Iron Bear

Monday, June 20, 2022

The final hike of our four-day sisters weekend was up to Iron Bear, a peak on Teanaway Ridge.

We knew this was going to be a busy trail, so we packed up camp and headed out first thing. The trailhead parking is interesting here. There’s a wide area on the left to park about 0.2 before the end of the road. Just beyond that is a spot where the creek crosses the road and you have to “ford” the creek, however it’s not deep. Just beyond that ford, straight ahead, is another parking area. If you turn right and head uphill, there’s a final parking area at the end of the road where the trail starts. This is the spot where you have to drive through the creek:

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

We parked at that very first parking area and road hiked up to the start of the trail:

Iron Bear Hike

The trail starts out in a lush green forest:

Iron Bear Hike

We knew we would see good wildflowers on this hike and they started off right from the beginning:

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Soon the trees opened up a bit and we started getting a look around:

Iron Bear Hike

The flower show continued as we climbed up:

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

We started getting more views as well:

Iron Bear Hike

We reached the junction with the Teanaway Ridge Trail, where we turned north. This was a confusing junction for a lot of people because this sign doesn’t say that Iron Bear is NOT on the Iron Bear Trail, but is instead along the Teanaway Ridge Trail :

Iron Bear Hike

After the junction we headed out onto this ridge:

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

This open rocky area was full of bitterroot wildflowers:

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

As we climbed we got better and better views. That’s Mt. Rainier:

Iron Bear Hike

The vegetation opened up:

Iron Bear Hike

Just before the summit was this strange section where it looked like trail crews tried to use cinder blocks to stabilize the tread:

Iron Bear Hike

Final stretch:

Iron Bear Hike

We made it!

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

What a view:

Iron Bear Hike

We had a view of the same mountains as yesterday, the Stuart Range, except today’s view was far better. The most prominent peak in the middle is 9,415′ Mt. Stuart:

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Mt. Rainier:

Iron Bear Hike

I think this is looking south or southwest:

Iron Bear Hike

Looking southeast:

Iron Bear Hike

Red Top Lookout in the distance. If we hiked south on Teanaway Ridge we would eventually get there:

Iron Bear Hike

We still had a 4+ hour drive home today, so after enjoying the summit for awhile we headed back down. I took more wildflower photos along the way:

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Iron Bear Hike

Great hike! There were a surprising number of people for a Monday but it was worth braving the crowds.

Gaia stats: 6.8 miles, 1,800′ elevation gain