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You can put it on the map!
The Coronado National Forest has recently resurrected an old, forgotten trail in the Catalinas. Bug Springs is a newly constructed trail that was just finished this March. It somewhat overlays an old route from the Prison Camp at Hirabayashi Campground up to the Middle Bear Campground and picnic area. This new trail offers a nice dichotomy of midlevel basin-type scenery typical of the Molino Basin area with pristine, unburned low pine forest typical of the lower Green Mountain trail. Nice...a new trail in the Catalinas.
The Bug Springs trail leaves its small parking area and almost immediately starts switchbacking up the ridge just towering above the lot, at first heading east then sharply turning west and north to attain the ridge. At first, you have views up the canyon housing the old Bug Spring. You can see an old empty lot with the foundation of some old building. A small trail runs up the canyon floor from here, likely heading to the spring. As the trail climbs away from this canyon you gain the ridge separating it from the next canyon north. The trail follows this ridgeline northeast for a while, passing through areas of recovering burn. There are lovely views up the highway and you can see Cathedral Rock way in the distance. As the trail runs the ridgeline, it starts to head over to the canyon on your left and eventually crosses over it at about 1.35 miles from the trailhead. It then climbs up the north wall of that canyon to gain the next ridgeline separating this canyon from the next one north again. Again, you run the ridgeline northeast. There are periodic views of Airmen Peak to your right. Many nice rock formations and progressive greenery. There are huge views out over the Rincons as well, especially Rincon Peak looming in the distance. As you run the ridgeline you can see you are heading towards a forest, beautifully untouched from any recent flames. The views down either side of the ridgeline get nicer. I labeled my GPS at 2.25 miles from the trailhead "End Burn" and it's true. There are nice mossy rock formations here and there that are quite reminiscent of Green Mountain. The trail is running right towards a prominent spire. At 2.5 miles you hit the base of the spire and the trail turns sharply left and begins to descend.
This is part 2 of the hike. As soon as you descend towards the canyon floor, you enter a 5800 hundred foot plus forested paradise. The trail just meanders along the stream course of this nameless canyon, periodically crossing over it. There is ubiquitous shade, pines, oak, and juniper... this section is heaven. I just wandered about dumbfounded through here, with a big goofy grin on my face. The trail blissfully runs through here for almost a mile before cutting north out of the floor to climb up a side drainage to access a ridge separating this canyon from its famous neighbor north, Bear Canyon. AS you climb up to the saddle separating the two, you hit the highpoint of the hike, 6279 feet, at about 4.1 miles from the trailhead. From here it is a sharp slippery descent down a windy ridge towards the upper trailhead along the Catalina Highway. There are excellent views up towards Green Mountain and you can catch a glimpse of Guthrie Mountain on the way down too. The trail ends at the highway, right in the vicinity of the Middle Bear campground and picnic area, about a quarter-mile up the road is the General Hitchcock campground. This is at about 5878 feet and 4.6 miles from the trailhead.
Return the way you came, and lay feet on some fine new Catalina trail.
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