Hey Portland hikers,
I backpacked the Jordan Basin-Goat Lake Loop in the Goat Rocks Wilderness over Labor Day weekend with a couple friends. We drove up Sunday morning and returned Monday evening with the idea that we would miss the long weekend traffic on Saturday.
We embarked on our journey from the Berry Patch trailhead, which can be located at the end of a forest road South of Packwood, WA. It took about 3 and a half hours to get there from NW Portland taking I-5 North onto and then 12 East just a ways past Packwood.
From the Berry Patch trailhead, we did the loop counter clockwise heading towards the Snowgrass Flats first and then reaching the lake. Heading in either direction, the beginning of the hike will start at a easy to mildly difficult incline. I always take a photo of the map at the trailhead to look out for points of interest so that I can gauge how far I have walked. I know with GPS and apple watches people really don’t track their distance or orient this way anymore but I’m still sporting the Casio F-91W.
Hiking up to the Snowgrass Flats you are primarily hiking under the canopy as you gain elevation. Once you hit the flats the tree line opens up a bit and Mt. Adams, Mt. St Helens, and Mt. Rainier start making appearances. A lot of people either set up shop at the grass flats (hiking in either direction of the loop) for lunch or the night. From here you can head up to Cispus Pass or Goat Lake.
Once past the flats and heading towards Goat Lake, you begin walking along the ridge above Jordan Basin. This was probably my favorite part of the hike because you get views of the mountains, views into the valley below, and see the other side of the basin you will hike out of the next morning. It’s relatively short trek from the flats although Goat Lake looks a ways in the distance. Along this section is probably the most optimal for mountain goat sightings besides the lake. I usually have super bad luck with wildlife sightings. For instance, last year I spent two nights in Yellowstone, did day hikes throughout the park and didn't see a bison. I've only seen Bison in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
I also didn’t see any mountain goats along the ridge.
As most people do, we camped at Goat Lake which has a pretty neat view of Mt. Adams looking to the South. I plunged into the super cold lake (alone), watched the sunset, made some food, and called it a night.
I will note that alot (like alot) of people have used the area near and around the lake as their bathroom. Be weary of where you plant your foot or set up camp. I know it isn’t the most fun but really consider hiking it out folks.
Oh and we saw a herd of goats (herd right?), at the lake. As I said earlier this is probably the most optimal spot for sightings.
We got up slow the next morning because we knew the hike out was shorter going counterclockwise. We took in the views, hiked up and over Goat Ridge, and walked along a few small streams until we got back to our vehicle. It is a gradual descent back to the trailhead (going either direction).
I hope you guys enjoyed this trip report!
This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
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