In a state that’s hardly short on splendor, Goat Rocks may be the PCT’s aesthetic high point. For half of the stretch between White Pass and Walupt Lake, the path straddles a 7,000-foot ridge, affording pinup-quality panoramas of Rainier, Adams, and St. Helens. The scenery closer at hand doesn’t suck, either: You’ll cross Cispus Basin, where streams plunge off cliffs amid fireweed, lupine, and pearly everlasting; and Snowgrass Flats, carpeted in its namesake puffy white flowers. For more waterfalls and wildflowers, camp at McCall Basin, .5 mile off the PCT via the old Cascade Crest Trail. Until mid-July, you might need an ice axe and crampons for snow crossings, especially on the Packwood Glacier.
- Distance: 36.2
Location: 46.453068, -121.431396
Nannie Ridge Trail near Sheep Lake has very nice camping, good swimming and views towards Mt. Adams. If you continue a little further, the views become much more dramatic!
Location: 46.472233, -121.431137
Ridge offers beautiful views of the Goat Rocks and Klickton Divide. Continue N through one of the most scenic sections of the entire PCT.
Location: 46.482948, -121.434364
Head NW from Cispus Pass; look for herds of mountain goats that often hang out below the pass to the SE in the Klickitat headwaters
Location: 46.489883, -121.434753
Pass a spectacular camp near small clump of trees; enjoy the alpen glow on the mountain face that rises above campsite
Location: 46.490383, -121.435066
Cispus River crossing.
Location: 46.489899, -121.443169
Trail passes below a 20-ft. waterfall
Location: 46.487366, -121.44413
Pass decent camps perched on this steep slope over the Cispus River
Location: 46.485783, -121.451164
Pass another camp
Location: 46.487568, -121.459633
Stay R @ Bypass Trail jct.
Location: 46.493332, -121.46405
Pass a camp
Location: 46.495083, -121.464119
Location: 46.498615, -121.464066
Stay straight @ Snowgrass Trail jct.; continue N
Location: 46.511566, -121.464966
Yelverton Shelter site: No shelter exists here anymore. U-shaped stone walls make a good windbreak in this very exposed area. There are many tent sites above and below this spot. Enjoy spectacular views of peaks, grassy slopes and communities of dwarf hemlock, alpine fir, and less-than-foot-high junipers. Look for marmots in the rocks
Location: 46.514351, -121.460716
Follow trail up Old Snowy Mtn.; snowslides and rockslides often destroy the trail. If conditions are sketchy, consider the PCT alternate route (it’s also the access trail for the Old Snowy Summit, a worthy goal). The alternate route travels above the regular trail. From the saddle, veer L on crumbly, narrow trail.
Location: 46.518158, -121.455528
Begin ridge walk
Location: 46.5383, -121.455017
Stay straight on ridge @ jct.
Location: 46.540283, -121.44915
Cross creek with great alpine campsites
Location: 46.539116, -121.4216
Turn L and head N @ trail jct.
Location: 46.54385, -121.418015
Pass Lutz Lake on L
Location: 46.553917, -121.42012
Head NW from Tieton Pass
Location: 46.575401, -121.398987
Veer L @ jct. with Hidden Spring Trail
Location: 46.584732, -121.401169
Turn L @ Shoe Lake Trail jct.
Location: 46.592285, -121.400116
Stay high and veer L; continue N toward Hogback Mtn.
Location: 46.6063, -121.402946
Goat Rocks Wilderness boundary
Location: 46.617733, -121.387253
Stay R @ jct. with Chair Lift Trail
Location: 46.625584, -121.372932
Turn L @ jct. with trail that leads to Twin Peaks
Location: 46.6273, -121.374916
Pass Ginnette Lake, a tree rimmed lake
Location: 46.633465, -121.378067
Location: 46.643002, -121.378853
Location: 46.643501, -121.379364
US 12; cross to continue; or turn L, follow road to Kracker Barrel Grocery; not great resupply, staff is welcoming; find fried foods like burritos; indoor seating; laundry. Hotel to E of store has fairly decent prices; offers bunk beds, kitchen.
Location: 46.639332, -121.390297
White Pass @ US 12.
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Location: 46.510639, -121.465584
Location: 46.513493, -121.462479
One of two permanent glacier crossings in Goat Rocks, this shaded patch can be very icy. If so, consider going around, it’s not far if you head downhill to get around. The runout isn’t bad from a fall, but serious injury could result. The second patch later on is much more dangerous even though it’s only 10 feet across. ©Jack Haskel
Location: 46.511402, -121.465714
Location: 46.511959, -121.464981
Looking northwest past one of the area’s many large carins at Hawkeye Point and Goat Lake. ©Jack Haskel
Location: 46.47213, -121.430878
Location: 46.482983, -121.434532
Location: 46.490284, -121.434738
Vew up the river to the mountain above the camp. ©Jack Haskel
Valley and Peaks
Location: 46.47839, -121.432861
A long-range view over the Goat Rocks. ©Jack Haskel
Clouds and valley
Location: 46.527557, -121.452789