|Stuart Range from Earl Peak|
Difficulty: Moderate-strenuous, steep final ascent
Access: Rough gravel road to trailhead, Northwest Forest Pass required
Earl Peak, in the Teanaway region of Washington State's Cascades, is a lofty summit with wide views on the sunny side of the Cascades. The hike to the peak is a journey with numerous delights during early summer- the trail features wildflowers, verdant meadows, shaded forests, and burbling streams. While similar in nature to many other Teanaway hikes, such as Navaho Peak or Iron Bear, Earl is still a gorgeous and worthwhile hike and a good escape from the crowds on the western slopes of the Cascades.
I hiked Earl Peak on an early summer Sunday when dreary weather was forecast in Seattle and in the Western Cascades but the sun was out over the Teanaway. A good friend and I left Seattle taking I-90 east, driving into the rain as we crossed Snoqualmie Pass. By the time we reached Cle Elum and left the interstate, clouds had given way to bright sunshine. We followed Highway 903 through Cle Elum; the road turned into Highway 10 after leaving town. About three miles past the town, we stayed to the left to head onto Highway 970 in the direction of Wenatchee. Another four miles on, we turned left onto Teanaway Road and followed the paved but narrow road along the Teanaway River, with good views of both the Teanaway and Stuart Ranges appearing before us. The paved road changed to a good gravel when the road entered Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest; we followed the gravel road for a little over a mile past a bridge over Stafford Creek to the junction with NF-9737. Here, we took the left fork and followed it to the junction for the road to the Beverly Turnpike Trailhead, which was just before a bridge over Beverly Creek. This road was very bumpy and rocky; while it can probably be handled by most low clearance vehicles, we decided not to risk it and parked alongside the road and walked the final mile to the trailhead.
From the trailhead, we immediately crossed a well-built bridge over Beverly Creek and began a gentle ascent along an old roadbed on the right bank of Beverly Creek. Wildflowers bloomed near the trail and we saw many butterflies flitting around, busy with the business of pollination.
|View east from above the saddle|
|Bean Creek Basin, Ingalls Peak, and Mount Stuart|
|Little Annapurna, McClellan Peak, Navaho Peak|
|Earl Peak summit|