- Clearwater Mountains
- Giant White Pine Campground
- Good. Some deadfall
If all you’re after is the giant white pine, you won’t have to walk much as it’s lying right next to the parking lot. Lying is correct, since the 600-year-old tree died and, in danger of falling, was felled in 1999. You can still gaze upon its stump, six feet across, and trunk, nearly 200 feet in length. In fact, the trail leads right through the center section of the trunk.
We did the loop counterclockwise, taking the singletrack that starts immediately to the right of the pit toilet where the trail map is located. Trail #228, signed Beason Meadow Trail, immediately climbs the forested hillside above the campground, switchbacks for a bit, and leads to a junction about .75 miles in. Here you have the option to follow the ridge’s ups and downs for a half mile before taking the loop trail back to the campground, but in doing so you’ll miss out on the prettiest section of this hike. Hence, continue on the trail downhill, losing all the elevation so arduously gained and reach E Fork Meadow Creek in another half-mile.
At the junction swing a left (right leads to Bald Mountain in 8 miles…) and take the beguiling path leading through lush cedar forest alongside the creek. This is a superb stroll, dotted with decaying stumps, stately cedars, and frequent views of the gently meandering creek with its beaver dams and overgrown floodplains.
After a mile, take the uphill trail to return to the ridge in half a mile. Views are few, but the trail is pleasant. On the ridge (still no views) you get to the junction with aforementioned connector trail as well as a fork to Three Tree Butte (see separate report). Instead, drop down in a westerly direction towards Mannering Creek. It’s roughly a mile back to the trailhead, with the last half mile paralleling ID-6, which is a bit noisy, especially when the snowplow passes. The entire trail is nicely shaded by cedars, hemlocks, and white pines. You’ll rejoin the campground and trailhead where the giant pine used to stand, walking right through the middle of the trunk.
- Trail 228 extends out all the way to Bald Mountain
- Trail 224 continues on for several more miles, eventually splitting (past Piah Creek) into 224 and 224C. Trail 224 connects to FR-377, while 224C connects to 26
- Trail 26 connects to Three Tree Butte and the XC-ski area beyond (see separate report)
- On the opposite side of ID-6 is a connector (221A) to Old Sampson trail 221 (see separate report)
- There is a connector up on the ridge if you don’t want to drop down into the E Fork Meadow Creek valley; this cuts the mileage in half