instead of 19, so that’s an extra 7 km (4 miles). That was a real bummer if you think you’re almost there ;-) Took us about 8,5 hours (including many photo stops and breaks).

hiking
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

Pounded out the hike in a day. Arrived 8am Saturday, already packed with cars. Easy enough to find parking though. Tackled the most aggressive section first and appreciated going into autopilot for the remaining 6 miles. Done by 4:30pm. Needs more goats.

hiking
no shade
4 months ago

Completed on Sunday 9/1. Turned left onto NF-21 from Highway 12-West, there is a 16.4 miles washboard drive to the Snowgrass Flats trailhead. It's manageable though. Got to the trailhead by 8am. Already a lot of cars, most of them are from overnight backpack campers. I hiked clockwise. So shortly after getting on Snowgrass Trail #96, I took the shortcut from trail #96A to Berry Patch trailhead, which connects to Goat Ridge Trail #95. This way the heavier elevation gain happens on the first half of the loop, when coming back, it will have more decent descendant and it saves time to go back to my car after a long hike. Also, #95 leads to trail split between Hawkeye Point and Lily Basin Trail #86 faster while you still have the strength. And I would recommend going up to the point to take a wholesome view of the Goat Lake from the top. Per map, it will add about 1.6 miles on your trip back and forth. Coming back from Hawkeye Point, get on Lily Basin Trail #86 to Goat Lake. Believe it or not, a lot of wild flowers are still blooming at this altitude. No bugs but needs a lot of sunscreen. The lake is so crystal blue, you cannot photograph out the blue but to see it in person. Spotted a pack of 8 mountain goats resting on mountain side. Continue on #86, Mt. Adams opens up from the clouds in the view almost the whole way up to Snowgrass Flats. Trail #86 is circling around Mt Adams in the far south, so it will be visible either you hike clockwise or counterclockwise. Didn't have time to get on PCT, it seems to take forever on the way back from Snowgrass Flats Trail #96. Got back to trailhead by 6:10pm. What a day! Overall, it's a great day hike; yet for an average hiker, I'd have to admit that this will be heaven for backpackers to stay overnight and enjoy the views in a bit more time and relaxing mode. Nonetheless, the view is splendidly beautiful, the lake, the alphine, the mountain range and the far view of Mt. Adams. You will not be disappointed.

hiking
5 months ago

amazing scenery & gentle grades. one of my favorite hikes of all time

backpacking
5 months ago

One night backpacking trip with my 9-year old on 8/24 and 8/25. Great trip. Did the trail counter clockwise and spent the night at Goat Lake. The available places were fairly picked over when we arrived at about 5 pm, but we found a nice spot. Had to be a bit creative for the tie downs because of the exposed bedrock, but it worked out just fine. The from Goat Lake back to Berry Patch wasn’t as scenic overall, but was still still beautiful.

hiking
5 months ago

Backpacked this trail 8/24. Started at the snow grass flats trailhead and camped over night prior to getting to goat lake. Took the ridge line trail out and it was beautiful! Saw mount rainier the whole way out and the views were spectacular. The hike was decently hard, but doable.

hiking
5 months ago

Totally epic hike! Beautiful views and fun trail. We did a backpacking 2 day excursion. I would say if you want to do this trail and aren’t planning on going off to old snowy then instead of doing the loop I would do a out and back on goat ridge to goat lake. Snow grass was cool, but the goat ridge portion was amazing.

hiking
bugs
5 months ago

I’ve done a lot of hikes/overnights and this is one of the most beautiful. We spent the night by the lake and were treated to such a spectacular sunset and stars like I’ve never seen. Did the trail clockwise to get the elevation out of the way first. Went up to Hawkeye for breakfast and I think I’d maybe stay up there next time, definitely worth exploring that little spur the view of Rainier and Adams is epic. So many wildflowers and wildlife! We saw pika and marmots and mountain goats and a pine marten. At lower elevation / when the wind isn’t blowing the bugs are pretty bad but that’s the small price you pay for getting to experience this amazing and special place.

hiking
5 months ago

Gorgeous wild flowers, lots of goats and marmots. Doesn’t get any better; you get a good lunch and heart workout and then beautiful fields to reward you.

wonderful hike. wildflowers were outstanding. great views.

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Great overnight backpacking area. Started at the second trailhead and hiked clockwise up goat ridge. Steady uphill climb the whole way but nothing too steep. Great views of Mt Saint Helens and mountains to the west on the way up. We camped for the night at Goat Lake. The sunset looking down the valley towards Mt Adams was incredible.

Overnight trip with my sisters. Started clockwise and highly recommend that route! Even though it had some good elevation gain, it had tons of flats to rest in between. So many gorgeous wildflowers right now! We made camp just above the lake and then did light packs up to Hawkeye which was just a tiny bit of a scramble. Great alternative camp sites on the way up to Hawkeye. Goats dotting the hillside were fun to watch. Beautiful evening with a colorful sunset on Mt Adams and stars galore. Highly recommend this backpack!

Goat Lake hike day #2

Beautiful but crowded!

hiking
6 months ago

An epic day of hiking far more exhilarating than exhausting despite the 12+ miles.

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked 12.1 miles. Phone battery was weak so had to turn phone off. I turned phone on to check position and take and record pics. It took 6 1/4 hours overall. Wish I knew how to go back and edit the hike to reflect real time. Started at 11:30 and ended at 5:45.

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