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Mount Beachie via Byars Peak Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

This page is marked as a Lost Hike. The "trail" may be dangerous and hard to follow and is not recommended for beginning hikers without an experienced leader. Carry detailed maps of the whole area and/or a GPS unit and compass.
On the East Ridge of Mt. Beachie (bobcat)
View to Detroit Lake from the French Creek Ridge Trail (bobcat)
View across the French Creek valley to Dome Rock and Sardine Mountain (bobcat)
Cascade daisy (Erigeron cascadensis), Mt. Beachie (bobcat)
Battle Ax and Elk Lake from Mt. Beachie's East Ridge (bobcat)
The route described using the French Creek Ridge and Mount Beachie Trails (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: French Creek Ridge East TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Mount Beachie
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 9.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2085 feet
  • High Point: 5,190 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Seasons: Summer through fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No
Falling

Contents

Description

Mount Beachie is a high point at the east end of French Creek Ridge, which divides the Little North Santiam and North Santiam drainages. The southern section of the French Creek Ridge Trail is not often hiked, and the trailheads here are reached via winding, brushy forest roads: some clearance on your vehicle would help. The route itself, which also includes the Beachie Trail, is fairly obvious for its entire length, but very brushy in places and with a significant amount of windfall. Minor maintainance is conducted on the trail by users, but a major effort has not been made in some time (as of 2016). This is a very worthwhile venture, however, especially early in the summer, when the rhododendrons are blooming, and there are expansive views from the trailheads, spectacular viewpoints on the French Creek Ridge Trail, and more expansive views from Mount Beachie itself. A difficult scramble out to the volcanic formations on the Mount Beachie East Ridge is for the adventurous only.

Take along loppers and/or a folding pruning saw, and be prepared to clear some debris from the trail. Prune just above the nodes, and toss all branches and prunings downslope.

Hike up past the trail sign for the French Creek Ridge Trail #3349, and get a splendid view south to Mount Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, and Coffin Mountain. The trail then turns up the broad ridge crest and enters a beautiful woodland of mountain hemlock and rhododendron (blooming the end of June). Keep hiking up through this montane forest for about half a mile, passing above a talus slope on your left, and reach the Byars Peak Trailhead on FR 2225-461. There’s a wilderness permit box to sign in here and also splendid views across the French Creek valley to Dome Rock, Sardine Mountain, and the Marten Buttes on French Creek Ridge.

Hike up through a regenerating clearcut overgrown now with rhododendrons, bear-grass, and huckleberries. Get views back to Detroit Lake before entering old growth forest of mountain hemlock, noble fir, silver fir, and Douglas-fir. Wade through huckleberries, and pass a couple of massive noble firs. Traverse up to come to a set of clifftop viewpoints that offer expansive vistas across the French Creek valley and also southeast to Three Fingered Jack and the Three Sisters. Gently descend, and make another traverse among large specimens of mountain hemlock and Douglas-fir. Reach the ridge crest, and then make a level traverse before rounding a bend. The trail drops gradually, offering views of Boulder Peak on the French Creek Ridge as Byars Peak looms above. Cross a small talus slope before dropping to a saddle before rising again. Make a long level traverse along the west side of the ridge, crossing several talus slopes before reaching the signed French Creek Ridge-Beachie Trail Junction.

Go right here on the Beachie Trail #3341, and plunge down a slope dense with huckleberry and white rhododendron bushes (You can barely see the trail at your feet). Gets views towards Mount Beachie, and pass two tarns nestled at the foot of talus fields. Hike up to the ridge crest, and wind through small tarn meadows to begin the gradual ascent up Mount Beachie’s western ridge. From slopes of platy andesite, gets views north to Mount Hood, the Washington volcanoes, and Whetstone Mountain, and south down the Cascades to Olallie Butte, Mount Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, Mount Washington, and the Three Sisters appearing behinds Byars Peak. The trail continues along the north side of the ridge crest through a mat of pinemat manzanita among stunted mountain hemlocks and Alaska yellow-cedars. Hike over a prominence in the ridge to enjoy views of Geibeler Lake below and Battle Ax ahead. Pass a campfire circle; after this, the trail drops off to the north side of the ridge. Go about ten yards, and then cut off the trail up to the ridge and make your way up to Mount Beachie’s summit, with its stunning view of Battle Ax and Elk Lake and on down the central Cascades.

The Mount Beachie East Ridge, about 100 feet lower than the summit, beckons with its rugged volcanic crags, formations known to rock climbers as The Wall and Phone Booth Rock. You can do the scramble out here along north-facing cliffs, but take extreme caution, especially on the return. Drop steeply down, winding through the conifers to reach a rocky outcome. You can drop below this to the right and then hike along a rocky spine which is a veritable rock garden in the summer. The last steep pitch takes you to the right through a snow brush corridor and then precipitously up to the base of The Wall. Walk along this structure, and find yourself peering through a natural arch that offers a window down the Battle Ax Creek valley! From the windy break between the arch and pillar-like Phone Booth Rock, you can gaze down sheer cliffs across to Battle Ax and Elk Lake as well as south all the way to the Three Sisters.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Self-issued wilderness permit (if available)

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Battle Ax, OR #524
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, Bull of the Woods Wilderness, Opal Creek Wilderness, Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area
  • Geo-Graphics: Bull of the Woods and Opal Creek Wilderness Map
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Willamette National Forest: Detroit Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Willamette National Forest
  • Pacific Northwest Recreation Map Series: Willamette Cascades
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood

Trip Reports

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Guidebooks that cover this destination

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Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.