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Rocky Mountain Goats

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Rock Hill, South...
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Rocky Mountain Goats

Good evening. We are on the 1st day of a 17 day trip of Washington State and will be visiting Olympic National Park for 4 days towards the end of our trip. My wife has always wanted to see Rocky Mountain Goats in the wild, however we are in our senior years and are only average hikers. I have been following Kaleberg and Glaciermeadows in this forum for about the last year and really value their input and the input of others. Any assistance would be appreciated. Thank you, Mark.

western WA
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1. Re: Rocky Mountain Goats

I'm no help, but we just saw family of goats up above the treeline on the Beartooth highway. The baby goat was one of the cutest things I have ever seen. Mom and Dad looked pretty ratty with last winter's matted coat still lumpily in evidence.

Here's hoping you find some.

Poulsbo, Washington
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2. Re: Rocky Mountain Goats

I have to be honest with you they are seen on the upper craggy slopes in the Olympics. Areas include Mt Elinore, Mt Olympus and the Hurricane Ridge area. You really have to gain some relatively steep elevation to see them. I have never had a problem with them, but they do not fear hikers and can be a bit of a nuisance. If you have not heard a hiker was gored by one a couple of years ago around Kahlane Ridge. Tragically he bled to death before he could be rescued. First report of this happening, but they can be aggressive especially in Autumn. I have seen them at lower elevations just above the tunnels on the way to Hurricane Ridge in early Spring.

The bottom line is without some steep hiking you will need some luck and a pair of binoculars to see them. Instead head for the Hoh and Quinault Valleys and look for Roosevelt Elk. They are very active durring the rut and you can hear the bulls bugling. Keep your distance. Look for them in open fields feeding on grass.

Port Angeles, WA
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3. Re: Rocky Mountain Goats

Mark, I appreciate your desire to see these interesting animals, but for several reasons you probably won't be able to. It may even be for the best. The goats, obviously, are alpine creatures. The only really accessible trail where you have a chance of seeing them is the Hurricane Hill Trail. I know that at least one goat is frequenting that area, as the park service has put up a warning sign, but I have never seen a goat up there. Take the trail anyway, though; it's an absolute delight, and the elevation gain is only 700 feet.

Goats are most often seen in the Klahane Ridge area, the cliffs above Lake Angeles, and the backcountry. Reaching any of these areas requires strenuous hiking. As if this weren't enough, the rangers are now doing everything short of murder to discourage goats from park trails. It turns out that these creatures are more dangerous than anyone would have expected. A few years ago, an experienced hiker was killed by a mountain goat right on Klahane Ridge. It was the only animal related fatality in the entire history of ONP and a real wake-up call to all of us. In the unlikely event you do see a goat, keep your distance.

Eugene, Oregon
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4. Re: Rocky Mountain Goats

heraldnet.com/article/…708309848

Coincidentally, this AP article appeared in papers throughout the NW today. This was the easiest to copy and past the webaddress.

ewell, surrey
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5. Re: Rocky Mountain Goats

Hi Mark,

Just like your wife I was keen to see a mountain goat in its natural habitat. At the end of July we hiked the Hurricane Hill Trail and were fortunate to see one at the summit. Having read the warning notice before starting and from our previous trip to Yellowstone, we were aware of the potential danger from wildlife and were careful to keep well away from it. Photos were taken using our zoom lens!

I think we just struck lucky, 5 minutes later the goat had sauntered off into some woodland.

We are no great hikers (mid-fifties), but we managed fine by taking the walk slowly & stopping frequently to admire the view & the wildflowers.

Whilst my daughter & I consider the goat to be one of the highlights of our holiday I’m sure you will see plenty of other magical things in ONP.

I also greatly appreciated all the advice given by Kaleberg, Glaciermeadow & others when we were planning our trip – we had a fabulous time and hope you will too.

Poulsbo, Washington
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6. Re: Rocky Mountain Goats

Glad you had a good time! You are lucky I have seen goat hair and tracks on the way up to Hurricane Hill many times, but never a goat in that location.

philadelphia
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7. Re: Rocky Mountain Goats

This discussion is both interesting and helpful. While wildlife is, of course, wild, before today, I have not given much thought to the dangers of mountain goats (even though it makes sense). We just came back from Glacier National Park. We were lucky to see mountain goats in the distance, but we also saw several up close. On one occasion, we walked around the bend of a trail and a mother and calf were relaxing right next to the trail. We had to be 10 feet from them. After reading this, I am embarrassed to say, we didn't back away. We never got closer, but we did stop, take pictures, and enjoy their cuteness for several minutes. I was so giddy to see them, I didn't really think too much about safety until we had to walk by them (staying on trail) to get back to the parking lot. I knew mother would probably do anything to protect her calf, but she also seemed very comfortable around humans. I hope mountain goats are not fed in Glacier. We saw another loan mountain goat in the parking lot. He, too, was very close to people and didn't seem phased by it. As you would guess, a lot of people stopped to take his picture. I am glad to have seen them in Glacier. I hadn't thought that I might see one next summer in ONP (although clearly a more rare sighting). I will be much more cautious and thoughtful about the experience having read this thread. Thanks!

Poulsbo, Washington
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8. Re: Rocky Mountain Goats

I did see 8 goats on Friday below Kalahne Ridge cooling themselves in a snow field. I have encountered goats several times in the Olympics. They generally ignore people, but they can be inquisitive. I have never been fearfull of any wild animal I have encountered in the backcountry, and I have crossed past with many over the years. The bottom line is they are still wild animals and it is their territory. Respect that, and keep your distance. We have depleted their lands, so distance and quiet is the least we can offer them out of respect.

9. Re: Rocky Mountain Goats

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