FR99 Bear Meadow s(u)

Approaching the Bear Meadow viewpoint on FR99 for the first time, I suspected that this was the first of many great views onto Mount Saint Helens - and I was right. I also suspected that this was only a waypoint to two higher passes on its slopes, Independence Pass and Norwegian Pass. Mostly I was wrong about that. Yes, Independence Pass is a few feet higher. But it is located on the out and back road to the Windy Ridge viewpoint, and the road keeps climbing gently after the pass, and so the road does not really "cross" the pass. Norwegian Pass also may be some sort of water divide, but as seen from the road, it's just a point along the downhill of the northern approach to this point.

01.(1090ft,mile00.0)START-END SOUTH-1: FR25 crosses the Cispus River
02.(1570ft,mile01.6)jct FR25 - FR26
03.(2920ft,mile10.9)profile turns left onto FR99
04.(4110ft,mile15.2)TOP:turnoff to Bear Meadow view point
05.(3640ft,mile19.9)profile turns right onto FR26 to Norwegian Pass
06.(3280ft,mile22.0)intermediate low point
07.(3710ft,mile23.4)intermediate high point
08.(3330ft,mile24.7)jct with FR2612 and Ryan Lake on left
09.(2090ft,mile28.9)intermediate low point
10.(2440ft,mile31.4)intermediate summit
11.(1570ft,mile35.1)START-END SOUTH-2 FR26 terminates on FR25, same as point 2


From East. Turning west from FR25 Elk Pass (see that page for a description up to here), a fairly steep forested climb leads to a sublime view point point onto Mount Saint Helens, behind a nicely crafted stone wall. For me, every time I reach this point, is a moment of suspense. What cloud cover will the mountain be wearing this time, fully cloaked from head to toe, a slowly lifting veil, or a lentil shaped cap perhaps ?

From West. But actually this side is the one, that is really interesting. The road enters the National Monument, with a panoramic view of the stick forest left by the 1981 explosion of Mount Saint Helens. The road quickly arrives at a bottom with a short trail to Meta Lake and the choice of two passes to climb from here, Independence Pass to the south or Norwegian Pass to the right.

At the junction is also a view point with the curious name "Miner's Car". The Park Service has erected a small wooden enclosure around the remnants of a 1973 Pontiac. And why not ? Car wrecks have been a favorite photography subject for me too. This particular one belonged to a family of miners, who hiked to their cabin from here just before the 1981 eruption. They never came back, and the car is now an official volcanic National Monument view point. It reads: "From tragedy comes knowledge". I'm not sure if this is an attempt at dry humor. In any case it's poignant enough.

The profiled route turns right here and follows a narrow rarely driven road, down over what is labeled as "Norwegian Pass" on maps along the road. Between here and the junction with FR25 I saw only one car, and the driver asked me if this road was "going through" now. Well - as it turns out, it was going through. But there are so many sloughs and sunken pavement sections on this stretch, that few cars dare tackle it. Vegetation has started to claim the road edges, so that this stretch has the pleasant feel of an abandoned road. The first part continues through the wild match stick forest, that was left after the eruption, followed by a very steep climb above this matchstick world. After the next decent the road enters deep forest. Only when approaching the jct with FR25 does a clear cut appear - with Mount Adams in the background. The profile ends on a point of the other approach.


Dayrides with this point as highest summit:


( < US30 Historical: Chanticlear Point | Red Rocks Pass > )
FR99 Bear Meadow s(u) x2 , Elk Pass x2 : Cedar Flats area (north of Swift Reservoir on FR25 <> FR25 north <> Elk Pass <> FR99 Bear Meadow s(u) <> turnaround point: Meta Lake at jct FR99 - FR26: 65.1miles with 7000ft of climbing in 5:18hrs (VDO MC1.0 r2:13.8.25).
Notes: turnaround due to rain. This was actually the first time it rained on a ride during this trip, not counting 2 days of almost drizzle in Oregon. Far to the south a fire is burning in Yosemite Park. Between this and the previous summit ride were some really interesting bridge rides in Portland (I would name it Bridgeland).

( < Red Rocks Pass | TR216D Abraham's Trail s(u) > )
FR99 Bear Meadow s(u) , additional out and back : FR25, 6.5 miles north of jct FR25-FR99 > up FR25 > up FR99 > FR99 Bear Meadow s(u) <> out and back to Windy Ridge viewpoint >> Norwegian Pass(shp) > down FR26 > FR25 south back to starting point: 57.3miles with 5840ft of climbing in 4:58hrs (VDo MC1.0 r2:13.8.27).

A Dayride with this point as intermediate summit is on page : TR207 Abraham's Trail s(u)