At 105,633 acres, Goat Rocks Wilderness occupies a long stretch of rocky volcanic peaks, alpine meadows, and open mountain country. The wilderness sits just south of Highway 12 (William O. Douglas Wilderness  is on the north side of this route) and is also accessible from the southeast side via Forest Road 21, along with a myriad of other logging roads on the northeast and northwest margins.
A new backcountry permit system is being discussed for Goat Rocks Wilderness; contact Cowlitz Valley Ranger Station (in Randle , 360/497-1100) for details. They can also provide details on snow levels and trail conditions.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) intersects White Pass  as it continues north to Chinook Pass  and south through the Goat Rocks Wilderness on its long path to Canada and Mexico. The PCT follows the crest of the Cascades for 36 miles through the Goat Rocks Wilderness, passing through some alpine meadows but generally following rough terrain 4,200–7,500 feet in elevation.
The two miles between Elk Pass and Packwood Glacier are the most hazardous, but the scenery here is also the most spectacular. The trail is usually snow-free from late July to mid-September, but even in late August you can expect to cross snowfields up to a half mile across, so bring your ice ax and warm clothing—several hikers have died from hypothermia on these exposed ridges.
For a fine but oft-crowded 13-mile loop trip, begin at the Berry Patch trailhead near Chambers Lake Campground at the end of Forest Road 2150 on the southwest side of the wilderness. The Snowgrass Trail (No. 96) climbs past high meadows near Snowgrass Flat, well known for its summertime wildflowers; there is no camping here. From here, you can connect with the PCT, or follow Lily Basin Trail (No. 86) along the ridge, and then return via exposed Goat Ridge Trail (No. 95) to your starting point.