Best time to travel to Idaho

Goat Lake in Idaho

Discover Idaho’s best-kept secret

Best time: late July–September

The Sawtooth National Forest in Central Idaho is home to many beautiful lakes. However, Goat Lake is definitely a gem in the crown. Due to its stunning natural beauty, it has become one of the most photographed spots in the Sawtooth. However, the area is generally not crowded and frequented by tourists.

Goat Lake can be reached by a moderate hike that starts at Iron Creek Trailhead, outside Stanley, Idaho. It's 6.8 mi (10.9 km) both ways. The trail goes through the forest alongside Iron Creek. Enjoy your time at the Sawtooth Wilderness with beautiful nature all around you. Follow Alpine Way Trail, cross a bridge and then begin a steep climb that will get you to spectacular Goat Falls, the largest in the area.

From the falls, you can find an unmarked path to Goat Lake, located west of the falls. You will have to overcome another small climb but will be rewarded with a beautiful view. This is a popular place for campers, but make sure to get an overnight (free) permit at the trailhead.

Since the lake is usually frozen until mid-July, the best time to go is late July, August and also early autumn, but if you wish to see wildflower show, summer is better.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Goat Lake in Idaho?

Goat Lake in Idaho is best visited in Late July, August, and early autumn. In summer, the wildflower show is a spectacle to behold whereas the lake is usually frozen until mid-July. This makes late July, August, and early autumn the perfect time to visit. Visitors can expect great weather during these periods. Show more

Where is Goat Lake located and how do I get there?

Goat Lake is in central Idaho's Sawtooth National Forest. The Iron Creek Trailhead, located outside Stanley, is where you can commence the 6.8-mile, moderate difficulty hike to reach the lake. The hike offers scenic views of the surrounding forest, Goat Falls, and beautiful natural scenery that delights visitors. Show more

What is the hiking distance to Goat Lake from Iron Creek Trailhead?

To reach Goat Lake from Iron Creek Trailhead, a trail of moderate difficulty level awaits visitors. The 6.8-mile or 10.9 km hike along the trail follows through Sawtooth Wilderness, offering natural beauty that visitors will love. The trail also offers views of Goat Falls that are sure to impress. Show more

Are there any permits needed for camping at Goat Lake?

A permit is required for overnight lake camping. Visitors can obtain it for free at the trailhead, along with other essential supplies like a map. Basic preparation is essential as many visitors flock to camp at Goat Lake. Ensure you pack enough food and water while obtaining all necessary permits for a hassle-free visit. Show more

What is the best season to visit if you want to see the wildflower show?

The best season to visit Goat Lake if you wish to see the wildflower show is summer. Wildflowers surround the lake at this time of the year, making it an excellent and unique experience. Even so, the best time to visit this stunning lake is generally between late July, August, and early autumn, offering visitors the best experience overall. Show more

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Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva