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Thread: Goat Lake, Sawtooths

  1. #1

    Goat Lake, Sawtooths

    Not far from Stanley Idaho is the Iron Creek trailhead. It is the beginning of a well-beaten path that leads to Sawtooth lake. However, if one talks to some of the “locals” (none of them are from Idaho) in Stanley, and, if they like you…they may give you some good advice and recommend smaller but less visited Goat Lake instead. About a mile into the hike to Sawtooth lake there is a trail that splits off to the left and crosses a creek. This skirts a large mountain and leads toward Goat Falls. Enjoy the boulder slide on the right and think to yourself “that is the boulder field that idiot Duke went up (with a full pack) because he was just looking at the GPS direction and not the map”. A couple/few miles later (on the trail not my boulder slide) , up the switchbacks, over the top and near the drop on the other side is a sign posting a little used trail dropping down into the valley and someone has hand carved “Goat 0.8 miles” into the sign with a hand carved arrow pointing toward the more frequented trail that goes to the right and leads to Goat Falls. A smaller but very high and long waterfall is visible or soon visible and for us, June 28th, it was audible at that point. This waterfall fills a small lake or large pond seen below that is known as Little Goat though that may not be the official name. As one proceeds on this trail it soon has a split; one leading down toward Little Goat and the long waterfall and one leading up that seems to go nowhere. Up to this point the trail is no problem with one small log crossing and one bridge crossing and no boulders, etc. However, from this point it turns to an expert backpack route. Less expert for day hikers but precarious for backpackers. A steep, granite gravel route goes up with many ways, none of which is the “right” way, just keep going up toward the now obvious destination. Footing is unsteady but doable. A short handline may be nice and the top hiker could lower it to the next person to steady the climb. However, you will eventually be rewarded with the real Goat Falls. A word of warning; between the boulder slide previously mentioned and Goat falls we picked up 3 ticks on the way in and 1 on the way out. Permethrin treatment is recommended. Anyway, this unsteady, gravel route finally ends but is replaced by a boulder field. It is unlikely that you will see a piece of my shin skin on one of these boulders but rest assured that it was once there. The boulder field is slow going. There is a creek below, but when we were there is was snowed in so I don’t know if there is a route by it or not, but it does lead to your destination. One arrives at the outlet. When we were there it was packed with a log jam that was steady enough to be used as a bridge and we found a tent location and some lame fire rings near the lake on the other side. Most of this was snow covered so I cannot comment on more than ours. One does need to cross to find a camp site.

    As you will see from the photos, we found the lake completely snowed in and frozen, June27 2012, but the spectacular beauty made up for it.
    Attached Images Attached Images                
    Last edited by DesertDuke; 08-08-2012 at 08:42 PM. Reason: adding vid

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  3. #2
    Yeah, what's up with Idaho getting so much snow this year? Couldn't you have sacrificed some to even out with Utah and Colorado?

    Looks like a great trip!
    Just where is it I could find bear, beaver, and other critters worth cash money when skint?

  4. #3
    Great stuff! Yep, lotta snow!

  5. #4
    Great trip report and nice pictures.

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