The trail starts out in a new growth forest and you can hear Elliot Creek flowing after about a half mile. You will have to make a decision at the fork whether to take the upper or lower trail to Goat Lake. We took the lower trail to the lake and the upper on the way back. That way we didn't miss anything.
You will see some great waterfalls along the lower path.
Now time to head back down. We went straight to the upper trail this time when we hit the fork.
To get here, drive the Mountain Loop Highway East from Granite Falls. You will pass the Verlot Ranger Station on the left. This hike does require a Forest Pass, so you can stop at the Ranger station if you don't already have one. Continue past the Ranger Station for about 19.5 miles to Barlow Pass (end of the paved road) and enter a gravel road. You will drive on this dirt road for about 4 miles and cross the Elliott Creek Bridge. About .2 miles after the bridge, you will turn right on road No. 4080 and drive for about a mile to the trailhead.