Explore the most popular lake trails near Darrington with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

6 days 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.

This was a difficult hike but the views were amazing!

The pictures posted here only scratch the surface of how beautiful this hike is.

12 days ago

I do both lower and upper trail I like more the lower one batter view but what shack me is the huge water full hiding in the trail you will love it more of the lake

This was a great hike but it’s an ass kicker.
WARNING: As others have written, The trail distance info listed here as well as on the trailhead markers ARE INCORRECT!!!!
It’s exactly 4.2 HARD miles over Headley pass to the lake. Then another .7 miles to the summit.
Plan on 5 miles EACH WAY and spending the night at the lake is a good call.

Route finding experience is suggested but the trail is failed well marked with cairns on the boulder fields where it’s easy to get lost. While on the boulder fields keep your eyes peeled for these cairns and other hikers. We ran into several people who lost their way.

The trip was amazing but very crowded with helicopters & mountain rescue teams looking for the lost hiker.

14 days ago

It was an awesome hike! We took our young 5 year old and almost 7 year old and they agreed! The waterfalls on the way and the lake at the top was a perfect place for lunch! Can’t wait until they are a little bit older and we can backpack and tent it up there!!

16 days ago

It was quite a hike the way up there, but the view was definitely worth it! Took a dip in the cold water - felt amazing after the long hike :)

We went yesterday and had a lot of fun! We did both Upper and Lower Elliott. Lower is the more scenic one, but also a little more difficult, but I'd recommend doing both. It took us about 5 hours total, but we also hung out at the top for an hour or so. We did hear someone say they had seen Elliott the bear on the Lower trail, but sadly, or thankfully, we did not see him. The view is worth the hike and the trail itself is also pretty fun. I will say the road getting there could use a lot of work. We were in a Jeep, but I think any car could make it, just drive slow.

21 days ago

July 28, 2018: Great solitary hike!

Road in decent condition, passable by car.
No snow, but there were quite a few downed trees to hobble over. Other than the downed trees this trail is easily navigable, straight forward, but it is steep and ruthless and wooded right up to the end. The shady nature of this trail is welcomed on a hot sunny day!

We were on the trail for over 6 hours and passed not one soul, which I found odd since it was a gorgeous day.

Loved the lake, the waterfalls and the forest. Did not love the bugs.

23 days ago

A nice scenic easy hike with a great lake view and well-maintained trail. Take Upper Elliot if you want to skip the crowds, but Lower Elliot has better scenery. If you continue to follow the trail after you get to the lake for about a half mile it will get very dense and you'll need to do some easy scrambling, but you'll eventually pop out on a really nice flat rock overlooking the lake that is perfect to dive off of. Worth it? Debatable. Saw several trout come up to the surface to take flies, so if you're into fishing you might want to bring a rod! The black flies were pretty bad on the trail and around the lake when we were there a few days ago. Beware of the bear and everyone trying to get selfies for Instagram.

We didn’t hike it unfortunately. Bear was angerly breaking into the restroom yesterday. Boo.

24 days ago

Hiked this yesterday with my pup. You don't need a 4x4 to get there, but if you have a low clearance vehicle you're definitely going to scrape in a few spots. Don't let the distance and elevation fool you, this is a real hike. I recorded 13.9km round trip, which is over 50% more than the distance listed here, I think the distance listed here goes straight through a lot of the switchbacks. I guess I wasn't paying attention in the beginning, because when I came to the 4th stream crossing I continued the trail along the creek for a little bit until it got really dense and clear that it wasn't the route. Make sure that when you get to the 4th stream, you drop down and cross it on the easy log crossing. The rest of the trail was easy to follow for me, but I can understand how people get lost in the boulder fields. The GPS route from OpenStreetMaps seems spot-on, so if in doubt, download that to your phone or watch before heading out. The trip up the snow was fine in trail runners with poles as there were already a lot of steps and the snow was quite soft, but if you do this early with a crust you will probably want microspikes.

Really excellent scenery the entire hike, but make sure to give yourself enough time to enjoy it. I think I did a decent pace and it's a solid 6 hour hike not including breaks. Spent 45 minutes on the peak to take some photos and hang out. Definitely one of my new favorite hikes in this area!

25 days ago

My husband and I loved this place! Totally worth the hike. Clear waters and beautiful mountains reflecting off the lake! Lots of shade along the hike and camp area. The hike up there was tough, as we were carrying heavy packs. A breeze going back though. You'll be hiking mostly along the water if you go the lower Elliot route. It's more scenic than the upper Elliot trail and about a half mile shorter! Lots of mosquitoes on the trail but not really at the lake or camp area. Lacks some signs toward the end, if you get lost by the water fall, back track and look for a trail on your right, it's very close. No signs of Elliot the bear! Saw some salamanders (:

This trail is HARD as stated. Its switch back after switch back. The views from the top make it well worth it and the satisfaction of achieving so much vertical gain. Lake is beautiful and is worth a overnight stay. Two different devices we had both clocked mileage closer to 11 round trip.

July 21, 2018: This trail is no slouch.
Road to the TH is your typical Cascade dirt road; leave your Aston Martin at home.
Several rushing water crossings in the first mile, each with a different method of traversing but nothing too crazy.
Once out of the woods the relentless climb starts, often over rocky, faintly established trails. The cairns never steered us wrong. The switchbacks at Headlee Pass in particular are just stupid steep.
The rocks eventually give way to snow, which was easy to navigate until the final giant slope just before the summit. It looks like it's every hiker for themselves at that part because there's no established trail; all the footprints go straight up, several different routes. Spikes and trekking poles would help here. The wife used both whereas I only used my spikes. We glissaded down, because why not.
Our view from the summit in one direction (I think ESE) was obscured by low cloud cover, which was a bummer given all the work it took to get up there!

28 days ago

This was a great hike! We did it last Saturday (7/14) and really enjoyed ourselves. The trail is extremely well-maintained and flat until the very end, where there’s a slight incline up to the lake. When you reach this part, there’s a fork in the road. We encountered several groups here debating over which route to take, as the trail isn’t clear. They went left, we went right. Left leads you to the trail and up some switchbacks, right leads you past a gorgeous waterfall and there’s a bit of a steep path that eventually leads you up to the trail if you’re willing to climb a bit (bushwhacking). It’s nothing crazy, but if you want to stay on the actual trail, I would go left. The lake itself is gorgeous—when you arrive there, keep walking for a bit past the crowds to find a more secluded spot. Pack a lunch and a raft if you want to hang out in the water. We saw several people floating and I was jealous we forgot to do this!

Like several others have mentioned, there were at least two bears in the area. We saw some fresh scat about a mile outside the lake, and then there was a small black bear wandering around the camp near the lake when we arrived. We didn’t see either, but everyone we talked to had. Bring some bear mace (and a bell if you like) and you should be fine!

1 month 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.

1 month 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.

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

Very miss leading. You have to hike Monte Cristo Trail before you even get there. Views were nice once there not so much getting there.

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 !

1 month 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.

1 month ago

hiked on 4th of July. great hike. trail still snow covered in places and a lot near the summit. crampons a help but not completely necessary. good time to do this one. spectacular panorama from summit!

1 month 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.

1 month 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!

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.

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.

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.

1 month 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.

1 month 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.

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