While we have not done the entire goodwater loop, we did get our first taste of this trail a couple of weekends ago. Our goal was to backpack about 6.5 miles in, camp, then backpack the 6.5 miles back out. As we hike and camp the rest of the trail, we will add onto this post!
We ended up only backpacking 4.5 miles in and camping at Cedar Hollow Camp due to arriving at the trail later than we planned on Saturday.
My total pack weight was just over 31 pounds as I was carrying 4.5L of water since there is no real water sources along that portion of the trail. Granted there is the lake and worst case scenario I did have a filter as well as purification drops, but I also knew that the trail runs along a cliff in that part at least and that meant no lake access.
Both my husband and my teenage son (I call him “The Boy”) accompanied me on this trip and had pack weights pretty similar to mine. My husband’s weighed slightly more, but not by much.
We began at Cedar Breaks Trailhead and headed west towards Sawyer Hollow Camp. Due to our late start, we ended up staying at Cedar Hollow Camp instead, which is about 4.5 miles from the trailhead.
The trail was a lot different than I expected. It borders a cliff for pretty much the entire section that we did and was very rocky in most of the locations, which created a really good workout. Either very strong ankles or boots with ankle support are suggested!
The scenery changes constantly from being in the woods, to completely open fields, to a little bit of in between. It is highly suggested to bring sunscreen!
If you go in late Spring, it is beautiful as the cactuses will be in bloom as well as wildflowers!
Cedar Hollow Campsite
We arrived at Cedar Hollow Camp around 4:30 p.m. and were pooped. This is a primitive campground, however, it does have open-air toilets! What I mean by that is that there are two toilets that are literally out in the open in the middle of the camping area (my husband did get a picture, and I will upload it asap).
The campsites are first come, first serve and most have a fire pit, picnic table, and lantern holder. By the time we got there, all the better spots were taken.
The ground here, at most of the sites, is at a slant (as you can tell from the picture below). Great for hammocks (and we were the only tents there) but horrible for tents.
We ended up finding a secluded spot and put our tents up on the most level ground we could find. Funny how “level” as seen to the eye is not the same as laying down trying to sleep! We didn’t sleep well at all. To make matters worse, the rest of the campers all decided to have a big ole’ party until about 3 am and their freaking dogs barked ALL NIGHT LONG!!!!
When I looked on the map, I realized this camp was just a short ways away from a trailhead, which explains why this site was so popular.
The one major bonus though is that is has easy access to the lake for swimming or fishing or just lounging around. The beach though is VERY rocky, I would suggest having water shoes!
So if you plan on staying here, get here early and avoid weekends. Be prepared that this is more of a party spot. The area isn’t that great for tenting, but great for hammocks. Also remember that even though the map says there are bathrooms, that it is just 2 open toilets that sit next to each other.
Goodwater Loop Trail Tips
Bring plenty of water – Depending on the section you will be hiking, water sources could be 10 miles apart.
Wear good boots – The trail is rocky, good ankle support is needed unless you have really strong ankles.
Bring your camera – The trail offers some beautiful views and beautiful scenery.
Bring a map & compass – The trail is not marked hardly at all and it is easy to veer off the trail onto what will look like other trails.
Maps & Info
WEBSITE: COE Lake Georgetown Website
Have you hiked the Goodwater Loop Trail? What tips do you have?