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Snowgrass Flats - Goat Ridge Loop Backpacking Trip

  • Aug 17, 2013 · 6:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Tucked away between glaciated peaks in Washington's southern Cascade's, the Goat Rocks Wilderness flaunts flower-filled valleys, rocky ridges, snow capped volcanoes, and 100-mile views.  See the best of the high country on a 13.8-mile weekend loop from the Snowgrass trailhead.  Why go?  The snow has melted and it is the perfect time to experience the magic of the Goat Rocks Wilderness.  This loop trip samples the best of the area, cool forests, bright wildflowers, and amazing views of all of the volcanos in the south Cascades.

We will walk .7 mile to the self-issue permit station at the Berry Patch trailhead and ascend 1,120 feet in 1.2 miles to Goat Ridge.  The trail trends northeast through forest to a ridgeline, offering views of the Goat Creek Basin and nearby Old Snowy.  After traversing the west side of Goat Ridge for 2.7 miles, we will see the flower laden Jordan Basin.  At 5.2 miles we will drop our packs and hike .6 miles and 800 feet to Hawkeye Point.  From this 7,351 foot vantage, we will take in a classic, all-the-way-around Cascades panorama, including an in-you-face view of Mt. Rainier.  We will linger there for a time, then back track to our gear and travel .6 miles further on our main trail to where we will set up camp for the night near the outlet of Goat Lake.

The next morning we will wake to the sun rising over Mt. Hood, 80 miles south.  After breaking camp, we will follow the Goat Creek Valley clockwise on the main trail, hiking south through wildflowers laden meadows and crossing several creeks cascading from Old Snowy's flanks.

Dates: August 17 & 18

RSVP's are only open through the WAITLIST.  Feel free to add your name, answer the questions, and attendees will be selected from there.

Driving Directions: From Randle drive east on Hwy 12.  Two miles before Packwood, turn south on FR-21, the Johnson Creed road.  Go 15.5 miles on FR-21 to FR-2150 (signed Chambers Lake Campground).  Take FR-2150 about 3 miles to spur road FR[masked], go right, then right again on spur road FR-2150-405.  The trailhead is at road's end, signed "Berry Patch."

Bring: This is not a beginners backpack outing, so everyone should have enough experience to know what to bring. Do bring your 10 essentials which includes maps. Maps: USFS Goat Rocks Wilderness; Green Trails #335 Walupt Lake, #303 White Pass, #302 Packwood, #334 Blue Lake

Dogs are not allowed on this trip.

Start point: Snowgrass Trailhead
End point: Snowgrass Trailhead
Hike Type: Backpacking Loop
Distance: 13.8 miles (Loop)
Hiking time: 2 Full Days
Elevation gain: 1940 feet
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Permits Required: Northwest Forest Pass

Drive time is approximately 3 hours one way.
Distance is 320 miles round trip.

Carpool cost is 10 cents per mile, per person, to be collected and divvied up at PJ's house before we leave.  Please bring exact amount ($32.00)

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.


PARTICIPATE AT YOUR OWN RISK; Northwest Wilderness Group organizers are volunteers. We come prepared to lead you on a trail or off trail hike but assume no liability for your safety getting to or from the trail-head or on the hike. In case of accident, illness, or other incapacity, hikers must pay for their own medical and/or evacuation expenses, whether or not the hiker has specifically authorized them.

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  • PJ

    Truly stunning wilderness...none like I have experienced and laid eyes on before. Thanks everyone for taking your time in such fantastic pictures.....beautiful! Had a fun weekend with you all :) Thank you Robert for your planning and offering this backpack to NWW group! :)

    August 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Goat Rocks truly rocked! Thanks all for making it awesome! :)

    August 19, 2013

  • Michael B.

    Hi guys! Great weekend and thanks for an amazing time with you all. Here's the link to my photos. Enjoy!
    https://picasaweb.google.com/104143809286675053255/GoatRocks2013#

    1 · August 19, 2013

    • LaDonna

      Gorgeous shots Mike. I didn't expect less! Thanks for sharing.

      August 19, 2013

  • Marc

    The following measurements are from my GPS. Total mileage (with Hawkeye Point climb and Snowgrass Flat loop): 16.7 mi. Elapsed time: 11 hr 18 min. Total ascent/descent: 3986 ft. Total mileage (estimated without Hawkeye Point climb and Snowgrass Flat loop): 13.9 mi. Elapsed time: 9 hr 35 min. Total ascent/descent: 3161 ft.

    1 · August 19, 2013

  • Marc

    This was one of the best backpacks I've been on in the Northwest. The weather was good on Saturday and improved to perfect on Sunday. Everywhere we went we had outstanding scenery. Thanks to Robert for leading it!

    August 19, 2013

  • Robert R.

    This was a fantastic trek with individuals that made the Goat Rocks awesome. I can see us doing this again next year and making it a two day trek just so that we can experience climbing Old Snowy and exploring. I even got to see my first wild Fox on the way out. Cheers everyone and thanks for not dropping. We were a great group together.

    3 · August 19, 2013

    • Amanda J

      Two days would be perfect!

      1 · August 19, 2013

  • Udhay

    One of my best wilderness experience, thanks to nature and nice set of people. Thank you Robert for taking time and Organizing this excellent trip and adding me to Yes list.

    1 · August 19, 2013

  • Rick L. J.

    Great Trip and Photos! I would really like to do this trip but not enough time this year to get it in. Glad I got to see it again in picture form.

    August 19, 2013

  • barbara s.

    Thank you everyone for making my first backpacking trip so much fun. I do not think I could have chosen a more beautiful place or a better group of people on my maiden voyage. Despite learning that I should return half of my equipment, I appreciate the packing and equipment tips. Thank you Robert for letting me experience this wonderful part of the country and introducing me to the "joys" of backpacking.

    1 · August 19, 2013

  • Richard

    Wildflower heaven, more so than what I'd heard it would be like. Not to missed outing with congenial and sharing crowd. Thanks Robert.

    1 · August 18, 2013

  • LaDonna

    This wilderness is always so beautiful and enjoying it with fun and adventurous people makes it all that much better! Thank you Robert for organizing this memorable experience.

    2 · August 18, 2013

  • B.G

    Robert thanks for putting this trip together, I think we may not be able to go there next year without getting into some sort of lottery. Truly an Alpine wonderland.

    1 · August 18, 2013

  • brian

    I would love to go if that spot is still available!

    August 16, 2013

    • Robert R.

      Sorry Brian, Randy was actually on the waitlist.

      August 16, 2013

  • Randy

    If someone is still looking for a spot, I'm not able to make it Sat. -Randy

    August 15, 2013

  • PJ

    2 of the 3 weather links below show chance of showers on Sat. so I'm packing my raincoat, backpack rain cover, and gaiters (it will have been raining there today and tomorrow, so we could run into some muddy spots.). Also, with the dampness and Matt's report of skeeters........bug repellent is a great idea! I started my B2 and, hopefully, it will work on the skeeters (don't know about the biting flies).

    Hopefully, Matt, we'll be able to get some views in as you did.....sounds absolutely beautiful :)

    1 · August 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I love this route! Please let me know if there is an opening!!

    August 14, 2013

  • Matt T

    Just spent 3 days up there this past weekend. You'll love it. The wildflowers are peaking (some of the best I've seen anywhere) and the views are incredible. A couple of notes:
    1) The side trail to Hawkeye Point is well worth the time (it's a mile each way) but be warned that a small but unpassable snowfield sits in the way near the summit. You can't cross it; follow the edge of it to the right side and just go around it. It's a little steep but not too bad. The views from the top are worth the effort.
    2) There are some stunning looking campsites near Goat Lake. The best ones are between the lake and the head of the valley (or slightly to the Hawkeye Point side). I hope you guys get one of these, because they're truly incredible spots, with views to the lake's bowl in one direction and across the wide valley to Mount Adams in the other. Goat Lake itself is still covered with snow.

    1 · August 13, 2013

    • Matt T

      3) On your way out, I highly recommend taking another short detour. There's a network of trails which form a loop around Snowgrass Flat. Rather than just continuing straight back to the cars from the Lilly Basin Trail, take the long way around the Snowgrass Flat loop (via 96, the PCT, and 97). This takes you through some of the best of the wildflower fields over along the PCT, and only adds a couple miles to your day. You won't regret it.
      4) Be warned that there are plenty of mosquitoes and biting flies along the Snowgrass Trail on your way out. Spend your time admiring the views and flowers on the first 2/3 of your hike and then charge back to your cars!

      1 · August 13, 2013

    • Robert R.

      Thanks Matt, Goat Lake is where I planned for a camp to be. I think you followed most all of the route that I have planned.

      August 13, 2013

  • Robert R.

    I need to know who all can drive and how many People/Gear you can fit in your vehicle.

    August 7, 2013

    • Richard

      I'll send an e-mail to Udhay, BG, Tushar and LaDonna. Once I get everyone's reply, or by Sunday eve, I'll send my contact info to everyone.

      August 9, 2013

    • Amanda J

      Meeting in Vancouver works even better for me:).

      August 9, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    The description sounds awesome! I'm intrigued.

    August 9, 2013

  • barbara s.

    I can drive my car to PJ's house.

    August 8, 2013

  • Sandeep P.

    Can anyone help me find the 10 essentials list?

    August 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm upset I can't make this after all:(

    August 6, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Is this just me or there are others also who got goosebumps on reading the trip description?

    July 26, 2013

    • Robert R.

      No, I got mine when I read the description in Backpacker Magazine. That's why I just had to do this!

      2 · July 26, 2013

    • B.G

      Gonna be awesome, just hoping we won't run into those zillion PDX hikers PJ mentioned.

      July 26, 2013

  • Amanda J

    I really hope to join you! I've been wanting to go here for the past few years:).

    July 26, 2013

    • Amanda J

      Oh wait... Just got on! Yay!

      July 26, 2013

    • B.G

      Thank Bob for that, rest assured this trip will awesome.

      July 26, 2013

  • PJ

    There's a group from PHMG going up here Aug. 15-18 too. Might be a little crowded at camp....lol

    July 1, 2013

    • Robert R.

      They will be on a 30.5 mile trek that starts on the Thursday before.

      July 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hey robert. I'd love to go if a spot opens up.

    June 30, 2013

  • Rick L. J.

    Andee and me. But her for sure. Is the persiod meteor shower on to?

    June 30, 2013

    • Robert R.

      That will happen on Aug 12-13 this year Rick.

      June 30, 2013

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