Saturday, June 11, 2016

Goat Peak - Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, WA

Short (6.5 mile round trip) out-and-back day hike to Goat Peak in the Okanogan - Wenatchee National Forest in Washington. 

The way out is a steady incline the whole way, right from the very start.  The grade is not too bad, but you are working on the way out and you'll fly down on the way back, gaining (and then losing) 3200 ft in elevation from trailhead to the peak view point.  The trail is well distinguished, and single-track.  A few sections require you pay closer attention to your footing, but nothing too extreme.  The trail takes you along a creek at the start, meandering between tree cover and shrubs and rocky exposed areas.

Regardless of how far you go on this trail, you are rewarded with fantastic views as you go of Fife's Peak and the evergreen-tree sea below along the way.  This is a good option for an early season day hike, and if you hit it on a day just after rain with some storm clouds brewing, you might just get the benefit I had today - trail to myself, dew-dropped-gemmed leaves abounding. 

 I even got snowed on a bit towards the top, which gave me the sensation that I had walked through the Narnia wardrobe...

Where I stopped to take in the panorama view was just past a talus slope, where I am fairly certain I heard a pika chirping.  The trail onward was labeled the American Ridge Trail, so I went to the top of the rock formation and called that my peak.  However, no sign was present, so I think I might have stopped a bit shy of the peak itself (by about a half mile and 500ft of elevation, the peak being 6473ft), after now reading another review of this hike.  Normally, I plan my hikes by reading reviews prior to hiking - today was an exercise in spontaneity, I just picked a trail from a map and went for it.  Although slightly miffed by this, where I stopped at such an inviting view, how can I really feel badly about it?

Fife's Peak

Stuart Range


In any case, well recommend this hike...even if you don't make it quite to the tippy top.

Unknowingly Not Quite There

Directions to Trailhead:
Drive on 410 to Hells Crossing campground.  I parked on the side of the road opposite the campground - note that a Northwest Forest Pass (or an America the Beautiful Pass) is required for parking.  Before you start hiking fill out a Wilderness Permit (free of charge) right at the trailhead sign.

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