Goat Lake
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Turning things around: finally, summer in the Cascades
Both residents and visitors to the Pacific Northwest bemoan the region's seemingly eternal grey skies...But summer turns things around. By July, sun is (almost) reliable and the outdoors pulls you away from the indoor pursuits of bookstores and coffeeshops... The snowpack can linger for a while in the high country around Seattle, but one of the best hiking trails that leads to an alpine lake is just low enough (topping out at about 3100') so that it's usually snow-free by June. Take the Mountain Loop Highway east from the town of Granite Falls to the heart of the Central Cascades. The trail up to Goat Lake meanders along Elliott Creek before switchbacking up next to McIntosh Falls--you'll hear its roar--and then there you are. If the air is still, you'll be greeted with the reflection of Cadet Peak (7186ft/2190m) in the clear waters... Driving time from Seattle to the trailhead about 1hr45min.
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