Hike of the Month: Beckler Peak
Beckler Peak Hike
A relatively new hike, Beckler Peak is absolutely stunning and much less busy than other trails in the surrounding area. You are provided with incredible views for a moderate amount of work, and a manageable distance. The trail to Beckler Peak is about 7.5 miles long. There are a few somewhat steep switchbacks, but nothing too grueling or technical.
The starts at the Jennifer Dunn trailhead, where you will set out on a decommissioned logging road. This section continues for just under a mile, with minimal tree cover and a moderate incline. The first stretch of trial is still recovering from its previous status as a logging road. You will find some invasive plants, such as tansy and non-native grasses. As time goes on, increasing growth of trees and other native plants will hopefully start to shade out some of the invasives and allow the area to recover further.
In just under a mile, you will reach landing with a peak at some of surrounding mountains and a teaser of views to come. At this point, the old logging road transitions into a traditional trail that winds its way up the mountain and through beautiful old growth forest.
The trail switchbacks up the mountain, gaining about 2000 feet in a little over 3 miles. I crossed two or three streams early on that were deep enough for filtering water and for Newton to get a drink. Even with those, I was glad that I came prepared with several liters for myself and some to share with Newton along the way. The climb to the top can feel long and steep at times, and there was not any water past the first couple of miles.
The trail levels out when you reach an open, blueberry-covered ridge. A couple more switchbacks take you across granite outcroppings and bring you to a few sets of rock steps. Ascend the steps and make your way just a little further to the summit. There is enough space for 5 or 6 people to sit and enjoy the view. Any additional hikers will need to hang out a little further down the mountain. Stay mindful of the whereabouts of your pets and kids at the top and keep them a safe distance from the edge – the north side of the peak is a sheer cliff with a long drop to the rocks below.
Because this hike isn’t as frequently talked about as others in the area, I wasn’t sure what to expect and was very pleasantly surprised. Looking from the top of Beckler Peak, the surrounding area is really quite stunning – there are clear views of the Monte Cristo Range, Glacier Peak, Mount Index, Mount Daniel, Chimney Rock, and Evergreen Mountain.
From I-5, take Highway 2 East to Skykomish. Pass the ranger station and continue for another 1.9 miles and turn left onto FR 6066. Continue on FR 6066, bearing right at the fork in 1.8 miles, then continue another 4.8 miles to the trailhead. The road can be rough at times, especially early in the season, but it is manageable if taken slow.
Day Hiking Gear
These are some of my favorite gear items for day hiking:
- Day Pack – My Osprey day pack is the perfect size to fit all my snacks and hiking accessories and small enough to be light and unobtrusive, even for someone short like me
- Water Filter – A little bulkier than some other options, my Katadyn filter is still by far my favorite of any that I’ve used
- Sunscreen – Badger is free of toxic chemicals like oxybenzone, instead relying on zinc as a safe physical barrier to protect your skin from sunburn
- Knife – A good knife is an absolute must-have on day hikes and longer backpacking trips
- Whistle – One of the simplest and more important safety tools for hiking
- Water Bottle – I like to have a traditional water bottle and a bladder hydration system to keep in my pack to drink while walking
- Bug Repellent (non-toxic) – For particularly buggy hikes, it’s nice to have some repellent to prevent bites from mosquitos and flies
In addition to being important for nourishment, tasty hiking snacks are so rewarding at the end of a tough hike. For summits, I prefer treats that include chocolate – these are some of my favorites:
- Peanut Butter Cups – Theo makes delicious peanut butter cups that are free of palm oil.
- Mint Coconut Butter Cups – Eating evolved coconut butter cups are a great alternative to peanut butter if you don’t tolerate or prefer not to eat peanuts. Mint is by far my favorite flavor.
- Chocolate Covered Banana Bites – I recently learned that these are made with mis-shapen bananas that were slated for disposal, which makes my love for them even stronger.
- Vegan Chocolate-Covered Peanuts – These candies are an awesome vegan alternative to M&M’s. They taste surprisingly similar and are free of dairy and artificial colors.