Mount Rainier National Park – Mountain Goats Encounter

Mountain Goats are primary alpine and subalpine species, they typically stay above the tree line, where they roam slopes, ridges, and meadows.

Mount Rainier National Park is the southernmost national park where you can see mountain goats in their native habitat.


In contrast to their all-white coats, mountain goats have black lips, eyes, noses, and hooves. A dense warm undercoat allows them to live comfortably at high elevations even during winter.

Their hooves have a hard outer ring with a spongy center that helps them "stick" to rocks. Mountain goats are nimble climbers, easily traversing steep rock slopes and cliffs.

Both males and females have slim black horns.

In males, the horns thicken and curl backwards as the goat ages. Mountain goats will range between subalpine and alpine regions in the park.

They eat mosses, lichens, shrubs, some grasses, and other vegetation.

My Visit at Mount Rainier National Park 

During my one-day visit at the park I saw 3 mountain goats in 2 different locations.

The first two I saw when hiking the skyline trail near Paradise. They were grazing on the cliffs near panorama viewpoint.

First, I saw them far away, heading up the mountain side.

Later they reach a leveled area, here they found a spot to seat down and rest.


The next time I saw mountain goat was on the same day, late at the afternoon, right before sunset.

I start to walk from Sunrise parking lot up to the nearby ridge and I saw white animal near the tree line.

It was far away, and I can’t see it clearly. I walk up the trail and I saw this is a mountain goat. The goat was eating in the high grass area, going in and out the trees.

After short time it went behind the tree, and I lost eye contact.


I kept hiking up the trail, enjoying the view and near the ridge line I saw two deer.

It start to get dark; I keep walking on the trail that got into the forest, suddenly I saw the mountain goat few ft in front of me.

I stop and wait to see how the animal will react, it kept eating and ignore my presence. I waited silently, standing in the same spot, for about 15 minutes, watching the goat.

The goat kept eating, moving slowly from one patch of grass to another.

It was special moment, it was quiet, almost dark, alone in the forest, watching a big mountain goat just near me.

At some point, the goat crosses the trail to the other side, walking to the direction of the mountain cliff.

What amazing experience, I took last picture of the goat walking away.

It was fully dark when I arrived back to the parking lot.



Additional Pictures