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 apparently was just finished this March. It somewhat overlays an old route from the Prison Camp at Hirabiyashi 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 it's 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 nice 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 labelled 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 remniscent 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 really part 2 of the hike. As soon as you descend down towards the canyon floor,you enter a 5800 hundred foot plus forested paradise. The trail just meanders along the streamcourse of this nameless canyon, periodically crossing over it. There is ubiquitous shade, pines, oak,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 it's 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 just catch a glimpse of Guthrie Mountain on the way down too. The trail ends at the highway, right in the vicinity of 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 to some fine new Catalina trail.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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.