Iron Bear & Jester Peaks

With rain coming in I chose to head east for a hike off of Highway 97 near Blewett Pass. Kim and Gwen joined me. We met at 7:10 am in Bellevue and headed east. Two stops in Cle Elum and we headed up 97 to a few miles north of Mineral Springs where we turned off on the Iron Creek Road. The road was in pretty good shape. We crossed the nearly dry creek and made it up to the small trailhead parking lot. We were the first car of the day. Mornings are getting a little cooler but it was still pleasant. We were on the trail by about 9:30 am. I usually do this hike in the spring time. Lots of wildflowers and the southern exposure melts out early. A little snow also keeps the motorcycles away though they have never been a big problem for me. Usually not many of them.

I hoped we would find a lot of fall leaf color. There was color though not all that much. Some patches of color allowed for a number of colorful photos though most of the way was green or just not leafy. We took a short break at Iron Bear Pass. A cool breeze was blowing. Above the pass the wind was minimal. From the pass the trail makes several long gentle switchbacks. Views over to the valley of Bear Creek showed the forest of light green larch trees. There were no traces of golden needles yet.

In due time we reached the summit of Iron Bear Peak. Our leisurely paced trip had us on the summit at 11:45 am. I was surprised that nobody passed us on the way up. We had total solitude. I was along on this trip as the cameraman as Gwen and Kim had some posing to do. Another group arrived and did not seem to mind our rather unusual photo shoot. A good time was had by all. We had lunch and soon more group arrived. Even on an overcast day in late September I expect to see other folks on the trail.

We continued on for the short hike over to Jester Peak. We intersected the County Line Trail and soon made the easy walk to the summit. The clouds now extended off to the east. There was one consistent sunny spot in the Kittitas Valley. While lots of folks were over on Iron Bear we had total solitude. Rain squalls were seen in several directions. We had a short spit of drizzle but it quickly ended. Though we saw rain much of the afternoon we stayed dry. On the way back we did not stop atop Iron Bear. The route is gentle enough that going down was not much of a problem even for Kim's sore knee.

Several other groups passed us but for the most part we missed most of the hikers while over on Jester. The larch near Jester were still green. We saw only a few small branches that were starting to turn color. Still several weeks to go. This is a pretty easy trail except on hot summer days with the southern exposure. This day the temperature was very pleasant. It was about 4:15 pm when we reached the trailhead. Plenty early for dinner in Cle Elum and a reasonably early time to get home. This is a great spring wildflower hike and not a bad fall larch trip. In September we had neither but we did have a quiet day on the trail and some views amid the clouds. Not a bad way to spend the last weekend of summer.

Gwen On Lower Trail
Past Prime Balsamroot
Fall Color
Vibrant Moss
Larch Forest
Better Color
Hikers & Fall Color
Cloudy Peaks
Lewis & Clark
Dynamic Duo
Gwen's Turn
Kim's Turn
Lots Of Larch
More Leaves
Jester Summit Plateau
Jester Summit
Shaser View
Sock Monkeys
Short & Wide
Golden Larch
Green Larch
Descending Iron Bear
Dalmatian Horse
Trail Below
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2015