Still one of my favourite North Shore summits, Goat is tough enough to feel like a bit of a workout but not so tough that you don’t get to savour the hike. The views are as superb as ever, and the subalpine terrain on Goat Ridge makes for delightful hiking, although I think much of the trail is actually not that easy to hike. The only downside is access: either requiring a hike up the BCMC or the Grind beforehand, or paying over $60 for the gondola ride.
All-day parking at Grouse remains at $4, and finding a space was much easier than our previous visit on the Labour Day weekend. The entrance fee is now $59 plus tax, which seems excessive to me. Thankfully we had our Sea to Sky Gondola passes which are currently being honoured at Grouse.
The trail was pretty much a mess of rocks, roots, and mud the entire way. To be honest, it’s not actually a great trail. It was always a good workout, but now it feels like some parts are very badly eroded. The recent rain has definitely made the trail muddier than when we hiked to Crown last month, and the many tree roots were slick. We soon regretted forgetting our hiking poles. There were yellow trail markers nailed to the trees to mark the way, a couple of which have been fashioned into arrows to provide directional assistance. A fixed chain provided help in one section, and some lightweight polypropylene rope has been tied to trees on the steep and very badly eroded approach to the summit. Not entirely necessary, at least going up, but may be helpful on the descent. No snow anywhere, but we could see a dusting on the upper sections of Cathedral Mountain.
Apart from a couple of tricky spots, the trail onto Goat Ridge was simply lovely. We only went as far as the next bump and just enjoyed the view, but we know it’s great subalpine rambling.
Autumn colours were a bit past peak, with many berry bushes and mountain ash trees already losing their leaves. Our only flower sightings were the rusty-brown seed heads of leatherleaf saxifrage, green fringed grass of Parnassus, partridgefoot, and heather.
Ravens joined us at the summit (where someone was feeding them despite my subtle attempts to suggest it was a bad idea), a couple of Steller’s jays screeched in the trees, chickadees sang their songs, dark-eyed juncoes chipped away, and we saw a bobbing wren. Lots of fungi as expected. And the captive grizzlies were intimidating to watch.
Be sure to fill out the backcountry travel slip as you hit the trail. (Seemed like many people did so on this trail today.)
Distance: 8.5 km
Elevation gain: 440 m (cumulative)
Time: 4.5 hours (inc 30 min exploring the summit and another half hour for lunch)
This year has seen us hike up two different Goat Mountains. It’s been over eight years since we last hiked up this one, a peak that we fell in love with not long after moving here and have hiked six times previously (according to our hike database).