From the Bear Creek Guard Station, the trail gradually climbs through lodgepole pine and aspen forest. It skirts the bottom of the 9,869 foot Captain Mountain before meandering through meadows. The end is a steady climb through thick spruce and fir woods, up the canyon of Beaverdam Creek, and finally to the Echo Lake Campground.
As most of the middle portions of this 9 mile trail are relatively flat, there are many good backcountry camping opportunities in this area. Some are in the pine and spruce forests and others are in the aspens. The best are in the open meadows around the south side of Captain Mountain. A short scramble to the top affords great views west to Mt. Goliath, north along the Chief Mountain ridge, and back south to the Bear Creek Basin. An amazing variety of wildflowers abounds throughout the trail. Water sources are easiest on the northern portion of the trail.