Snag views of Mount Stuart, the Enchantment range and much of the North Fork Teanaway Valley on this less-traveled trail in the Teanaway. Wildflowers, rivers, and a healthy workout all precede the views many seek at Medra Pass.
After parking in the lot opposite the trailhead, cross the North Fork Teanaway River and hike for roughly one mile along Johnson Creek. As you look south and across the creek, you’ll see evidence of the Jolly Mountain Fire from 2017. The fire’s most north eastern boundary abuts the south side of the creek and never reached further north. Look at a few of the burned snags and be thankful the fire never jumped Johnson Creek. Queen’s cup, trillium, marigolds, and other wildflowers instead line the first bit of trail.
After about one mile, reach the trail junction with Jungle Creek. Heading straight will lead you along a continued amble along Johnson Creek. Turn right instead to continue along Johnson-Medra Trail. The trail may be brushy at times, but with a little can-do attitude (and perhaps some trekking poles to beat down the brush), it is navigable.
You’ll encounter a few water crossings within the next couple of miles, some of which can be difficult during spring snowmelt. Cross with caution. After these couple crossings, make sure your personal water is filled up. You’ll begin climbing shortly away from the creek and towards the views.
Switchback through south-facing Teanaway slopes, ripe with alpine wildflowers, such as bitterroot and Columbia lewisia, and other rocky soil specimens. Peek-a-boo views of the North Fork Teanaway valley keep the switchbacks scenic, although in the summertime, these south facing slopes do heat up. Once you reach Medra Pass around four miles, Mount Stuart, in all its glory, will be front and center, along with many other Teanaway peaks. At the pass, trails west and north continue, but they are faint at best and should only be taken with proper navigation tools in hand (map, compass, GPS, etc.).
For most, Medra Pass stands a perfect stop for lunch, peak naming, and overall trail bliss. You should have few crowds up here, so enjoy the solitude before descending downhill to the creek and the trailhead.
WTA Pro Tip: Whether you came from the west or the east, north or south, consider stopping by the Cottage Cafe in Cle Elum, where monster food, milkshakes, and slices of pie a la mode await to replenish all the calories you burned.