My son James and I headed out on our second overnight hiking trip of the year. Seems he survived the grueling hike to Copper Lake and was ready for more. I picked a less strenous hike (for both of us!) so we could enjoy the destination a little more. Goat lake is a popular Alpine Lake in the shadow of beautiful snow and glacier capped Foggy Peak Mt. (elevation 6772 ft).
View looking south
The hike starts with an early decision - go right and take the lower Elliot trail that travels along Elliot Creek, or go left and take an old logging road with steady, gradual ascent. The two trails connect back up about a mile before the lake. The upper trail is I believe a bit longer. The lower trail is a tradional hiking trail. We opted to go up on the lower trail and come back down on the upper, which seemed like a good choice.
The first part of the trail is through lumbered areas, but eventually we hit some old growth. But the highlight of the trail is definatelty McIntosh Falls, as it descends from Goat lake. Big, loud, and impressive - and right there at your feet, so watch your step.
The campsites are all located on the north end of the lake, right near those falls. You can only camp in this established area, and on a weekend I'm sure it fills up. But for us on a Sunday night we only had one other group to share it with. We set up camp after about a 2 hour hike, had lunch, and then walked the east shore 2/3rds of the way to the south end of the lake. The last 1/3 of this walk is through scrub brush and is kinda miserable. But the payoff is a very nice waterfalls and spots to sit and fish from, right at the base of the falls. The fishing in this location was quite good - much better than the other end by the camp sites. I consistantly caught 7-10" eastern brook trout on Fish Creek Spinners. Wooley Buggers hardly interested them. I would cast out, do a 10 second count down, and start reeling. I had several fish hit on the flutter drop. The view on this end of the lake of Foggy Mnt and it's glacier is beautiful. We hung out until 5 or so and went back to camp, made dinner, and enjoyed our peace and seclusion.
The next morning came in with low cloud cover and some light misty/rain. We broke camp and made it back to the car in under two hours, but it did seem like a longer hike. Even saw a bit of wildlife. A grouse (I think?) and then a little later an owl in a tree watching us as we walked by. Glad to be back to the truck by 11ish, we were home by 1pm.
Another great hike, pictures, and memories!
Stats from the GPS: 14.3 miles total hiked, total ascent 1393 ft, max elevation 3125 ft.
From Granite Falls, drive the Mountain Loop Highway east from Verlot to Barlow Pass. At 3.5 miles past Barlow, turn right onto Elliot Creek Road #4080. Drive the road .8 miles to its end. From Darrington, drive the Mountain Loop Highway 19.5 miles and take a left turn on FR 4080. Northwest Forest Pass required.
while dad fishes...
under the waterfall.
And back to our temporary home.