Welcome to the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area!
Nestled between Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams, the Goat Rocks Wilderness is a stunning part of the Cascade Mountain Range, offering visitors an unforgettable experience. With its diverse range of ecosystems and wildlife, this 108,023-acre wilderness is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
The terrain in the Goat Rocks Wilderness has been shaped by glaciation and erosion, resulting in moderate summits on both sides of the Cascades crest. Visitors can expect to see a wide variety of wildlife, including pikas, marmots, deer, elk, and mountain goats.
The Goat Rocks Wilderness has over 120 miles of trails ranging from moderate to strenuous in difficulty. Visitors can also enjoy seasonal outdoor activities such as fishing, horseback riding, and wildlife watching.
The Goat Rocks Wilderness is a dog-friendly destination. Visitors can bring their furry friends with them on their outdoor adventures. However, it’s important to keep in mind that dogs must be under control at all times and should never disturb the wildlife or other visitors. It’s also important to pack out all pet waste to help preserve the natural beauty of the area. With these guidelines in mind, you and your canine companion can have a great time exploring the scenic trails and wilderness of the Goat Rocks area. Dogs can be in the wilderness, but be aware of impact on wildlife and potential conflicts. Always dispose of your adventure pup’s waste responsibly.
To plan a visit to the Goat Rocks Wilderness
Before you visit be aware of permit and fee requirements, as well as any regulations for camping or hiking in the area. Additionally, visitors should prepare for the unique weather patterns in this area, which include an annual snowfall of more than 25 feet that typically lasts until late July or early August. For the best hiking experience in the Goat Rocks Wilderness, visitors should plan their visit between the end of July and October. July and August offer spectacular wildflower displays, but also bring the highest mosquito activity. To protect themselves, visitors should consider using permethrin-treated clothing and applying a small amount of 30% DEET to exposed skin. Mid-August through September is also an excellent time to explore the area when crowds and bugs begin to thin out.
Please note that wilderness permits are required for all overnight stays in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. Self-issuing permits are free and available at trailheads and Forest Service Ranger Stations. Additionally, camping is prohibited within 100 feet of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and within 100 feet of lakes. These regulations are in place to protect the natural environment and wildlife of the area, so please follow them accordingly. Before visiting the Goat Rocks Wilderness, be aware of permit and fee requirements, as well as any regulations for camping or hiking in the area. Wilderness permits are required, and the self-issuing permits are free and available at trailheads and Forest Service Ranger Stations. Two ranger stations service the Goat Rocks Wilderness. On the western, Gifford Pinchot National Forest side, is the Cowlitz Valley Ranger Station. On the eastern, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest side, is the Naches Ranger Station. Camping is prohibited within 100 feet of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and within 100 feet of lakes.
Area Lodging Near Goat Rocks Wilderness Area
Extend your stay! With scenery this pretty you’re going to need to stay a minimum of two nights to fully appreciate the area. There are over 80 lodges, vacation rentals and cabins in Packwood. Additional options for camping are available, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area. Click here to view area accommodations.
Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000: This 31.1-mile trail runs through the heart of the wilderness and offers stunning views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, and other peaks. It’s a popular trail for thru-hiking and backpacking.
Snowgrass Flat Trail #96: This 6.4-mile trail is one of the most popular hikes in the area, offering spectacular wildflower displays in July and August.
Old Snowy Mountain Trail #95: This 6.8-mile trail offers stunning views of the Goat Rocks and surrounding peaks. It’s a challenging hike but well worth the effort.
Goat Lake Trail #95A: This 5.2-mile trail leads to a beautiful alpine lake and is a popular destination for day hikes and overnight trips.
Lily Basin Trail #86: This 8.8-mile trail offers stunning views of Mt. Adams and the Goat Rocks, as well as beautiful wildflower displays in the summer.
We encourage all visitors to practice Leave No Trace principles and recreate responsibly during their visit to the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area. This means minimizing our impact on the environment and preserving the natural beauty of the area for future generations. Here are some tips:
- Carry the “Ten Essentials”
- Pack out all trash and litter, including food scraps and toilet paper.
- Stay on designated trails to prevent damage to fragile ecosystems.
- Avoid disturbing wildlife by keeping a safe distance and using binoculars or a camera instead of approaching them.
- Use established campsites, and follow any regulations for camping and campfires in the area.
- Respect other visitors and their experience by keeping noise levels down and leaving areas as you found them.
- The Goat Rocks Wilderness Area is a no-drone zone.
- Communicate your travel plans to a buddy for safety, as cell phone service in this area is spotty at best. Please note that medical services are a long way out in some of these areas, and the local Search and Rescue teams can often take a very long time to reach people.
By following these simple guidelines, we can all enjoy the beauty of the Goat Rocks Wilderness while minimizing our impact on the environment. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to experience the stunning beauty and unique terrain of the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area. Plan your visit today! For more information, including permit requirements and trail maps, visit the Gifford Pinchot National Forest website.