Goat Lake, Sawtooth Wilderness

Distance: about 8.5 miles (13.7 km) round trip
Elevation: 8,220 ft (2,505 m)
Elevation gain: 1615 ft (492 m)
Date: July 3, 2011
Goat Lake

Goat Lake is a popular mid-length day hike in the northern end of the Sawtooth Wilderness in central Idaho.  To reach Goat Lake, start at the Iron Creek trailhead west of Stanley and head uphill on the gentle grade of the trail that follows Iron Creek towards Sawtooth Lake (the most popular hike in the Sawtooth NRA).  At the intersection with the Alpine Way trail, take a right towards the east and immediately cross Iron Creek.

Follow the trail up the moraine (glacial ridge) and across it until you see the next valley (Goat Creek).  Before the trail turns to descend the ridge, there is a sign with "trail" engraved on it with an arrow pointing to the left while someone has scratched into the sign "Goat Lake" with an arrow to the right.  Follow the hiker trail, which may be blocked at the intersection with the Alpine Way trail and is not maintained.  If you find yourself descending a large distance along this trail, make sure to turn uphill.  There is one tricky section that may cause some confusion, but if in doubt go up the side of the valley a little ways.  When in doubt go up.

Goat Lake

This trail should take you directly to Goat Falls and then up to Goat Lake.  The last section of this trail was covered in several feet of snow and the lake was nearly completely frozen when I visited in early July.  This is not uncommon for lakes in the Sawtooths in early summer, although summer 2011 followed a winter of extraordinary snowfall.

Goat Falls

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