Snowgrass Flats, Cispus Basin, Old Snowy & Goat Lake

Many believe that the Goat Rocks Wilderness is one of the top prizes of the Washington Cascades. It certainly is a view extravaganza. This 24 mile moderate backpack with 3,000 feet of elevation gain and multiple side-trip options features broad flower fields and expansive views south to Mount Adams and Mount Saint Helens as well as north to Rainier.

on the trail

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1
- Start from the Snowgrass Flats trailhead south of Packwood, and hike 3.6 mi (Trail No. 96) to junctions with trails heading uphill to the Flats.  Stay straight, continuing about 2.5 mi, 1.0 mi on Trail No. 97 and 1.5 mi on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), to the broad flower-strewn bowl of Cispus Basin (6,200 ft) and camps with broad southward views.  You may see goats spilling over the ridge above your camp in the evening.

Day 2 - Retrace your steps back to the first junction and turn uphill, continuing north on the PCT, to steadily increasing views that get better and better as you climb.  Find a camp along this stretch, before reaching the high point under Old Snowy Mountain (~6,400 ft).  Set up camp and day hike to Goat Lake via the Lily Basin Trail (No. 86), nestled in a high basin under cliffs with enormous south facing views. 

Day 3 - Do the easy scramble up Old Snowy Mountain for a fantastic 360-degree panorama before descending the way you came and back to the Snowgrass Flats trailhead.


  • Some alternatives include camping at Goat Lake and returning the Snowgrass Flats trailhead via the Goat Ridge Trail.
  • Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Length: 24.4 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,000 ft
  • 7,600 ft
  • Green Trails Packwood No. 302
  • Green Trails Walupt Lake No. 335
  • Green Trails White Pass No. 303
  • Green Trails Goat Rocks William O Douglas Wilderness No. 303S

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