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 This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Preferred" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Bear Wallow Trail #63, AZ

Guide 22 Triplogs  0 Topics
  4 of 5 
no permit
302 22 0
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 16 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,730 feet
Elevation Gain -2,000 feet
Accumulated Gain 4,271 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 7-9 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 37.36
 Interest Perennial Creek
 Backpack Yes
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Page 1,  2,  3
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 0
Photos 0
Trips 8 map ( 43 miles )
Age 77 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Alpine Region
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
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Preferred Jul, Jun, Aug, Sep → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  5:07am - 7:26pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2018 Rattlesnake Fire26.1k
🔥 2011 Wallow Fire29
🔥 2009 Reno Fire24.9 mi*
🔥 1971 Junction Fire15.0 mi*
🔥 1971 Bull Ridge Fire19.4 mi*
🔥 View (All) - over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles

The Bears Are Watching
by Rays

 Likely In-Season!
The Bear Wallow Wilderness is a lush valley with a perennial stream running through it located just south of Hannagan Meadow. We camped close to the trailhead the first night and awoke to howling coyotes answered by wolves. It was absolutely haunting! The next morning we shouldered our packs and descended 700 feet to Bear Wallow Creek. Even though it was late October, the forest was incredibly green with huge spruce trees with hanging moss. Springs seeped from the canyon walls. The stream was crystal clear with an occasional Apache trout darting from sunlight to shadow. There were small meadows with abundant signs of elk. We continued another 2 miles to the junction of Schell Canyon where we camped for the night. T-shirts were followed by more layers as the temperature plunged into the 20s.

The next day we day hiked another 3 miles into the canyon dropping another 1200 feet. We crossed the creek 12 times and at one point the trail climbed the canyon wall and became quite narrow. The scenery continued to amaze us. The highlight was a high canyon wall with ferns and hanging grasses that reminded us of the Fern Grotto in Hawaii! The bear bells came out when we saw the first bear skat. More followed along with large over-turned rocks. We didn't see the bears but I swear they were watching us.

We could have continued another 2 miles to the end of the trail but chose to get back to camp before dark. The next day we sadly climbed back to the trailhead for our trip home.

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2007-11-11 Rays
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  • 100 Classic Hikes - 2007
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    100 Classic Hikes - 2007
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

 Permit $$

FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
From Phoenix, take 87 to Payson, turn right (north) on 260 to Showlow. You will jog through town and pick up 260 again (watch signs). Take to 191 (Springerville) and go south to Hannagan Meadow. Continue on 191 for another 4.3 miles and go west on FR 25. Go approximately 3 miles to the trailhead (63) on the left-hand side of the road. Allow about 5 1/2 hours driving time.
 90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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