Commonly Backpacked · Fishing · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers
Wilderness permits are required with daily quotas. The Piute Pass Trail
is very popular. Normally a percentage of permits are reserved as walk-in permits, but these are not available in 2020 because of Covid-19.
Need to Know
No campfires are allowed anywhere in the area.
For beauty, Goethe Lake must be near the top 1% in the Sierra. It is only 0.7 miles and 300 feet above the outlet to Muriel Lake, so it is surprising that no official trail goes to it. Once you cross the Muriel Lake outlet, a clear trail-of-use climbs south along the top of a low ridge leading towards Goethe Lake. This part is easy, but after about 1/4th mile, it gets a little steeper as the trail threads is way among the rocks, sticking to the low grass and rocky dirt as much as possible.
This leads to a short, steep section where the trail is hard to follow and you have to hike across medium-sized talus. At 0.5 miles we reach a point about 30 feet above a grass and flowery meadow that leads to the lower Goethe Lake. There is good camping at the lake.
Actually, the name, "Goethe Lake" properly applies to the upper lake, which is bigger and a few feet higher than the lower lake. I've used the name for the lower lake, because it is much better suited as the primary target for hiking or camping.
The upper lake is surrounded by talus and other rock and there is no good camping spots, at least on the near side. It can only be reached by scrambling over rock and talus on the west side of the lower lake. The upper lake is barren, but it sits dramatically below Mt. Goethe and its glacier.
Shared By: Lee Watts