hikes

July 14, 2016

Goat Rocks / Snowgrass Flats

Location: Southwest Washington, between Mount Adams and Mount Rainier, in Goat Rocks Wilderness

Total mileage for four days: 20.4 miles with 3,894 ft. elevation gain

Day 1

For a three night backpacking trip, we started at the Snowgrass trailhead and hiked in to the junction with the Lily Basin trail (about 4.5 miles, 1,500 ft. gain). We setup our tents at one of the many campsites in the Alpine Camp area. Within a short walk, there are views of Mount Adams, Goat Rocks, Goat Ridge, Mount St. Helens, and wildflower meadows with streams. For filtering water, we walked about a quarter of a mile to a beautiful stream. Wildflowers in bloom included avalanche lilies, heather, paintbrush, buttercup, asters, and more. Bear grass was abundant along sections too.

Goat Rocks backpacking

at the trailhead

Goat Rocks backpacking

getting ready to hike in

Goat Rocks backpacking

Goat Rocks Wilderness sign

Goat Rocks backpacking

first view of Mount Adams

Goat Rocks backpacking

checking the map

Goat Rocks backpacking

my tent at camp

Goat Rocks backpacking

Lily Basin trail junction

Goat Rocks backpacking

filtering water

DAY 2

On the second day, we did a day hike towards still-frozen Goat Lake. We hiked about 2 miles, then turned around at a snow bridge over a creek. There were several larger snowfields to cross, and with the warmth of summer, the snow was melting and making it not as safe to travel across them (even though there were plenty of people doing so with no problems).

Goat Rocks backpacking

this heather field was one of my favorite spots

Goat Rocks backpacking

Western Pasqueflower in bloom

Goat Rocks backpacking

day hike on the Lily Basin trail

Goat Rocks backpacking

Goat Rocks on the Lily Basin trail

Goat Rocks backpacking

wow

Goat Rocks backpacking

waterfall

Goat Rocks backpacking

crossing a small snowfield

Goat Rocks backpacking

a majestic happy place

Goat Rocks backpacking

avalanche lilies

Goat Rocks backpacking

Goat Lake

Day 3

On the third day, we took the Snowgrass trail across to the PCT, then headed north for about a mile. We were heading towards Old Snowy, but turned around at a large snowfield with a steep slope, opting to explore farther south on the PCT. At the Bypass trail junction, several of us turned to head back to camp while the rest continued to hike towards Cispus Pass.

Goat Rocks backpacking

junction with the PCT

Goat Rocks backpacking

day hike on the PCT

Goat Rocks backpacking

up close view of Goat Rocks

Goat Rocks backpacking

lunch break

Goat Rocks backpacking

bear grass on the PCT

The Bypass trail was very different from everything else we had seen. We felt like we were hiking through fairy land. Bear grass filled the bright green meadows.

Goat Rocks backpacking

Bypass trail

Goat Rocks backpacking

bear grass on the Bypass trail

Goat Rocks backpacking

creek crossing

I got a chance to practice water crossings on logs. This one turned out to be a lot easier than I thought it would be.

Goat Rocks backpacking

practicing water crossing skills!

Goat Rocks backpacking

the heather meadow at sunset

Sunset on our last night was a treat: pink clouds and alpenglow on Goat Rocks and Mount Adams. After running around quite a bit for the best views, we ended the night in a small meadow behind our campsite, with the moon and Mount Adams in the night sky.

Goat Rocks backpacking

alpenglow on Goat Rocks

Goat Rocks backpacking

Mount Adams is pink!

Goat Rocks backpacking

Mount Adams from the small meadow near camp

Day 4

On the last morning, I got up before everyone else and walked around to get more photos in the early light. We packed up and headed out, knowing that rain was likely on the way. Sure enough, on the way out, it started sprinkling, then the rain picked up, it hailed for a bit, then poured rain while thunder roared. It didn’t get too close until we were back at the trailhead, sopping wet and ready to head home.

Goat Rocks backpacking

the last morning, before everyone was up

Goat Rocks backpacking

goodbye Mount Adams!

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