Secret Rainier: Goat Island Mountain

In this piece from Mountaineer Magazine, we highlight Goat Island Mountain. It's a lesser-known trail in Mount Rainier National Park with a great scramble and beautiful views of Little Tahoma.
Placeholder Contact Profile Mickey Eisenberg
Author of '100 Hikes Rainier'
August 09, 2018
By mickey eisenburg, gene yore, and steve mcclure

Many of the 100 peaks in Mount Rainier National Park are seldom visited and we believe under appreciated. In this sense they are “secrets” and worthy of being featured in this series. In this chapter of Secret Rainier we describe Goat Island Mountain, one of our favorite scrambles. Notable are the views of Little Tahoma looming above Rainier. It’s is a super summer scramble and a great destination to plan for in the midst of winter.

Directions: Travel to Enumclaw and take SR 410 east. Approximately 33 miles from Enumclaw you will reach the park boundary. Continue into the park and in 4.5 miles turn right on the Sunrise Road for another 4.5 miles until you cross the Fryingpan River Bridge. Park just beyond the bridge (elevation 3800’). The Summerland trailhead is on the west side of the road. An entrance fee is required at the park kiosk located on the Sunrise Road. 

Route: The route is straightforward, with few route-finding challenges. From the Summerland trailhead, hike the trail until it crosses Fryingpan Creek and continue on the trail for approximately 1/2 mile. Where the trail begins to switchback (5440’) leave the trail and head easterly. You may find a boot path in late spring or summer. Cross the creek when convenient, and stay on the north side of the creek. Head for a saddle (6380’), and then continue on the ridge to the summit. The summit is long and broad. You can make a loop trip by leaving the summit at a bearing of 110 degrees and following the best contour on the hillside until you come to the Summerland Trail. The slope can be steep in places, so proceed cautiously. The return route is shown on the topological map. Stay on the south side of the ridge.

Comments: Save this one for a sunny day mid-July through September.

Goat island mountain

  • Skill Levels: Easy scramble- loop route  is a bit more challenging. 
  • Beauty: 10/10
  • Effort: 7/10
  • Distance: 11.6 miles RT, 9.5 miles (loop) 
  • Elevation: 3500' total gain 
  • Total time: 8 hours 
  • Best season: May to September (when road is open to White River Campground) 
  • Equipment: Scramble gear 


Want to learn more? Mount Rainier National Park has over 100 climbable peaks (not counting Mount Rainier itself) either within or immediately adjacent to the Park boundary. 76 of the peaks are scrambles, 15 are hikes and 9 are climbs. Guide to 100 Peaks at Mount Rainier National Park is available as an enhanced iBook for the iPad on iTunes and in tablet eBook and smartphone eBook by Mountaineers Books. All royalties donated to The Mountaineers.


This article originally appeared in our Spring 2018 issue of Mountaineer  Magazine. To view the original article in magazine form and read more stories from our publication, click here.