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Goat Rocks: Cispus Basin Backpack

  • Sep 6, 2014 · 7:30 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Let’s do an overnight backpack to Cispus Basin.  We’ll start the trip at Snowgrass Trail #96, then take Bypass Trail #97 to connect with the Pacific Crest Trail.  After setting up camp in Cispus Basin, we will go the last 0.7 mile to Cispus Pass at 6,470 feet.  Coming back, we'll follow the Pacific Crest Trail to Snowgrass Flat, then continue on Snowgrass Trail #96 back to our starting point.  On the way home, we may stop somewhere for ice cream or dinner.  I will need at least 3 people willing to drive.

Excerpt from ''Backpacking Washington,'' by Craig Romano

Backpack #17 – Goat Rocks: Cispus Basin.  One of the most spectacular wild areas in the South Cascades, the Goat Rocks Wilderness encompasses over 100,000 acres of glacier-clad craggy peaks draped with alpine lawns dazzling with wildflowers, punctuated with sparkling tarns, and cut by cool cascading creeks.  The remnants of a large ancient volcano, the Goat Rocks explode with stunning alpine spender, luring legions of admirers from near and far.  Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas was among them—he immortalized the Goat Rocks in his writings.  Cispus Basin is one of the area's most enchanting places.  And yes, there are plenty of goats here too!

• Trailhead ETA: 10:30 a.m.          • Round Trip: 14.9 miles.

• Starting Elevation: 4,650 feet. • Ascent Elevation: 1,950 feet.

• High Point: 6,470 feet.                • Difficulty: Moderately easy.

• Pace: Slow/moderate.                • Backpacking Time: 9.5 hours.

• Special Features: Sprawling alpine meadows, spectacular wildflower display.

• Special Concerns: Heavy hiker and equestrian use, especially around Snowgrass Flat.

• Maps: Green Trails Blue Lake, No. 334; Walupt Lake, No. 335.

GPS Coordinates:

• Snowgrass Trailhead: N46°27'50.7" W121°31'08.7"

• Bypass Trail Junction: N46°29'20.3" W121°28'36.9"

• Cispus Pass: N46°28'57.7" W121°26'04.2"

What to Bring: Backpack with the 10 Essentials, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, stove, cookware, dinnerware, water filter, appropriate hiking attire (no blue jeans, cotton clothing, or sneakers), plenty of water, lunch/energy snacks, sturdy/comfortable shoes + a bag for wet/soiled pairs, trekking poles, sun preventatives, bug repellent, and your camera!  Dress according to the forecast (layers!).

Contact: Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Cowlitz Valley Ranger District, (360) 497-1100.

Permits/Regulations: Northwest Forest Pass required.  Free wilderness permit required, self-issued at trailhead.  Wilderness regulations apply.  Group size limited to twelve.  Campfires prohibited.  Dogs allowed on leash.

Getting There: From Randle, follow US 12 east for 13 miles, turning right (south) onto Forest Road 21 (signed for Walupt and Chamber lakes).  Continue on FR 21 for 13 miles and turn left on FR 2150.  Proceed for 3.3 miles on this bumpy road—bearing left at 1 mile, right at 2.9 miles, and right again at 3 miles—to reach the trailhead (elev. 4650 ft).

Useful Links:

7-Day Weather Forecast

Snowgrass Trail

Bypass Trail

WTA Hiking Guide and Trip Reports

Robert's Cell: (253) 677-6992.

Disclaimer: Trailside is not a professional guide service.  Our leaders function, as facilitators only, to enhance your outdoor experience.  Reports of trail and weather conditions are based on best available information, are subject to change, and are no guarantee of fitness for any particular purpose or appropriate for a certain fitness level.  You may join us on this hike at your own risk.  Keep in mind that hiking involves risks and weather changes quickly in the mountains.  You are responsible for your own safety and the more prepared you are, the better the chance you will remain safe.  Signing up for any Trailside organized event indicates that you have read, understand, and agree to the terms of this disclaimer and hold harmless all Trailside Organizers and Leaders in the event of injury or loss.

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  • Michael M.

    Are we still planning to go?

    September 6, 2014

  • Monica L

    An incredible hike... only wish I were staying overnight when I did it last year!!

    August 27, 2014

3 went

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