Goat Falls - Visit Rainier

Goat Falls

Area: Chinook Pass
Hike Type: Family-friendly Pass: Northwest Forest Pass
Distance: 1.0 mi RT Duration: 0.75 hr Difficulty Level: Easy
Elevation Start: 2,800 Elevation End: 3,064 Elevation Gain: 238
Snow-Free: March – Nov    

Step out of the car at the trailhead and you can already hear the sound of the rushing water. A short but very scenic trek leads you through the forest and past a series of cascading waterfalls before arriving at your destination at pretty Goat Falls. See the wonderful log cabins along the creek and for a moment, find yourself wishing one of them was yours. Some of these cabins have been a part of the forest scene for many years…one built back in 1931. What an effort to build these amazing cabins, past the end of the road. This quiet forest trail is a treat for the senses, showcasing the beauty of Mother Nature.

During early summer, the water cascading down the hillside is more like a small river than a creek. The result is a series of spectacular waterfalls along the trail, before actually arriving at your destination at Goat Falls, half a mile from the trailhead. The volume of water will decrease dramatically as summer progresses but will continue to amaze your sense of sight, sound, and smell. The many shades of green in the late spring and summer make this the optimum time to visit.

Goat Falls is a sweet waterfall, not extremely large but very picturesque, nestled against a large, rough rock-face. A large boulder splits the water in half and the misty spray is cool and refreshing. A shame the trail doesn’t continue, but this is the end of the road…take a seat on a rock and enjoy the beauty around you before heading back.

I hesitate to call this short trail easy. It’s a steady uphill climb with a few vertical stretches of rocks and tree roots slowing you down a bit. It’s not a trail for the very young or very old. But your dog is sure to love it!

To get to the trailhead follow Highway 410, approximately 32 miles, to Forest Road 7174 (aka the Corral Pass Rd). It’s a dirt road on the left side of the highway just past Alta Crystal Resort. At 0.6 miles, passing by a few cabins, take a right at the “Y”. Take the next left and go 0.2 miles to what looks like a driveway for the cabins on the left (sign with names and numbers in the 90’s). Follow this short road to the Goat Falls trailhead… this is finally clearly marked. I suggest going on a weekday or early in the day on a weekend, as only four parking spaces are located at the trailhead, next to a cabin.

As trails in the forest go, this is a delightful hike taking very little time and not a lot of energy. Sometimes that’s just what is needed to refresh the soul and experience the wilderness not far from the beaten path. It allows time to enjoy a lunch along the way or just a stop for ice cream in Greenwater on the drive back. Get the huckleberry.

– Mary Janosik, Visit Rainier Hiking Expert


Starting Point: 46.99278, -121.51136  

Notable Waypoints:

Trailhead: N 46° 59.996′ W 121° 30.898′
Goat Falls: N 46° 59.914′ W 121° 30.378′