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Goat Rocks Wilderness


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General Information

Description - A 105,600-acre alpine wonderland, the Goat Rocks Wilderness is a portion of the volcanic Cascade Mountain Range in southwestern Washington between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams. The Goat Rocks are remnants of a large volcano, extinct for some two million years. This ancient volcano once towered over the landscape at more than 12,000 feet in elevation, but has since eroded into several peaks averaging around 8,000 feet. The cluster of rocks and peaks have become known as Goat Rocks because of the bands of mountain goats that live here.

Goat Rocks Wilderness features mountainous terrain with elevations from 3,000 feet to 8,201 feet on Gilbert Peak. Much of it lies above timberline, providing outstanding alpine scenery. Many high-elevation trails remain impassable, due to snow, until July and snow can return as early as September.

Attractions - As part of the volcanic Cascade Mountain Range, Goat Rocks Wilderness features mountainous terrain with elevations from 3,000 feet to 8,201 feet on Gilbert Peak. The Goat Rocks are remnants of a large volcano, extinct for some two million years. In addition to numerous trails, including a section of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000, the wilderness also offers the Walupt Lake Horse Camp and the Walupt Lake Campground.

Recreation - Activities include hiking, camping, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, mountain biking, and motorcycle riding.

Climate - Climate on the Gifford Pinchot changes drastically with elevation. The area receives a high amount of precipitation. Much of the precipitation comes from October to April in the form of rain at the low elevations and as wet heavy snow in the higher elevations. Deep winter snowpacks accumulate in the high elevations.

Although snow is possible in the lowest elevations, it is infrequent. Late spring, summer and early autumn tend to bring clear, sunny days with moderate temperatures.

Location - Goat Rocks Wilderness is located in southwestern Washington between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams. Forest Routes that access the wilderness include 106, 2140, 2150, 017, 2160, 1207, 776, and 1040.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: john lofgren (vancouver, wa)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: My wife and I tried to make it to Goat lake on July 6th 2004. We made it to the intersection of trail 86. After that we lost the trail due to the snow. We then got hit with whiteout conditions, so we retreated down to Jordan basin to camp.

Filed By: Jeff Lemley (White Salmon, WA)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Camped at Snowgrass Flats from Friday, July 26 through Sunday, July 28. The trip in was cool and partly cloudy. Mosquitos were bad at the trailhead near Chambers Lake, but were non-existant once we reached the timberline. Hardest part of the whole trip was hauling a 60-pound pack up the last 1200' to Snowgrass. Saturday was AWESOME!! Clear skies prevailed, and temperature was in the upper 60's. Hiked up to Lily Basin. Wildflowers were magnificent, especially the Indian Paint Brush, which were a deep magenta. Goat Lake was still completely covered in snow. The view from there is amazing, and I'd recommend it as a must for any visitor to the area. We ate lunch on the trail just above Goat Lake on the way to Jordan Basin, with an awesome view of the valley below us, and Mt. Adams to the south. Managed to hike up to Jordan Basin across a couple of sketchy snowfields, and then scrambled on up to Hawkeye Point, where we caught a view of Rainier peeking out at us from behind scattered clouds. I managed to catch a glimpse of a bighorn sheep on the side of Hawkeye as we climbed up it. Also saw and photographed a hoary marmot on the way back down at Goat Lake, and a couple of pikas in the talus further down the trail. We returned back to camp at Snowgrass just in time to view a spectacular sunset. The skies remained clear, and we were treated to a celestial masterpiece of stars, soon followed by a brilliant full moon. Sunday dawned overcast and cooler, and we hiked out around noon. Fairly uneventful trip out. Comments: There was plenty of water available for filtering and drikning. Seemed like there was a rushing, glacial stream every hundred yards or so. Recommendation for Photographers: You must bring a camera. I shot 5 rolls of film in 48 hours. However, bring a good protective case, and possibly a small can of compressed air, as the St. Helens ash from the 1980 eruption gets everywhere, including into your electronics.

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Camping at Showgrass flats was pretty crowded with many campers having camp fires. Freezing temperatures at night coated the many berries in ice. Up above on the PCT the high and lonesome alpine meadow turns into rock. Old Snowy was snow free. Goat lake had 15 goats to count way up on the face above the water. Returning via 95 was a pleasure.

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: The huge meadows of flowers which are at their peak right now make the climb worth it. You will need mosquito repellant, but they weren't too bothersome.


More Information

Contact Information:
Gifford Pinchot National Forest, 10600 NE 51st Circle, P.O. Box 8944 , Vancouver, WA, 98682, Phone: 360-891-5000, Fax: 360-891-5045, TTY: 360-891-5003

Additional Information:
Gifford Pinchot National Forest - The Gifford Pinchot National Forest is located in southwest Washington State. It lies between Mount Rainier National Park and the Columbia River Gorge, and includes the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

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