Overview : This is an overnight backpacking trip in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. You will be camping at an alpine lake at ... more »
Overview : This is an overnight backpacking trip in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. You will be camping at an alpine lake at ... more »the head of a glacial valley with Mt. Adams perfectly framed in the distance. If you go in the summer you will see hundreds of wildflowers and Goat Rocks Wilderness area is called so for a reason.... you will see goats.. lots of them. You will also see marmots and there is a good chance you may see a herd of elk! less «
Wait until midsummer for this hike as the wildflowers will be in full bloom. It's about a 14 mile hike so it's not to strenuous. I... more » like to pack in a small box of wine for the campsite. Go early to make sure you get a good campsite.
Directions (can be tricky) - From the town of Randle drive 12 miles on Highway 12 to forest service road 21. Turn onto it and drive about 14 miles on the dirt road (all wheel drive is nice here) to forest service road 2150. Turn left onto this and drive 3.5 miles staying right at the Chambers Lake turnoff. Follow the signs to the Berry Patch trailhead (check signs to make sure you are at the one that takes you towards Snowgrass Flats).
Dogs are not allowed because of the marmots, goats and elks. less «
Leaving the trailhead you will enter into a beautiful forest of douglas fir. If you go in July you should be greeted by a forest floor of various wildflowers and lush vegetation.
When you reach Snowgrass Flats take the trail to your left as it crosses a meadow of wildflowers via a trail deeply rutted into the ground. Take a look at the towering peaks around you. What you are actually walking through is a deep layer of rich volcanic ash from the 1980 St. Helens eruption that supports a wide variety of wildflowers.
As you leave the stream crossing you'll climb up a hill and emerge into the true alpine zone. You'll pass by a couple pretty alpine pools of of water and if you look across the valley you may see herds of elk, we did (see pictures below). We thought they were rocks on the snowfields but upon looking at the photos later we saw there were over 50 ... Moreelk. Keep your eye out for marmots and mountain goats from this point on as well. Enjoy the flowers!Less
Walking up the side of this glacially carved valley towards Goat Lake is amazing. There are waterfalls cascading down everywhere with abundant wildflowers. Take lots of photos! You've accomplished most of the climbing by this point. From now it's mostly just a traverse along the valley wall towards Goat Lake a couple hundred feet higher in... More elevation.LessMore Less
Just look at the pictures below. They are from two different trips to this area. Both times we saw multiple marmots and goats. There are about 4-5 campsites in this area. This region is becoming pretty popular so the earlier you get here the better of a chance you will have to get a site. At the southern end of the lake is a beautiful... More waterfall cascading down into the valley below. Just above you a couple hundred feet is goat lake which is frozen well into the summer most years. Set up your tent and get ready for one of the most beautiful sunsets you will ever see illuminating Mt. Adams perfectly framed by the valley in pink alpenglow. Enjoy!LessMore Less
On a clear day from this point you will have a great view of Mt. St. Helens in the distance. Congratulate yourself as you have reached the highpoint of the trip and almost the entire return is downhill. Look down into the next glacial cirque you will descend into. If you've time it right you should be in for a ton more flowers. The trail down ... Moreinto it has a ton of switchbacks. Look for marmots on the way! This is why this trip is so amazing. The new vally you are descending frames a totally different volcano then the one you were in last night.Less
Take your time walking down into this glacial cirque called "Jordan Basin" and enjoy the flowers. Look towards the edge of this area. This is where the trail is. It will lead you over the headwall of the cirque and down into the next valley. There may be snow in this area so look carefully for the trail exit at what looks like the... More edge of the meadow you are in.LessMore Less
Just off the trail is a campsite that is worth exploring for a rest after the descent from Jordan Basin. There is a viewpoint from some nearby rocks back towards where you came from, Jordan Basin. Take some time here to rest as you will have a long descent from here. Take some photos. From here on out you will be mostly in the woods but it... More still is very beautiful.Less
When you pass a trail sign for a loop trail you have the option to take it or keep going. I suggest you take it. It is an extra mile maybe but it brings you to the top of a former fire tower with beautiful views of Mt. Rainier in the distance. If you do this you will have seen a total of 3 massive volcanoes from this hike. This viewpoint will ... Morealso give you great views across the valley to where you were hiking the day before. From here on out the descent steepens. Make sure to rest your knees.Less
If you have two cars you can drop one at this trailhead to save the 0.75 mile flat walk back to Berry Flats. If not, don't worry, it's super easy. I myself dropped my pack with friends and jogged the distance easily to get the car and drive back to pick up my buddies. This is the end of your overnight. You will probably feel tired, but... More hopefully you will feel as I did that it was all well worth the effort. I myself had taken over 300 photos... how many did you take?Less