Goat Lake-Elliott Creek #647

Starting off on the old road now trail, photo by Martha Rasmussen

There are two ways to hike to Goat Lake, you can travel the old Penn Mining Road now known as Goat Lake Trail or the Elliott Creek Trail following Elliot Creek. Both trails are very different from each other. This hike is starting with going to the lake on Goat Lake Trail and returning on the Elliott Trail creating a loop. The trail starts off on the old road, at 0.25 miles you see the Elliott Creek Trail dropping down to Elliott Creek which will meet up with the Goat Lake trail again at 1.6 miles before reaching the Lake.  You can bicycle the Goat Lake trail until it enters the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness.
 Looking down from the old road trail, photo by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

The Goat Lake Trail following the old road offers great views of the surrounding mountain slopes with an abundance of distant waterfalls. Along this trail you will see Siberian Miner's Lettuce and later on the trail Western Columbine.
 The third waterfall along the trail, photo by Nels Rasmussen

As you continue to hike up the trail there are several small creek to cross and nice waterfalls along the way.  A little after meeting up with the Elliott Creek Trail at 3.6 miles, you will find yourself walking among the ancient giants of the forest as you enter the  Henry M. Jackson Wilderness.  This is the end of all bicycle traffic, bicycles are not allowed in the wilderness areas.
Entering the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness, photo by Nels Rasmussen

Once entering the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness , trail maintenance is done with no mechanized equipment. Any fallen trees cut from the trail have been cut by an old-fashioned cross-cut saw, materials for bridges are brought in by horses, and built by hand. After you enter the designated wilderness are
at about 0.5 mile you will hear McIntosh Falls as it make a 300 foot drop.  There are 2 way trails to the upper and middle drop.

Looking from Goat Lake toward Foggy Peak, photo by Martha Rasmussen

At 4.9 miles you reach the beautiful and historical Goat Lake with Foggy Peak in the background to the south where once the Penn Mines were located and the town to the north.  This deep lake, width depths up to 100 feet is reported to have good fishing for eastern brook trout and rainbow trout.  Many people hike in and camp at 1 of 5 designated campsites to the north of the lake where there are 2 designated pit toilets, for more information contact the Darrington Ranger Station.

When you look to the east of the lake you will see Bridalveil Falls dropping over a high rock face.  You can follow a way trail to the falls to get a better look.  It is a bit of bushwhacking, but this trail takes you to a knoll where you can look straight over to the falls.  This is also a great place to see Mountain Marsh Marigold, Cow Parsnip and Fendler's Waterleaf in bloom.

Elliott Creek in twilight, photo by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

Where Goat Lake is a trail of waterfalls and mountain views, the Elliot Creek Trail offers a splendid array of wildflowers such as Columbia Lily, Canadian Dogwood, Trillium, Spring Beauty and Yellow Wood Violets.  The trail is a series moderate ups and downs as it parallels the beautiful a musical Elliott Creek. 

This is also the trailhead that takes you Chockwich Falls which is also  a mountain bike trail #647.2  connecting to the Bedal Creek Trail #705.

Type of Trail: USFS
Length: 5 miles one way
Elevation: 1,900 - 3,200
Level of difficulty: More Difficult

Best Seasons: Summer & Fall

Seasonal Interest:
  • Summer - good time to see waterfalls, seasonal falls will stop flowing in late summer
  • Fall- extended vistas, fall colors. Be prepared for shorter days & colder nights at the lake's elevation.

General Information:
History:  At one time Goat Lake was a large mining operation owned by Penn Mining.  There was a settlement and hotel at this site.  Learn more...

Wilderness restrictions: Yes

Northwest Trail Pass Required

Restroom:  Vault toilets at trailhead

Bring drinking water

Road and Trail conditions

Getting There: To get to the Goat Lake Trail #647 from the Darrington Ranger Station, drive south along The Mountain Loop Highway, ( FS Rd. #20) for 22 miles to the Elliott Creek Road #4080, turn left and continue to drive 0.8 mile to the trailhead and parking.

Further Information:  Mount Baker-Snqualmie National Forest