OverviewGoat Rocks Wilderness complex of peaks, and is the last peak at the edge of the Goat Rocks to reach over 7000 feet. This peak is probably not climbed very frequently, but it is not all that remote or difficult. The main difficulty in climbing Johnson Peak is that, before August, the access trail will have very steep snow slopes covering the trail in places, and the access to the summit ridge will have very steep snow slopes. Before August and perhaps even September, knowledge of how to use an ice ax is absolutely crucial.
Johnson Peak provides wonderful views of other Goat Rocks Wilderness peaks such as Hawkeye Point, Old Snowy-Ives Peaks, and Mount Curtis-Gilbert, not to mention great views of Mt. Rainier directly to the north. This is a relatively easy scramble with great views in all directions.
Take the Lily Basin Trail #86 5.5 miles to below the Southwest Ridge of Johnson Peak. Climb steep snow slopes to intersect the ridge, then climb 1 mile to the summit. Elevation gain: 2600 feet. Roundtrip distance: 13 miles.
Red TapeGoat Rocks Wilderness. There are no restrictions beyond the use of self-service permits and a NW Trailhead Pass ($30/year). I have found this ranger station to be of very limited help. From my telephone conversations with them, it appears that only a couple of the rangers who work there actually seem to hike. To say that the information they provided us was out of date would be an understatement. To be more cynical, they seemed determined to keep us out of the area, claiming snowcover and conditions were much worse than they actually were. If bound and determined to call this station, the contact information is:
Packwood Ranger District
P.O. Box 559
Packwood, WA 98361