Monday, July 31, 2017

Goat Lake Snowgrass Flat Loop

We went down to the Goat Rocks Wilderness to do the loop hike to Goat Lake and Snowgrass Flats. We started at the Berry Patch Trailhead and took Goat Ridge up to the Lily Basin Trail, took a side trip up to Hawkeye Point, over to Goat Lake and down to Snowgrass Flats and back to Berry Patch. Our route was 14.8 miles with 3,000+ ft gain.

The first mile+ of the Goat Ridge trail was lined with huckleberry bushes (the berries were still green).
Soon the trail passed through meadows in the forest that were filled with wildflowers in bloom.

Through the trees we had glimpses of Mt Adams to the south,

Old Snowy Mountain to the east,

and Mt Rainier to the north.

 This trail passes through meadow after meadow,

 all of them filled with wildflowers!

As the trail opened up with views of Jordan Basin, we could see Mt St Helens to the south for miles of trail.

So many meadows to enjoy.
After 3 miles, the trail begins to climb more steeply.

 A creek lined with wildflowers as we head up towards the saddle.

About 4.5 miles from the trailhead, we reached a large talus field, where we stopped to take a break. There were many marmots here.
The hillside below the saddle on Goat Ridge was filled with wildflowers,

so gorgeous!

The trail reaches the saddle on Goat Ridge at  4.7 miles from the trailhead and joins the Lily Basin Trail. Straight ahead leads to Goat Lake, and to the north (left) and eventually the Lily Basin Trailhead. 

We started up the Lily Basin Trail to the north for 0.4 mile.

 This trail goes up to 6,900 ft, continuing to pass through meadows of wildflowers and views.
 There were many variety of wildflowers in bloom.

 As the trail gained elevation, we could see Mt Hood peeking over the side of Mt Adams to the distant south.

Gorgeous views of Old Snowy Mountain.

Pano from this section of the trail: Mt Adams and Mt Hood, Mt St Helens, Angry Mountain, Mt Rainier.

 After 0.4 miles, there is a side trail that leads to Hawkeye Point on the right (eastward). On the way, this trail leads over a smaller point at 7,200 ft before dropping down a bit before climbing up Hawkeye Point.

View of Mt Rainier and Johnson Peak.
Final approach to Hawkeye Point (1 mile from the saddle with 831 ft of gain).

 From the top of Hawkeye Point we had fabulous views; to the east Goat Lake and Old Snowy Mountain,
 to the south Nannie Peak, Mt Adams and Mt Hood,

 to the west Angry Mountain and Mt St Helens,

and to the north Mt Rainier and Johnson Peak.

The trail was steep and dry with loose dirt and rock for most of this trail down form Hawkeye Point, we took our time coming down, continuing to enjoy the views and flowers.

 Once back to the saddle, we took the Lily Basin Trail heading east then south towards Goat Lake.
 It is 0.9 mile to Goat Lake from the saddle, the views of Mt Adams were wonderful and the hillside was nonstop wildflowers.

Goat Lake was still frozen.
 From Goat Lake it is 2.3 miles along the Lily Basin Trail to Snowgrass Flats.

This is another gorgeous part of the loop hike: waterfalls,
open meadows with views of Mt Adams,

 Looking back towards the cirque that holds Goat lake, with a waterfall coming down off the cirque. Hawkeye Point is on the right side of the cirque.
 more meadows

Snowgrass Flat area was mostly forested with some meadows, there is a 0.7 mile section of the trail going through this area, with a trail at either end leading up to the PCT.

 From Snowgrass Flats, the trail descends through the forest for 3.7 miles. After the trail crosses Goat Creek it climbs slightly on the way back to the Snowgrass Flat Trailhead.
About 0.1 mile before the Snowgrass Flat Trailhead, there is a horse path that leads back to the Berry Patch Trailhead. We went this way to avoid walking down the forest road.

 This horse trail is 0.6 miles and is mostly forested. It goes by a nice pond

 and a meadow before joining with the Goat Ridge Trail.

Some of the many wildflowers we saw in bloom along the trail today: