After access along Snowshoe Trail
, an old fire road, this hike becomes a challenging climb up the Goat Lake Trail
, with increasingly better views as one gets higher. At the top of the climb, nestled in a small valley surrounded by Avion Ridge and peaks of the Continental Divide, is Goat Lake, a small sub-alpine lake.
This hike starts from the Red Rock Canyon parking lot. After crossing the bridge over Red Rock Creek, continue straight, onto the Snowshoe Trail
. Snowshoe Trail
is a flat, wide trail that follows an old fire road. It goes through fir forests and small open meadows with views of the surrounding peaks. After about 1.4 miles, Snowshoe Trail
emerges from the forest and crosses a wide stream bed. It then re-enters the forest, goes for about another .7 miles, again emerges from the forest to cross another stream bed, and re-enters the forest. Both of these streams are wide, with plenty of rocks to cross on without getting too wet. In late summer, one can easily cross and stay dry.
The intersection with the Goat Lake Trail
is on the right, about .8 miles after the second stream. This is 2.9 miles from this hike's starting point at Red Rock Canyon. Turn right onto the Goat Lake Trail
and begin climbing through the thick fir forest. Views of Anderson Peak and other mountains can be glimpsed through the trees.
After about .8 miles, the trail emerges from the trees onto a steep rocky mountain side. The trail is exposed, narrow, strewn with gravel, and tilts sideways as it traverses this mountain side. At the end of this traverse are a few bushes that provide welcome hand holds, and then a few switchbacks. At these switchbacks, the trail becomes less precarious - less exposed, a bit wider, and no longer tilting sideways down the mountain. Looking up towards Goat Lake, is a tall narrow waterfall that is the Goat Lake output stream. Goat Lake is above the top of this waterfall, although one can't see it yet. Also from this vantage point, looking out across the Bauerman Creek Valley (the valley Snowshoe Trail
goes through) one can see a line of peaks - Anderson Peak, Lost Mountain, and Mt. Bauerman (left to right).
After the switchbacks on the open mountain side, the trail re-enters the forest and continues to climb until it reaches Goat Lake's output stream behind the top of the waterfall. The stream is shallow with plenty of rocks for crossing. Cross the stream and pick up Goat Lake Trail
on the other side. The rest of the trail is relatively flat and weaves through trees. Goat Lake is reached after a few hundred more yards. There is a primitive campsite here, and one can wander among the trees and down to Goat Lake's shore. The far side of Goat Lake is the wall of Avion Ridge and peaks of the Continental Divide.