Little St. Helens - Scout Patrol Peak

I had Sunday free and Gary joined me for a hike he had not done and a peak neither of us had done. It would be a warm day and much of the route is out in the open so we aimed for an early start. We met at Eastgate at 6:40 am and head east. We headed up the Hansen Creek Road to the parking lot/trailhead at the end. There was one truck in the lot. Another arrived soon after us. We arrived just after 7:30 am and were packed and on our way at 7:42 am. We had a great beargrass display two weeks earlier on Bandera Mountain. Little St. Helens seemed to be a little behind. I expected it to be a little past prime but hopefully still good. That was what we found.

The trail grade is very gentle as it follows an old road. The route is much more trail like than on my 2019 visits. We saw some beargrass in the first mile but much of it was past prime. Some spirea was also past its peak but still colorful. We did see lupine in bloom almost all the way along our route. It was around 60 degrees at the start but warming rapidly. The clear sky added to the heat. We had precious little shade on this trip. Most of it was on the way up in the cooler morning. We did see a number of other flowers. These included a few tiger lilies, some foxglove, some yellow daisies, queens cup, vanilla leaf, one bunch of penstemon, and more.

The turnoff for the summit is still not marked but is getting more obvious. In places we had some views north to Bandera and Granite Mountains. Heading for the summit the beargrass display began to improve rapidly. Near the top they were very near peak. Our pace slowed down a lot as the photo opportunities were excellent. Farther along, Mt. Rainier came into view. It was a bit hazy to the northeast but it was very clear to the south. We were able to see a field of beargrass with Mt. Rainier right behind. At the low point between the summit over I-90 and the viewpoint we went straight ahead for the views. This part takes longer than I think. Eventually we reached the end and were rewarded with a fantastic view of Mt. Rainier. It seemed much closer than other viewpoints like Mt. Washington down the ridge. I was able to put a field of blooming lupine in the foreground of photos.

It was only 9:33 am when we arrived. We had hiked almost exactly 3.5 miles. So far we had seen nobody since the trailhead.  Time for a food and water break though it was more like breakfast time. I had gone to short sleeves and zipped off pants legs near the start. It was feeling very warm for so early in the day. There were bugs flying around us but they were not biting. We could clearly see Scout Patrol Peak, our last objective. It was not far away but our route would take quite a few mies. At 9:54 am we packed up and headed back. On the walk back along the ridge we met a group of 3 hikers. We did not have total solitude. Back at the low point we headed up to the north summit. Trees are growing fast. It will not be too long before the views start to be closed off. For now, we had some good views. I could see McClellan's Butte with just one tree partly in the way. The peaks of the Cascade Crest north of Snoqualmie Point are seen from here. They were still a little hazy. From Chikamin to Chimney Rock stood out. We could see the lookout on Granite Mountain. Pointy Kaleetan Peak stood out. To the east the ridge of Humpback Mountain filled our view. Silver Peak rose above it and Abiel Peak was clearly seen.

The beargrass display on the summit was still pretty good. We dropped down to the low point and retraced our route up. Along the way we met a lone woman taking a break amidst the beargrass. She was the fourth and lost person we saw for several hours. Rather than return the way we came we took an old road turned trail than cuts all the way under the summit ridge. This route has a pretty good crop of beargrass too. Being lower, it was farther along. Some was near peak but most were a little beyond. This traverse under Little St. Helens seemed to go on forever. The gps recorded it as 1.6 miles abut it seemed much longer. Part of the problem was the sun shining right on us. There were a few short spots with shade but mostly it was steady sunshine. Even up there we had a few small streams to step over. Part way along, the beargrass display began. Many were past their peak abut enough were still blooming to put on a good show. Part way along we had a view east and could look down and see the parking lot. It was just about full.

At long last we dropped down to the road into the City of Seattle Watershed. Tall fences and a gate make it clear that people are not welcome there. We had now hiked 6.9 miles. We were only 1.6 miles from the parking lot. We hiked down the road to the big switchback. It was now getting really toasty. We had not had much shade in hours. Time for a climb to a peak? Sure, why not. I do not do well in direct sunshine and summer heat. So far, I was feeling pretty good. At the big switchback we turned right. In short order we met the rest of the people we were to see on the trail this day. I think there were about 4 or 5 of them. This old logging road was not in prime shape. Parts were okay and some of it was steep with loose rocks. Not the best tread. After a short flat bit it began to climb.

The route ends up on a ridge top with some pretty good views. Humpback is now just across the valley of Hansen Creek. Bearscout Peak rises high above. Straight up the ridge we were on is the summit of Scout Patrol Peak. The road switched back to the right and then left to the end of the road. The cut bank is tall and near vertical. To the left is dirt and talus. We headed up here. The boot path up is not much of a trail. it goes just left of a talus field. Being to the right of it did provide some shade for the climb. It is only a few hundred feet to the top. The map shows it as 340' but we topped out several contour lines below the summit shown on the map. I managed to get stuck by a hornet or something part way up. We went onto the rocks in places going up. Coming down we managed to follow a path that was almost entirely off the talus field. The summit is forested. We had some views just blow the top. After deciding the map was wrong and there was no more up to climb we sat down in shade for a final break of the day.

The climb was very hot but with some food and water we were feeling pretty good. We arrived on top at 12:54. We stayed until 1:40 pm. The trip down was not too bad. It is steep but the footing was good. We reached the road pretty quickly. The road walk back to the main road was mostly steep and a bit rocky but not bad. At the main road it became very smooth. On the last section we saw several good patches of yellow monkey flower in bloom. One final wildflower for the day. We reached the parking lot at 2:53 pm. The lot was almost full.

This proved to be a very good choice. For Gary, the entire route was brand new. I had down the loop twice but was hoping to get back up and add Scout Patrol Peak to the loop trip. One new summit for me. The flower display was pretty good. Especially the beargrass nd lupine on the ridge top of Little Mt. St. Helens. For the day we hiked 11 miles with 2200' of elevation gain.

Lupine Close Up
Tiger Lily
First Beargrass
Views & Foxglove
Queen's Cup
View North
Bandera Mountain
Granite & Crest Peaks
Defiance & Bandera
Yellow Flowers
Mt. Rainier & Beargrass
Gary, Beargrass, Rainier
Beargrass Lines Trail
Rainier From Viewpoint
Gary & Lupine
Gary & Beargrass
Summit Beargrass
Bearscout & Scout Patrol
Lots Of Beargrass
Me At Work
A Little Brushy
Scout Patrol View
More Beargrass
Lower Trail
Watershed Gate
Road To Scout Patrol
Nearing Scout Patrol
View Of Little St. Helens
End Of The Road
Scout Patrol Summit
Silver Peak
Humpback & Silver
Looking Down
Abiel & Bearscout
Granite & West Granite
Yellow Monkey Flower
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2022