Iron-Bean Peaks Loop

Overcast over the west side of the mountains. Mostly sunny over the Teanaway. Even better, the Teanaway high would only be around 70 degrees. The heat of summer has not yet arrived to the east slopes of the Cascades. Gary and I had hiked up to Bean Creek Basin and climbed Bean and Earl Peaks a month earlier. The wildflower show had barely begun. I hoped it would be much better now. I was out of Seattle at 6:05 am heading east. The clouds continued over Snoqualmie Pass and all the way to near Cle Elum. As I headed north on Highway 970 then west on the Teanaway Road the sky began to clear. Some gravel has been put in the numerous pot holes on the dirt road. It is slightly better. The washboard is just as bad. The Beverly Creek Road is as bad as I have ever seen it. The two worst drain channels/deep trenches are okay with my 8.5" of clearance. Not so good for a sedan. The trenches were made on purpose and they get worse each year. [/End rant]. I arrived at the trailhead at 8:05 am. I was on my way at 8:12 am.

The old road/trail up to Bean Creek is getting brushier. It is wide enough but is much narrower than year past. There were a few wildflowers from the start. The crossing of Bean Creek was challenging with dry feet a month ago. Now it is just one small channel. No problem with low top hiking shoes. It was humid in the forest even at an early hour. Few flowers were in the forest. I broke out of the forest and dropped to Beverly Creek. Now the wildflower show exploded. Lupine was at or just past peak. The scarlet gilia was everywhere at right at peak. Bright red everywhere. I was quite pleased as gilia is one of my favorites. Columbine is one flower seen here and on much of the whole route except high on Iron and Bean Peaks. Stonecrop and Valerian were abundant. There were some thistles here and in other places along my route. I seldom see Columbia Lewisia but I saw many patches this day. Shooting stars and asters were seen too.

One highlight was a small patch of light pink lupine. A very unusual color. There were others that I could not identify. One I have seen a number of times and can't name was the star. These whitish and yellow varieties covered the ground. The wildflowers continued through open switchbacks and up to the bare rocky ground where the slope has slid numerous times. In places the color continued right up the slope. This section of the Beverly Creek Trail has pretty good wildflowers in season but this year was the best display I have seen. This is not like a high alpine meadow but the show was still excellent.

I crossed the rocky slope and went back into open forest. At the Fourth Creek Trail junction I took a bread. There was a tent right at the junction. After Food and water I headed on. Several small branches of Beverly Creek are here. When water is running there are some meadow flowers. This year there are plenty. I saw some Indian paintbrush, and red and yellow columbine and a few elephant's head. The elephant's head were well off trail so I could not get any photos. That turned out to not be a problem. On the climb up to the pass between Iron and Teanaway Peaks the flower show continued. the trail crosses above several meadows and they were packed with paintbrush, lupine, and elephant's head. Higher up elephant's head was right along the trail. I had no trouble getting photos of it.

When I reached the saddle I met the first people of the day. Two women came up from the Iron Peak Trail on the other side. After a short conversation I headed for the summit. There are some wildflowers that only grow in the serpentine soil on Iron. The ground seems barren but there are some colorful flowers located there. They are all very short. The lupine grows just a few inches high. I stopped for more photos on the way up the ridge. I arrived at the 6510' summit to find three guys already there. There were high clouds around but it was mostly sunny overhead. Mt. Stuart was in the clear. Mt. Rainier had must the summit above the clouds. Clouds covered much of the Cascade Crest to the west. I arrived at 11:27 am. 3:15 is probably my slowest time up Iron. The photo stops made up a significant part.

I would like to have spent an hour on top but I still had a long way to go. I packed up and headed down at 11:55 am. Just before the saddle I met a couple heading up. I saw seven folks on the ridge of Iron Peak. That number would not change for hours. Back down to the Fourth Creek Trail junction then up the loose rocky trail to Fourth Creek Pass. It was now feeling much hotter than 70 degrees. This route does not have much forest. Mostly it is out in the open. That is a prime reason I avoid it in mid summer. The heat was getting to me on the climb to the pass. The trail becomes much flatter on the way to the next saddle next to Volcanic Neck. There were more blooming wildflowers along this trail but not as many as on most of the route.

Another steep rocky rut of a trail brought me to the flats below the pass. Great views here of the Stuart Range. The last 350' of gain to the pass is on long but mostly gentle switchbacks. Near the pass the wind was blowing hard and it felt great. The ridge up to the summit of Bean Peak is one of my favorite scrambles. Much gentler than the Bean Creek side. I reached the 6743' summit at 2:26 pm. A group of four was there. They were laying around in the sunshine and enjoying the view too. Both Iron and Bean have excellent views. Only Stuart to the north blocks the view. Surprisingly the foursome headed down the way I came up. They were going out via Beverly Creek. A few minutes later two young women came up via my route. They were doing the Beverly-Bean Loop for the first time. I explained the ridge route down and my usual route right down the face. At 3:08 pm I haded down.

I seldom do the same route twice and this one was much straighter down to Bean Creek Basin. Part way down I saw the two women heading straight down my route. Lots of red rock slabs and smaller rocks on the way down. I turned left near the bottom to avoid reaching the wet end of the basin. I met the boot path several hundred feet above the basin. I could see all the bright white and red flowers from a distance. There are plenty of Indian paintbrush in bloom. The white was mostly Valerian and bistort. I found a lot of different colors of paintbrush including some light pink ones. I reached the upper basin at 3:47 pm. I had lots of time left. I spent plenty of time photographing even more blooming wildflowers. There were several groups camping in the upper basin.

I slowly dropped into the lower basin and found more wildflowers along the creek. I was back to scarlet gilia, lupine, and more of that yellow flowers I saw so much of on the Beverly Creek Trail. I also saw some more shooting stars and a few monkshood in bloom. Once back into forest I picked up the pace. The two women from the summit zoomed by me before the creek crossing. The crossing was easy. The brush on the last leg down to the Beverly Creek Trail was suffocating with head high brush in bright sunshine. More columbine, roses, thistles, some penstemon, and a few other wildflowers in bloom. The last half mile on the Beverly Trail went by fast. I reached the trailhead at 5:12 pm. The entire trip took exactly nine hours.

For the day I hiked 12 miles with 4400' of elevation gain. There were two summits, some off trail scrambling, and a whole lot of wildflowers in bloom. Other than the temperature seeming to be will above forecast the day was almost perfect. That may have just been because of the long time out in the sunshine without much shade. I saw folks on Iron Peak, Bean Peak, and in upper Bean Creek Basin. Otherwise I had total solitude for most of the day. Great wildflowers and two summits and no crowds. It was a great day to head east for a trip.

Narrowing Road/Trail
Cow Parsnip
Perfect Red Columbine
Really Bright Columbine
Yellow Flower
Scarlet Gilia
More Gilia
Daisy Like
Upper Basin
Stonecrop Gilia
Big Gilia Plant
Peak & Flowers
Trail Lined With Flowers
Pink Lupine
Columbia Lewisia
Extremely Bright
Teanaway & Bill Peaks
Yellow Columbine
Red Indian Paintbrush
Shooting Star
Lone Lupine
Elephant's Head
Another Elephant's Head
Pink Flower
Small Lupine
Peaks To The West
Mt. Daniel
Mt. Stuart
Iron Peak Ridge
Strange Paintbrush
Distant Bean Peak
Wilderness Sign
Cotton Like Flower
Creek & Mt. Stuart
Below Volcanic Neck
Bean Summit In Sight
Volcanic Neck
Fortune & Ingalls Peaks
Clouds On Mt. Stuart
Iron Peak
Bean Creek Basin
Descending From Bean
Red Rock Of Bean
Red Paintbrush
Colorful Bean Basin
Looking Up To Bean Peak
Basin On Fire!
Unusual Color
Really Red Paintbrush
Lower Basin Colors
Panorama Of The Stuart Range
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2019