Backpack - Iron Bear

Easy 3 mile hike with 1900’ of elevation gain to a ridge with wildflowers and views of Mt Rainier and the Stuart Range. While open to all Mountaineers, this trip is designed to offer extra coaching and skills/gear practice to Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) students.

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  • Moderate
  • Easy
  • Mileage: 6.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,900 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 5,489 ft
  • Pace: 1-1.5 mph


This is a midweek trip. It is known as “Iron Bear - Teanaway Ridge” on and in the “100 Hikes in Washington’s Alpine Lakes” guidebook. It is a very popular spring hike due to the profusion and diversity of wildflowers, and because it is one of the first of the high country trails to be snow-free. We may encounter some late snow patches on the ridge, but I expect the trail to be clear. The trail crosses several creeks in the first mile, but once the snow is gone there will be no water source on the ridge. Thus we will need to be prepared to carry enough water for an overnight camp. As is typical for late spring, the weather will be uncertain, we could encounter sun and 70 degrees, rain, or snow showers. I expect the trail to be in good shape, but it is rocky in places and footwear with good support will be appropriate. Since this is on the east side of the mountains there is a possibility of encountering snakes and/or ticks.


Iron Bear

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports