waterfall in Central Idaho

Why Goat Lake in Idaho Is One of the Best Hikes

When searching for the best Central Idaho adventures, there are more than a few that come to mind. From river rafting voyages to horseback riding excursions, you can experience an array of outdoor activities that are unique to the Sawtooth Mountains. However, a hike up to Goat Lake, Idaho, is one of our favorite journeys. The combination of exciting trails, breathtaking views, and gorgeous scenery makes this hidden gem second to none in our area.

If you want to discover more waterfalls, hiking paths, and other outdoor activities, request access to our free Adventure Guide!

Your Guide to Hiking to Goat Lake, Idaho

Getting There

The hike up to Goat Lake, Idaho, begins at the Iron Creek Trailhead. If you’re staying at Triangle C Cabins, take a left out of our parking lot onto Highway 21. You’ll drive about two miles until you reach dusty Forest Road 619. Follow this road to the end where there is parking across from Iron Creek Campground. All in all, it’s only about a 15-minute drive!

Hiking to Goat Lake on the Iron Creek Trail

Start your journey to Idaho’s Goat Lake start on Iron Creek Trail, which you’ll follow for about a mile until you officially reach the Sawtooth Wilderness. Take a left at the marked junction onto the Alpine Way Trail, which you will travel on for about a half-mile before beginning a steep ascent toward majestic Goat Lake and Goat  Falls.

The trail continues up to Goat Lake, Idaho, for another mile and a half before almost disappearing to the north of the falls. This is a great place to stop and take the short detour down to the waterfall viewing area. Goat Falls is the largest waterfall in the Sawtooth Mountains, so it’s a must-see during your visit to Stanley. After enjoying a snack and soaking in the stunning views of the gorgeous waterfall cascading down the side of the mountain, muster up the strength to tackle the last 600 feet of your hike up to Goat Lake, Idaho. 

If you love breathtaking views, prepare yourself for one of the most incredible mountain scenes in the Sawtooths. The crystal clear water of the alpine lake combined with surrounding mountains and the roar of Goat Fall creates a one-of-a-kind setting. Once you take plenty of pictures and take a deep breath of fresh mountain air, head back down the same trail to complete your 8.1-mile round trip! 

Tip: Please use wise trail practices and be extremely mindful of your responsibility to be a steward of this truly unique and incredible area during your hike. Just by doing little things like packing out all of your trash, sticking to the trail, not flying drones, and being courteous of other hikers, you can help us preserve home. 

Trail Difficulty

Overall, the trek to Goat Lake, Idaho, features several difficulty levels, depending on which part of the trail you’re traveling. The first segment of the Alpine Way Trail is easy, but as you continue up the steeper inclines, the difficulty increases. Areas of the well-worn trail can be challenging to decipher, and several steep inclines are tough to traverse. If you can get through the middle portion of the hike, it’s well worth your time and effort! We rate the hike as moderately difficult, but most hikers should be able to make the journey with relative ease!

What to Pack

Although the trek up to Goat Lake in Idaho is only a day hike, it’s still critical that you pack a backpack with plenty of essentials to make sure you have a fun and safe experience. 

  • First Aid Kit
  • A rain jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug repellent
  • A backup pair of comfy socks
  • A couple of thermal layers (if hiking in winter or spring)
  • A camera (of course)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Snacks and water

Discover Your Inner Adventurer at Triangle C Cabins

If you want to make the most of your adventure to Central Idaho’s wilderness, book a stay at Triangle C Cabins! Our 10 unique cabins feature a mix of rustic accents with modern comforts—perfect for all adventurers! When you stay with us, you also get complimentary access to all of the activities and dining options at nearby Redfish Lake Lodge. All you have to do is reserve a free spot on the Redfish Lake Shuttle! Don’t forget to check out our collection of Adventure Bundles for more ways to explore the Sawtooths.

Triangle C Cabins entry sign

Start planning your trip by booking one of our cabins today! We also have three sister properties in town that provide incredible experiences if you can’t find availability during your selected dates. We look forward to welcoming you to our mountain oasis.