Gobblers Knob, Mt. Rainier National Park Trip Report
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June 18, 2004
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John is an avid hiker, spending a goodly portion of his time up in the hills, or sitting in front of a computer. Either way, most of what finds his eye is green, or blue, - organic, or lcd. John likes this website, hopes you do too, and invites you to write a review of a couple hikes you've done!
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I live in Federal Way, WA and I enjoy getting out into the great outdoors and hiking and would someday like to make it to the top of Mt. Rainier. When I can't get outside, I'm the IS manager at a marketing firm in Kent.
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Directions: From Tacoma drive 40 miles south on Highway 7 to Elbe and go east 10 miles on Highway 706 towards the Mount Rainier National Park Nisqually Entrance Station. On the way about 5 minutes from the park entrance turn left on Forest Service Road 59. Follow this road 4.5 miles to the crest of the hill. There is a junction here take the gradual downhill slope for another couple miles until the road ends.
Trail Notes: There are a couple ways one can approach Gobblers Knob. The first is to drive into the park, take the West Side road to where it ends, hike or better still ride your mountain bike about five miles on the road and catch the trail to Gobblers Knob. The second way to get to Gobblers Knob is to take the forest service road right before entering the park and approach this way. We did the later. The road is nice, and passable by a normal car, no SUV required.
The trail itself is in pretty good shape starting out in already in fairly montain surroundings. The air was crisp which was quite surprising given the predicted highs for this day in the mid 80's in the lowlands. The tail begins fairly gently, en route to Beljica Meadows. Getting to Beljica Meadows only takes about 20 minutes or so and is a very nice 1/2 mile or so primer for the rest of the hike. From Beljica Meadows the trail continues gradually gaining a little elevation and splits into one trail headed towards Goat Lake and Gobblers Knob, and another headed to Lake Christine. Take the appropriate trail for your destination.
The trail then rounds the ridge, on a traverse while the valley floor drops away. Shortly thereafter the trail begins a decent down towards Goat Lake. Goat Lake appears to be a fairly pristine mountain lake, and apparently also supports brook trout, though from what I could tell they appear to be finicky eaters.
From Goat lake the trail takes on a steeper demeanor and starts up the slope in earnest towards Gobblers Knob. There is one big switch back, if there is such a thing and you reach the park boundary. For all you Geology Nuts there is a 1906 USGS marker there! The trail keeps on keeping on and eventually arrives at a ridge crest. Beyond this ridge crest the trail drops a little elevation and spurs off with the uphill trail headed towards Gobblers Knob. There still is a couple snow patches on the East facing slope which might have you moving right past the spur. Only should take five to ten minutes to reach the spur. From here the trail reaches its steepest though it still isn't bad and offers the first on trail views of Rainier.
Shortly you will find yourself on top enjoying lunch or whatever on the fire lookout itself. If you are lucky you will be able to see Bachelor, and St. Helens. We did, but the weather wasn't very cooperative with us. In fact it thundered there pretty much continuously.
As fire lookouts go this one is pretty nice, though still I prefer the one on Tolmie peak. Oh and as a last word there are about a half dozen downed trees along the way, only one of which requires any real finagling. And yes you might actually get some solitude on this on. We enjoyed the lookout for about 1.5 hours seeing nary a soul. Lastly, this trail appears pretty flat, and compared to most it is, still the terrain does undulate quite a bit, so don't think it is a cake walk either. Enjoy.
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Reviewed By: Anonymous on Thursday, April 18, 2013 @ 08:35:25 PM
Review: It was a great hike, although bug infested it was still worth the it. My friend and I hiked in from just beyond the summit of the copper creek forestry road, much more scenic and simple hike for the less experience hikers. The trail begins with a nice smooth beautiful hike down to lake george where you have many options for camping, then it begins to climb drastically towards gobbler's knob with switchbacks and some not so great trail sections that can be quite dangerous for the un-experienced. The lookout is a fantastic sight with views that you can only dream of, just dont forget to bring bug spray for the hike up!
Reviewed By: Milt on Monday, August 3, 2009 @ 08:01:36 PM
My first option of the day was a hike to Indian Henry's. I took the Westside Road to its dead end parking area and my plan was to take a trail to IH that was marked on the park's map. It was a trail that runs parallel and a bit South of the South Puyallup Trail. After getting to the abandoned Tahoma picnic area, I figured I passed the trail head. I found out later from other hikers thar the trail I wanted is unmaintained and the marker for this trailhead was a barrel for "blue bags".
So, onto plan B - Gobbler's Knob lookout. I think there is about 3 miles of somewhat boring Westside Road to get to the trailhead from the parking area. I noticed that there was a bike rack if you want to shave a ton of time on your way back via moutain bike. Also, the Tahoma Marine Memorial (the 1946 plane crash) is just a couple of yards away from the Lake George/Gobbler's Knob trailhead. On the Westside Road, I was averaging one hiker going the other way every 1/2 mile. Once I started onto Lake George/Gobbler's Knob trail, I only saw one hiker for the rest of the day. This on a Monday in early August. The lone hiker I passed had a big white dog with him (isn't that a no-no?). Anyway, the trail to Lake George is about near perfect and well maintained. Lake George is an awsome place to camp, but my mission was Gob's Knob. I think it's about 1.6 miles to the lookout. The trail was nice up to a point, but got a bit ragged around the edges in places. There were dozens of soul sucking switchbacks to the top. Probably not much of a problem for the pros, but for average people, it might as well be a sweaty, bug infested gauntlet. Once you first see the lookout high above, you think your journey is nearly over. Well no, more switchbacks!
When I finally arrived, I was treated to a newly restored lookout and awsome views. Perfect for a picnic. The moutain looked great and off in the distance was Mt. St. Helens. Just enough wind to keep the mosquitoes away and for some reason the big flys ignored me on the deck. I was going to give this trip a 3 star, but the views at the top adds another star.
Reviewed By: Joel on Friday, August 17, 2007 @ 05:36:11 PM
Just got back this evening from George Lake. While at the lake, my dad and I climbed up to the observation point on Gobblers Knob. It was a fairly steep but short trail from the lake (about 1.5 miles). The view of Rainier was pretty nice when the clouds were not in the way. Well worth the climb, because it is the only area where trees don't block the view of the mountain and glaciers. The hike from the parking lot to the lake is 4.5 miles of pretty UNscenic road (which has been washed out and closed to vehicles). It is worth it though!
Reviewed By: chelsea on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 @ 10:29:13 AM
Review: It is soo hard to walk up to the top of it
Reviewed By: carebear012580 on Tuesday, June 28, 2005 @ 10:32:22 PM
Review: My boyfriend and best friend and I hiked this as a day hike. I wish we had started earlier because once we reached the lookout we didn't want to leave. At the lookout-It was cloudy for the first 15 minutes or so and cleared breifly showing a picturesque view of Mount Rainier. We didn't know what to expect so it was an awesome suprise. We are hiking back for a weekend long campout (late July) and hope to have an even better view in better weather. We went on a overcast day in late May. The hike was not too difficult although it has difficult spots such as the last .5 mile to the lookout, switchbacks and some thin trails with drop offs. Definately worth it!
Reviewed By: Sal on Friday, March 25, 2005 @ 03:44:56 PM
Review: I hiked up to Gobbler’s Knob back in November of 2001. Pretty nice hike and we had nice weather. The only memorable thing that happened was: While we were sitting up on the rocks sunning ourselves, a guy in his mid-thirties or so came up with a couple ten or twelve year old kids. None of them had any back packs at all, so I figure of the ten essentials they had, oh I don’t know, maybe none? I think one of the kids had a sweater draped over his shoulders, otherwise they all just had flannel shirts on. The adult had a pair of boots, but both kids were in tennis shoes. Although it was a nice day out, it was a bit windy and chilly at the summit, and it was November which means at least the possibility of some nasty weather. The last half-mile or so up to the lookout was through snow, so the tennis shoes must have been a bit iffy. Anyway, they get up there, notice the lookout building, and the kid asks me, “Do you know if there’s a drinking fountain here?” I replied, “Uh, no I don’t think there’s a drinking fountain up here.” They stayed about 30 seconds and turned around and headed back down.
Goat Lake and Gobbler's Knob
Reviewed By: Kevin Fry on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 @ 05:40:16 PM
Review: We camped on the eastern shore of Goat Lake on August 13, 20004, and hiked up to Gobbler's Knob. The hike in was nice, but there is a big downed tree blocking the trail about a quarter mile from Lake Christine. Had to take off the packs to go under. Saw very few people. The view from the knob was awesome! St Helens was visible and Rainier looked to be way too close. On the way out we were just beyond Lake Christine and saw a huge black bear. He didn't stick around long!! Not many bugs and the fish at Goat Lake weren't very hungry. Great trip!!
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