Wilderness: Goat Rocks

Area Status: Open

The 108,023 acre Goat Rocks Wilderness is a part of the volcanic Cascade Mountain Range in southwestern Washington located between Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams. The Goat Rocks are remnants of a large volcano, extinct for some two million years.  A portion of Goat Rocks Wilderness is within the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Glaciation and erosion have worn away at the terrain here, leaving moderate summits on both sides of the crest of the Cascades. The elevation in the Goat Rocks ranges from 3,000 feet to 8,201 feet at Gilbert Peak. The deep east-west drainages below the ridges often open into park-like alpine meadows dotted with small lakes and even smaller ponds.

Annual snowfall typically equals more than 25 feet, not melting entirely until late July or early August and keeping the ponds and lakes full in the warmer months. Pikas and marmots inhabit areas above timberline, while the more reserved deer and elk have been sighted at lower elevations.  Mountain goats frequent the higher elevations. Much of the 120-mile trail system stays on the ridges at or above timberline.

The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000 (PCT) wanders north-south through the middle of the Wilderness for 31.1 miles, past 7,930-foot Old Snowy Mountain, where glaciers persist. Approximately 14 other trails climb to eventually join the Pacific Crest  Trail.

In General: Goat Rocks and PCT receive heavy hiker traffic from August to September. Thousands of people  access this wilderness during peak season and people come from all over world to do so. Please always LEAVE NO TRACE Gifford Pinchot National Forest - Outdoor Safety & Ethics (usda.gov) Please always abide by Wilderness Regulations!

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 9/1/23: Trail condition reports for each major trailhead are provided individually at Trail and trailhead information. For fire information please you can visit CowlitzComplex on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cowlitzcomplex/. There are specific trails impacted by 2022 Goat Rocks Forest Order No. 06-03-05-23-01, please see Restrictions Section of this page to learn more about those affected trails. You may find useful or current information from hiker blogs at the following websites All Trails  https://www.alltrails.com or Washington Trail Association https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/snowgrass . Weather conditions can be researched at National Weather Service 
Permit Info: Free Wilderness Permits at trailheads.
Open Season: July - October
Best Season: July, August
Busiest Season: July August
  • Wilderness Regulations apply.  
  • Camping prohibited within 100 feet of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and within 100 feet of lakes.
  • Shoe Lake basin and Snow Grass Flats are closed to camping and campfires; camping is available at Hidden Springs (about 1 mile west of Shoe Lake).
  • The Yakima Indian Reservation, bordering the Goat Rocks Wilderness on the southeast side, is closed to the general public except for the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail route
  • Forest Road 4612 and Spur 46
  • Trail No. 65 (Bluff Lake) Prohibited/CLOSED
  • Trail No. 69 (Three Peaks) Prohibited/CLOSED
Closest Towns: Packwood, WA
Passes: Some trailheads require a valid recreation pass. View our Recreation Passes and Permits page for details. 
Information Center:

General Information


Goat Rocks Wilderness is southeast of Packwood, WA on the crest of the Cascade Range south of U.S. Highway 12. 

Trailhead/Trails that access Goat Rocks Wilderness within Gifford Pinchot National Forest:

Topo Maps

Hamilton Buttes, Jennies Butte, Ohanapecosh Hotsprings, Old Snowy Mountain, Packwood Lake,  Pinegress Ridge, Spiral Butte, Walupt Lake, White Pass.

Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps.

Buy maps online

Go to the maps page to download or order maps. You can also purchase the maps in person at Gifford Pinchot National Forest offices.


Go to Wilderness.net for online maps and other important Wilderness information.

General Notes:

Other Trails within Goat Rocks Wilderness within Gifford Pinchot National Forest:

See also: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Goat Rocks Wilderness information.


Day Hiking


Horse Riding

Viewing Wildlife

Viewing Plants

Viewing Scenery

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Elevation : 
1991' - 8184'