Bean Peak Loop

The middle day of a three day holiday weekend and crappy weather. What to do? Kim joined me for an old favorite. A loop around Bean Peak in the North Fork Teanaway valley. Maybe going east would avoid some of the rain. In fact it drizzled much of the way from Seattle to Easton then did lighten up a little. There were 10 cars in the lot when we arrived at about 9:15 am. I knew from earlier reports that the snow in Bean Creek Basin had melted out several weeks earlier and hoped that the flower show had started.

We saw some flowers beginning immediately. In fact, I saw some tiger lilies driving up the NF road though none while hiking. A quick half mile brought us to Bean Creek and the intersection of the Beverly and Bean trails. This is where I sprained my knee back in April. No snow left there now. A lone hiker stopped there mentioned that the Bean trail was boring with few flowers and the Beverly trail was much better. She was partly right.

Lots of lupine at the intersection and more flowers along Bean Creek. The crossing was no problem hopping rocks. Once on the other side the flower shot became really good. Blue lupine, yellow balsamroot, red scarlet gilia, and various whites and yellows. We were far short of the basin and the flower show was already worth the drive. The day was overcast and it really brought out the colors.

The trail is snow free to the basin. In fact we saw some snow on the backside of Bean Peak but did not have to hike in any at all. Soon we were at the start of the lower basin where the trail crosses the creek and heads up to the Earl Peak saddle. Lots of flowers here including a wealth of shooting stars, some paintbrush, and bog orchids. We went all little farther up the creek and then crossed.

The shooting stars kept going. More than I have ever seen at one time. The trail wound around and then climbed up to the upper basin. Some elephant head were about to bloom. There were some orange and red paintbrush but the bulk of them are still a week or two away. The shooting stars just kept going. Acres and acres of them. At the head of the basin we took a lunch break. with all the photo stops it was already noon.

I chose a route up the end of the valley directly under Bean Peak. Rather than grass and crappy scree heading up to the ridge this way is on better terrain. We found a few snow patches higher up and some glacier lilies. A little easy rock scrambling brought us right under the summit. The last section looks very steep but is not too hard to scramble if you have some experience. Kim had to trouble.

I popped up onto the summit and found four hikers already there. One of them said "are you Jim?" I recognized him as Todd at WA Mountain Girl was also there. They were in the area for a three day backpacking trip having already done Earl Peak in the morning. Above the basin it was just high white clouds. Once on top we could see the rain to the north and west heading our way. Oh well...

The others chose to head down the ridge to the County Line Trail then up to Mary Peak. We left later and followed down the ridge. There was one purple flower in the rocks that was especially pretty. With the wind blowing it was very unsummer like. When we neared Volcanic Neck we dropped off the ridge and were out of the wind. The County Line Trail is in good condition though a bit muddy. All the creeks are running. We had no trouble getting through the water and mud with mostly dry feet.

It was no surprise to see more acres of blooming shooting stars. They just kept going on and on. Nearer to Fourth Creek Pass we had some views to the Stuart Range. Still cloudy but less so than it had been on top of Bean Peak. We stopped near the pass for a break and had a view of most of Dragontail Peak. From there it was downhill to the junction with the Beverly Creek trail.

It was sprinkling on and off but we never really had any steady rain. That was surprising considering how ugly it looked from the top of Bean. Views to Teanaway and Bill Peaks went in and out of the clouds. Beverly Creek is not known for its flowers but some years are better than average. This turned out to be one of those. Lupine, paintbrush, and columbia lewisia then a lot of scarlet gilia. A real riot of colors on the otherwise barren slope of the valley.

Progress slowed again as we had lots of photos to take. The earlier comment that Bean Creek was boring without flowers was way off base. The comment on Beverly was right on the mark. From there it was just a nice walk through forest back to Bean Creek to complete the loop. A half mile later we were back at the trailhead. Most of the drive home was in the clouds and rainy. We had a great day of flowers and not bad weather either.

I usually do this hike in the fall when the heat is less unbearable. This year I was able to do it near the peak of the flowers without oppressive heat. A little drizzle is not such a bad thing. Kim and I managed a lot of photos, one summit, and a lot of solitude. Other than the one person at Bean Creek, a couple of hikers, and the foursome on the summit we only saw a few folks at a distance. Not bad for a Fourth of July weekend.

Kim's report is here:   Nwhikers Report & Photos

Western Salsify
Lupine Junction
Kim Crossing Creek
Scarlet Gilia
More Colors
Lots Of Lupine
More Gilia
Flowers Along Creek
Shooting Stars
Lone Shooting Star
Kim At Work
White Phlox
Upper Basin Ablaze
White Border
Bean Peak
Pink Phlox
More Balsamroot
Above Basin
Earl Peak
Glacier Lily
Judy Peak
At Scramble Spot
Iron In The Rain
Ridge To Mary Peak
Bill In The Rain
Group Heading Down
Bright Colors
Kim & Earl
DragonTail Peak
Beverly Gilia
Columbia Lewisia
More Lewisia
More Gilia
Bug On Flower
Peach Paintbrush
Flower Field
Final Flower
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2008