North Cascade Mountain Goats

North Cascade Mountain Goats frequent the high country. Many July and August hikes in the North Cascades National Park will include encounters.


Sahale Glacier Camp is a common place to meet north cascade mountain goats. Here, above the timberline, the goats roam at will among the stark crags and serrated peaks.

The motivation for their visit to the Sahale Camp is salt.

There is a toilet at the edge of camp with an utterly jaw dropping view but campers are asked to pee on the rocks.

Urine is very salty, and so many ‘salt licks’ are nearby.

I have visited many times and had the pleasure of conducting several goat photo shoots. I have learned over time to be sure to pee in a spot that is advantageous to composing a cool image!

This last August I made the trek, hoping to encounter more north cascades mountain goats and was not disappointed. The goat arrived early , I scurried about to get on warm things, grab the camera and get busy.

Sahale Goat 2

The goat was near another tent pad close by and I ambled over, slowly arcing behind our visitor, so as to have a background of a sea of peaks.

Hiking there is no picnic, its about 6 miles and 4,000 feet of elevation gain. But most of the steep section is out on the open, along Sahale Arm. Here the views are so stunning that you almost don’t notice the effort.

North Cascades Photo Tours are available here, and to other locations in the North Cascades.

After a bit I sat and kept shooting away until the goat started to show an interest in me. I happily kept on, once in a while looking up to see exactly how close he was willing to come.

Its a wondrous thing to meet up, close up, with an animal in the wilderness. The feeling of wildness is palpable, evoking memories of a distant past when things were more…uneven.

I like that feeling. And so I go back for my next dose of freedom.

North Cascade Mountain Goats

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