Backpack - Snowgrass Flat & Goat Lake Basin


Backpack - Snowgrass Flat & Goat Lake Basin

==Goat Lake Loop w/Old Snowy & Knife's Edge Visit== A backpack into Goat Lake in the spectacular Goat Rocks Wilderness while enjoying views of Mt St Helens, Mt Adams and possibly Mt Hood. We'll camp the first night near Snowgrass Flats. Spend the second day on the Pacific Crest Trail with a hike up to the Old Snowy, the highest point on the PCT in Washington. From here our view changes to Mt Rainier. We'll hike across the infamous Knife's Edge and camp in the alpine cirque above the Cowlitz River headwaters. On the final day, we'll travel back across the Knife's Edge and close the loop around the Goat Lake Basin. *This is a mentored trip* *Leader Permission Required*

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 23.7 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 6,824 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 7,871 ft
  • Pace: 1.8mph with breaks included

Meeting Time: 9am
Meeting Place: Snowgrass Hikers Trailhead [46.46405247089308, -121.51887794729099]
Optional: Stay Sunday Night, August 14th, in Packwood, WA to carpool.

More details to be provided before the trip.

Goat Lake Loop w/Old Snowy & Knife's Edge Visit

The trail across the Knife's Edge is easily followed, but could be an issue for hikers with a fear of heights or exposure. The trail is wide, but falls off on both sides. Please consider this before signing up.

The Goat Rocks Wilderness is extremely popular. Our trip takes place Monday through Wednesday to reduce the crowd. Expect to see a number of groups. We can likely chat with some PCT thru-hikers nearing the end of their epic journey from Mexico to Canada. We will meet at the Snowgrass Hikers Trailhead at 9am to improve our campsite selection. Stay the evening prior in Packwood, to avoid a long morning drive and possibly carpool to the trailhead. Car camping the night before is another option.


Day 0: Sunday, Aug 14th - Optional stay in Packwood to avoid a very early 3-4 hour drive.
Day 1: Monday Aug 15th - Snowgrass Flats Trailhead to Goat Lake and Snowgrass Flats.
7.3 miles with 2500’ total elevation gain
Day 2: Tuesday Aug 16th - Snowgrass Flats to Clear Fork Cowlitz River Cirque.
6.7 miles with 2344’ total elevation gain
Day 3: Wednesday Aug 17th - Cirque to Snowgrass Flats Trailhead.
9.7 miles with 1980’ total elevation gain

Leader Permission

This is a mentored hike. Please contact Chris Finley for any questions.

This trip requires leadership permission. Please use the "Request Leader's Permission" link and answer the following questions.
1) What backpacking trips (nights, daily mileage and elevation) have your completed in last two years?
2) Are you comfortable with heights and steep drop-offs along the trail?
3) We will make a best effort to camp together, but given the crowds, are you comfortable camping dispersed within a few 100 years of each other?
4) Have you been to the Goats Rock Wilderness before?


Snowgrass Flat & Goat Lake Basin

  • Green Trails Goat Rocks William O Douglas Wilderness No. 303S

    Green Trails White Pass No. 303

    Green Trails Packwood No. 302

    USGS Hamilton Buttes

    USGS Walupt Lake

    USGS Packwood Lake

    USGS Old Snowy Mountain
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Odor-proof bag
  • Bear canister, Ursack or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports