Bear Creek Trip: Overview

trail map

Ordinarily, I do not post information about my favorite obscure routes. This time, however, I'll make an exception. At one time, not that many years ago, the U. S. Forests Service maintained the extra half mile spur trail to the end of the valley along the Bear Creek Trail. Green Trails maps showed it. USGS maps showed it. But after massive public demand (not!), the Forest Service determined that it was in its own best financial interest that you did not want that trail to exist any more.

What was once the main trail has become the side trail, while the side trail up to the lookout site has become the main trail. Well, it is true, the lookout site offers a huge overview of the Dog Mountain ridge on one side, and the Paradise Lakes on the other, making this one of the best view locations on the west side of the Cascade Mountains. The valley, though lacking the expansive views, has its own charms and mysteries. It was once the home of a very active, but very failed, mining operation. Relics are all over the place, resting where they were abandoned many decades ago, now rusting away. Pumps, engines, skids, cables, cast iron cooking stoves, boilers... and all of this for what purpose? Maybe you can find some answers.

Now that the spur trail to the end of the valley gets none of the attention it deserves, it is only your busy feet that will keep the brush from completely overtaking it. Do your part and walk this extra half mile, to help keep it open. Or bring your overnight gear and boulder scrambling boots, establish a base camp, and seek your own adventures. Leave the historical relics where you find them, so that you and others can enjoy them on future trips.

On this particular trip, I accompanied the Jurgensen family on what is starting to become an annual event: almost getting lost in the brush off-trail, with me leading the way.