Goat Lake? Wait till Spring

10/19/12

Goat Lake? Wait till Spring

A trip report for Goat Lake Loop
Posted by sjipapa
Road Issues: Snow on road
Trail Condition: Major issues - navigation required
Bugs: Not an issue
Snow Level: Starts at 5,000 ft

We'd put this trip off from September...and probably should have waited till Spring. Even with rain and some snow in the forecast, we were hoping for the best.

Drive up was good, rain was fine on the first day with some fog and amazing colors on the hike up - reds and yellows popped against the greens and browns along the trail. First night camping near first intersection on east-to-west approach was superb, with ample dry firewood gathered with a small hatchet from downed-but-above-ground limbs.

Second morning delivered the expected snow at 5,600 feet where we camped. 2-4 inches as expected. Strapped up the packs and headed up the mountain for Goat Lake. After second intersection and turn off for Lilly Basin Trail 86, snow was 6-8 inches deep with a still navigable trail. One mile further trail became hard to find but still manageable. Passed a good-looking spot to camp about 5 miles from trailhead and used it as back up if Goat Lake was not a good idea.

We used the back up camp. Slept well and woke up to another 6 inches of snow. Trail back down the hill was barely manageable, if only for our trail heading up. Good thing we had 4 guys with us.

All in all, a great expedition, amazing snowy scenery, adventurous navigation - but looks to be socked in further than the Old Snow Mountain turn-off until Spring. Probably better snow-shoeing places in the coming months than this forested section of the trail.

Colors around the lower section were "on fire" before the snow fell.

Stunning terrain with snow...real serene feel to the hike. And nobody around...

Trail way-finding extremely difficult past the turn-off for Old Snowy Mountain (eastern approach).

Comments (3)

I was back up on the trail on 11/3/2012 to recover some items lost in the snow near Goat Lake two weeks prior. I was pleased to find sporadic pockets of snow and a cooperative weather pattern. The gear was recovered :) It was the first day of hunting season and we saw 4 hunters throughout the day, one of which informed us that he spotted 4 elk in a meadow below us as we pushed towards the lake.

The views are stunning. As you can tell from the pics posted on 10/19, there was very low visibility on the first trip, we did however spot 5 goats.There was certainly a new appreciation that developed for the area after my most recent trip.

I highly recommend this route.

Wow, what an epic adventure! Glad you guys made it back alive to tell the tale. That snow must have really been coming down like crazy. Beautiful pictures and great write-up.

looks pretty amazing- snow and all. that fall color is beautiful. glad you guys were well prepared for the conditions.