Being on the sunny 'backside' of the Cascades this area will melt out a bit earlier than the west slope, with wildflower displays and broad views of Stuart and Rainier accessible in early July. Start at the trailhead for the Beverly Turnpike trail 1391 at 3600' and climb to the Bean Creek trail junction 1391A at 1/2 mile and turn right. Views will expand exponentially as you climb to a ridge at 5100' below 7036' Earl Peak at mile 3.5 (with a boot path to the summit if snows have melted). Continue past the Standup Trail junction and on up across the open slopes to a dramatic viewpoint to Stuart across Ingalls Creek, at mile 5 and 6200'. Drop steeply past red rock formations to meadows and camps at mile 6, 5000', where Stafford Creek trail 1359 joins. Cross the basin and up the bare serpentine rock slope to Navaho Pass and more immense views at mile 7.2 and 6000'. If time allows, scramble up 7223' Navaho Peak. Then go west from the pass on the County Line trail 1226 for a ridge ramble above Ingalls Creek for 3.8 more miles. Take the Fourth Creek trail 1218 left and down 400' for .6 miles to the junction with the trail to Iron Peak (5200'), .8 trail miles to the north and another 1/2 mile scramble to the top at 6510'. Then retrace your steps back to the Beverly Turnpike trail 1391 and back to the car, total 16 miles without the side trips to the peaks.
This is a scouting trip for a 3-day backpack to take place the following weekend. Our route and side trips will depend on the weather, the fitness of the group and the snow level. This hike is for well conditioned hikers who are prepared to travel at a steady 2-2.5 mph pace with few rest stops. More details will be sent out the week ahead of the hike.