Iron Bear Trail #1351 is a 6.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Cle Elum, WA that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, horses, and mountain biking and is accessible from June until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
To Iron Creek Trailhead: From I-90 take exit 85. Go left and then right to enter US 970 and US 97 for 19.3 miles. Go left on FR 9714 for 2.7 miles to the end and trailhead #1351. At the end of FR 9714 you will ford a stream just before you turn right to get to the trailhead. To Bear Creek Trailhead: From Seattle drive east on I-90 to East Cle Elum, exit 85. Cross over the freeway overpass and turn right (northbound) on State Route 970. Cross the Teanaway River bridge, and in another mile turn left onto Teanaway Road. Drive 13 miles to 29 Pines Campground, where the pavement ends. Veer right, and continue about 1 mile. At the first road junction after crossing the bridge over Stafford Creek, turn right onto Forest Road 9703 (signed "Stafford Creek") and drive 4 miles to road's end.
It was a nice view, but not the best I've been to. Good people and a nice climb near the end!
The trail is maintained and a nice mix of sunspots and shade. Very easy! There are parts that you need to cross water, but it's nothing too challenging. There are a few different areas to park, but the road is bumpy and a little overgrown. There is not a bathroom anywhere near the trail, and off-trail is hard (not much cover). All in all I can't wait to get back out there!
This hike has some neat features; broad vistas, wildflowers and birds, scrubby pine forests, beautiful rock formations, and even a short ridgeline. The route I took was from the Iron Bear Trailhead to the Teanaway Ridge crossing and up a few miles to the unmarked high point. It was a hot, sandy, narrow trail, and the time for wildflowers is passing, though I still found quite a few in full bloom. The first half mile is nothing but scrub (I wondered if I had made a mistake in choosing this trail), but it eventually opens up to great views of the surrounding peaks. Once I made the right turn up to Teanaway Ridge, Mt. Rainier became visible in all its snowy granduer.
This would be a good trail for bird watching; a chorus of them chirped and sang the whole way. I couldn't get them on camera, but I saw feathers of every color; bright blue, red and yellow, a flash of green, brown and white, and a few hawks (?) high over the rocks. The butterflies were also active, especially around the few places with water.
Practical notes: you really do have to drive through a shallow creek to reach the parking lot. I have a Mini Cooper, so to be safe I chose to park in one of the roomy turnoffs just before the creek. There is no privy or water, so you may want to make plans to stop at the rest area on I-90 or Cle Elum. And bring lots of water - this trail gets hot, even with the breeze on the ridge. I would hike this trail again, but I think June is probably the ideal month, though the sun on the rocks and deadwood made for some great photos.
Friday 6-6-2014: My wife and I hiked Iron Bear Trail and Teanaway Ridge Trail. We parked our car at Iron Creek Trailhead. The trailhead is only 3 miles from US 97 highway near Blewett Pass on National Forest Road 9714. The forest road is a dirt road with typical potholes. No permit is required to park at the trailhead and there is no toilet.
We hiked about two miles on Iron Bear Trail #1351 to reach Iron Bear Pass at 4500 ft. We gained 800 ft in elevation. The grade is gentle and there were many wildflowers such as balsamroots, penstemons, paintbrushes, and forget-me-nots on the day we were there. At Iron Bear Pass, we turned to the right (north) to climb Teanaway Ridge Trail #1364 to an unnamed peak at 5489 ft. If you take the south fork of Teanaway Ridge Trail you reach Red Top Trail in about 3 miles.
We hiked about 1.5 miles on Teanaway Ridge Trail to reach the summit. The grade got steeper and the view got more expansive. We were able to see Mount Rainier and Mount Stuart in distance and more wildflowers such as bitterroots, glacier lilies, and trilliums. We reached the summit in about 2 hours from the trailhead. The Teanaway Ridge Trail continues north about half a mile to descend 200 ft and connect to County Line Trail.
We met several hikers and dogs along the way. With so many flowers and great views of Mount Rainier and Mount Stuart it was certainly one of the most beautiful hiking trails I have ever been.