Total Ascent: 1600ft
Highest Point: 3200ft
Total Distance: 10.5 miles
Location: N 48° 1.1040, W 121° 20.9640
Required Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
This week found us back out on the Mountain Loop Highway trekking up the Elliott Creek Trail to Goat Lake. A sunny summer day was the perfect chance to tackle a popular hike that has something for everyone – history, waterfalls, and an alpine lake. It felt like maybe, just maybe, summer had finally arrived.
Popular with both day hikers and backpackers, Goat Lake sees some significant traffic on summer weekends. And it’s easy to see why. While the trail is on the longer side, the grade is mostly gentle and the trail is clear and well-maintained, making this hike approachable for most hikers. The destination is stunning; on a sunny day the reflection of snow-covered mountaintops in the lake is an impressive sight. And, if that wasn’t enough, getting a close-up look at massive MacIntosh Falls is more than worth a four mile hike. We recommend this hike for almost everyone, though be prepared to share the views if you go on a weekend.
There's a lot more to Goat Lake and Elliot Creek, and you can learn all about it in our book, Hiking Through History Washington. You'll find a trail map, route descriptions, history, and more for this and many more hikes throughout the State. Help support hikingwithmybrother.com and the work we do by picking up a copy!
To get there, take I-5 North to Exit 194. Follow Highway 2 for about two miles. Stay in the left lane and merge onto Lake Stevens Highway 204. Follow for two miles to Highway 9. Take the left onto Highway 9 toward Lake Stevens. In just under two miles, you’ll reach Highway 92 to Granite Falls. Take a right and follow for about nine miles to the Mountain Loop Highway. Follow the MLH for a little over 30 miles to the end of the pavement. Continue another three and a half miles to FR 4080. Take a right and follow FR 4080 about a mile to the Elliott Creek Trailhead. – Nathan
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