Hawkeye Point from PCT Goat Lake
Hawkeye Point is the high summit overlooking Goat Lake in the Goat Rocks Wilderness
. It is aptly named. We saw hundreds of birds hovering over a neighboring subpeak. A trail goes all the way to its summit which once held a lookout station. In the summer, the way to the summit is little more than a hike. Before mid-July, with abundant snow cover, this outing will be a beautiful snow scramble. You will encounter meadows with great wildflowers. This is an easy summit with big rewards.
Hawkeye Point is possible in a long day (from either of two possible trailheads, it will be about a 16 mile day. Combine this with the fact that the trailhead is a long drive from practically anywhere, this trip will be much more practical as an overnighter. Luckily, Hawkeye Point lies in some of the greatest camping country of the Pacific Northwest.
Hawkeye Point Along Lily Basin Trail
Drive US12 south from Packwood 2.5 miles and turn east on Johnson Creek road #21. At 15.7 miles turn left on Road #2150 and at 18.5 miles turn left onto road #(2150)014, in 19 miles from Packwood coming to Berry Patch and the trailhead, elevation 4600 feet. Set out on the Snow Grass Flat Trail #96A, hiking to Snowgrass Flat in about 4 miles. At the junction with the Lily Basin Trail (#86) head due north on Trail #86, going another 3 miles to the top of Goat Ridge and a junction with the Goat Ridge Trail (#95). From this point, head 1/4 mile north, still on the Lily Basin Trail, to an unmaintained trail heading northeast up the ridge to the summit of Hawkeye Point. When the snow has melted, this is a Class 1 trail hike. Earlier than mid-July, expect to find steep snow patches which will turn this into a true scramble.
Alternatively, one can approach Hawkeye Point from the northern end of the Lily Basin Trail. Either way, the distance to Hawkeye Point is about 8 miles one way. Accordingly, it makes sense to make this a multi-day trip to enjoy this beautiful area at your leisure.
Summit Trail Johnson Peak
This area lies within the Goat 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 To say that the information they provided us was out of date would be an understatement.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
There are numerous camps in this area. Snowgrass Flat has great camps, as does the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail just north of Snowgrass Flat. If coming from the north, there are numerous good campsites east of Johnson Peak along the Lily Basin trail, as well as at Heart Lake. There are no campfires allowed in the Wilderness area, but there are no restrictions otherwise.