Goat Lick

Glacier National Park

Visitors to Glacier National Park quickly come for many reasons, but often chief among them is the abundance of wildlife. Grizzly bears, mountain lions, elk, moose, lynx and mountain goats all call the park home. Spotting these animals can sometimes be difficult and frustrating experience but Goat Lick, located just two miles east of the Walton Ranger station, and a short drive off of the Going-to-the-Sun road provides visitors with the perfect opportunity to take in all the wildlife the park has to offer.

Goat Lick is located along a bank of the Flathead River where constant erosion has formed a rich mineral deposit. Each spring, cravings for salt prompts goats and other animals to visit Goat Lick where the calcium, potassium and magnesium found in the minerals helps replace missing elements in the animal’s diets.

Today, mountain goats are the most frequent visitors. Goats travel from all over the park to get to Goat Lick, often learning the route from older goats. A goat typically licks for a total of 24 hours in 4 or 6 hour durations at Goat Lick. Because goats often compete for the best licking spot it is not uncommon to see aggressive interactions between the goats and goats have been known to fall into the river during these confrontations. Other animals like elk and black bears have also been known to visit the lick. Be sure to keep a safe distance, as aggressive animals are dangerous.

When to Go:

April through August are the most concentrated periods of use with dozens of goats gathering specifically in the months of June and July. A population of 95-120 mountain goats are known to use the lick.

GPS:

N48° 15.4816', W113° 34.382'

Getting There:

Take U.S. Highway 2 to Walton Ranger Station. Goat Lick Overlook is approximately 2.5 miles east of Walton Ranger Station.

Road Conditions:

U.S. Highway 2 is a paved road that winds along the border of the southern portion of Glacier National Park. Be on the lookout for wildlife along roadsides. A bridge under the highway allows goats to pass to the lick safely.

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