Low Point: 4600'
High Point: 6500'
DirectionsFrom Trout Lake, Washington, drive north on Forest Service Road 23 as it passes Mt. Adams and eventually reaches Forest Service Road 21. Drive Forest Service Road 21 until reaching a side-road to the right at a sign for Conrad Lake (Road 2150). A couple miles out Road 2150, take the right hand fork to the Berrypatch trailhead (continuing straight continues a short distance further to the Horse trailhead). The trail can easily be reached from Packwood as well by driving 2 miles west on US 12, then turning onto Forest Route 21 and following this road 15 miles to Forest Service Road 2150.
Goat Lake sits in a hanging valley with views of the surrounding peaks, and the massive north face of Mt. Adams to the south, while the trail to the lake provides beautiful flower-filled meadows, waterfalls, and clear creeks. Best of all, this great scenery can be found on a nice loop trail, so a constant change in scenery continually gives the hiker new views to enjoy.
From the trailhead, walk a quarter mile to the first intersection. To start the loop trip clockwise, take a left at the sign and walk this half-mile trail past a small pond to the second trailhead. From there, the trail starts its fairly steep climb up the southern wall of Goat Ridge. The trail stays under the trees, so the hiking stays fairly cool, and improving views of the Mt. Adams to the south keep you hiking higher. After 2.5 miles, a side trail splits off and leads to Jordan Creek. Continue straight, as the trail soon crosses the ridge, with views to the north of Mt. Rainier and west of the decapitated summit of Mt. St. Helens. Beyond the crest of the ridge, the trail stays fairly level. The easy walking makes it easy to enjoy the increasingly alpine country near Jordan Basin, a great meadow at the head of the valley. Keep an eye out for lupine, paintbrush, shooting star, heather, and large quantities of red columbine which congregate around the many stall streams and ponds.
The trail briefly joins up with Jordan Creek as it enters Jordan Basin. With one series of switchbacks, the trail makes its final ascent up Goat Ridge and the first good views of the Goat Creek Valley and Mt. Adams to the south. At the top of the ridge, a side trail leads to Johnson Creek Canyon and Heart Lake. Stay right, as the trail slowly descends as it crosses numerous small creeks and waterfalls that cascade down the headwall of the Goat Creek Valley. After a half mile, the trail reaches Goat Lake, which can stay ice and snow covered well into August. There are several campsites near Goat Lake, and like any high elevation alpine area, campfires are prohibited.
To complete the loop, continue past Goat Lake as the trail swings along the eastern wall of the canyon. The meadows continually get better, with views of Hawkeye Point and Goat Ridge, as well as the very impressive waterfall pouring out of Goat Lake’s hanging valley. Numerous meadows and small waterfalls accompany the trail on its way to Snowgrass Flat, where the trail passes through some stunningly beautiful wildflower meadows. Many campsites dot the trail along this portion of the trip, so finding a campsite generally should be fairly easy.
Beyond Snowgrass, continue on the Lily Basin Trail as it descends towards the beautiful Goat Creek. Beyond the flatlands around the creek (which will have you swatting at the mosquitoes), the walking remains easy and fairly level for the remainder of the trip back to the trailhead.