If you are in the mood for a hike, and you wake up and see that “the Mountain is out!” (Seattle-speak alerting people that the skies are clear and Mount Rainier is not hiding behind clouds), then you should head east and hike the Iron Bear-Teanaway Ridge Trail. On a clear day, when the Mountain is out, the views from this trail are epic.
On such one sunny Sunday, I went on this hike with my friend Crystal. We were not looking for any hike that would be too difficult, but we also wanted a slight elevation gain. Iron Bear-Teanaway Ridge was perfect.
The hike is not very long (6.5 miles roundtrip) and the elevation gain is 1900 feet – enough to give you a slight workout, but not enough to leave you huffing and puffing.
The drive to the trailhead (just off Highway 97 between Cle Elum and Peshatin/Leavenworth) was enough beauty for one day – but I’m greedy, so I said “keep it coming, Nature!”. And on this trail, Nature just kept giving.
Wildflowers are in abundance on this trail.
We saw everything from forget-me-nots to bitterroot. Our favorites were probably the Indian paintbrush.
We had been advised that in 1.8 miles, we would reach a four-way junction at Iron Bear Pass. At this junction, we were to turn right to head up the ridge. Somehow, enjoying much conversation as we hiked up the trail, we missed this junction. Thankfully two other hikers – who had likewise missed the junction – stopped to ask us about it shortly after we passed it by. The four of us backtracked just a few feet to find the junction (hidden in plain sight!) and we were again on our way.
The views from the ridge trail are amazing.
Mount Rainier, out in all her glory to our left and then, at the top of the ridge, Mount Stuart challenging us to choose which is the better view – left to Rainier or right to see Stuart?
Thankfully, panoramic photos solve this dilemma once and for all.
Like the few hikers who had reached the top of the ridge before us, we found a spot to have our lunch and soak in these outstanding views.
The hike back was relatively easy (all downhill, natch) and the hike provided us with enough exercise that we felt justified having a beer and some waffle fries at The Brick in Roslyn on our way home.
So when you find yourself wondering what to do during a beautiful sunny day in Seattle, especially if the Mountain is out, head east and hike the Iron Bear-Teanaway Ridge Trail.
Important Travel Notes:
Directions to Iron Bear-Teanaway Ridge Trailhead: From Seattle, drive east on I–90 and then take exit 85. Go left to cross the freeway, and make a right onto Highway 970. Follow Highway 970 veers left. 9.4 miles past the Twin Pines Drive–In, In about 9 miles, turn left onto Highway 97 (towards Wenatchee) and continue for 9.9 miles.
Turn left onto FR 9714 for 2.7 miles to the end at the trailhead for Trail 1351. There are a few turnouts where you can park.
Credentials Required: None.