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Bear Canyon Trail #299, AZ

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Guide 13 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Safford
4 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Distance One Way 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,881 feet
Elevation Gain 3,839 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,966 feet
Avg Time One Way 3.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 19.22
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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16  2019-07-19
Bear Canyon Trail #299 Upper
6  2018-03-21 cactuscat
8  2017-04-12 cactuscat
15  2012-03-20 SkyIslander18
15  2011-06-07
Dutch Henry Trail #297
5  2011-04-03
Dutch Henry Trail #297
18  2010-10-24 Kel1969
9  2009-07-21 PrestonSands
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Sep → 6 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:07am - 6:16pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
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Bear of a Hike
by HAZ_Hikebot

Likely In-Season!
Bear Canyon Trail provides access to four Forest trails that lead down the mountain from Ladybug Saddle. Ladybug Trail #329, Dutch Henry Canyon Trail #297, Turkey Flat Trail #330 and Ladybug Peak Trail #300 all connect to the Bear Canyon Trail. In addition to offering access to a number of other trails, Bear Canyon Trail provides good views to the south. Among the features you can see from the upper reaches of this trail are the Dos Cabezas Mountains east of Willcox, with the Greasewood Mountains in the foreground and Sulphur Springs Valley in the distance. Closer in, you'll enjoy good views of the lower slopes and southern peaks of the Pinalenos as well.

The trail essentially starts among mixed conifer forest surroundings and drops down to an oak- and juniper-dotted desert grassland. As you might suspect, Bear Canyon is a good place to see black bears which are quite common on this mountain range. (Remember that bears are secretive creatures, and usually you have to be looking for them to see them.) Bear Canyon Trail is also a good place to see a much smaller predator-ladybugs, lots of them. Ladybug Peak Trail #300 branches off the main trail and leads to the summit of Ladybug Peak. Here, during the summer, rocks and trees are sometimes covered with these aphid-eating insects.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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2008-06-12 HAZ_Hikebot
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One-Way Notice
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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Bear Canyon Trail #299
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Checked with a buddy on the status of Grant Creek, my favorite #1 trail on the Pinalenos' south side is still in bad shape from the fire, so my #2 Bear Canyon was the choice today.
I just went up a couple of miles to reach the cool boulder section and off-trail to a favorite little spot tucked away where I like to spend time. I arrived and set up a day camp where I spent the next 3 hours just doing my solitude nature campy thing.
The weather all day was mostly dramatic clouds and it sprinkled on me many times :y:
The return trip back down was beautiful, the view across to the Greasewoods was awesome, the skies got more stormy looking and I found another great campsite down low built by someone else complete with a fire ring and firewood. Spent the rest of the evening there with a warming fire and one heck of a sunset to the south = 8/10
Wildlife today was 3 young white-tail does running across my path, a turkey gobbling in the canyon & a day time skunk half way down a hole digging with passion.
I miss Grant Creek right now, but Bear Canyon was a very nice alternative for the day!

Bear Canyon Trail #299
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Motivated by the day before rain I watched hit the upper mountain, I headed up high to the pines .....

Shake Trail - Started the day with an out-n-back down to the meadow hoping for the yellow sunflowers that usually fill up this area in summer. I was not disappointed, a good sea of yellow with much more to come!

Twilight Peak - From the Shake TH a walk across the Swift Trail took me up the "secret/hidden" Twilight trail. The trail has some new tape markers that made it a lot easier to find my way up to the saddle than my last trip! At the saddle, I decided on peak 9592 rather then Twilight. I payed the price on this idea bushwacking the ridgeline north to the highpoint I believe was 9592? There was blood, cussing & the "why" question on this never again adventure.

Ladybug Peak & Bear Canyon Trail - On the way back down I hit up the mandatory Ladybug Peak for this time of the year. True to it's name, there were thousands on top! Within minutes I had them in my hair, up my shorts & down my shoes. Signed the register, took my pics and climbed down removing ladybugs all the way down to the Bear Canyon spur.
I then out-n-backed upper Bear Canyon down to Dutch Henry to finish the day. Only had time for the short upper section, but any section along Bear will always be on my Pinaleno Favs list!

Sunset was had at Ladybug Saddle along with a nice little thunderstorm hitting north over the Gila Mountains.
Wildlife spotted - 4 Does, 2 Abert's, Turkey Vultures, Spiny Lizards, Fungus Beetles, Hawk, Many species of Butterflies & the highlight - 4 nighttime skunks running alongside my truck down the Swift Trail!
Wonderful day on Graham, painful day on Graham, rewarding day on Graham!
: rein :
Bear Canyon Trail #299
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Taking advantage of all this scenic snow on Graham before it's gone.
Today I hit up Bear Canyon on the south side.
The drive in on Stockton Pass was very beautiful with the Greasewoods to the left and the Pinalenos to the right still holding a nice amount of snow.
I took Bear up a couple of miles to the west side of Maverick Mountain before turning around.
This trail is in good shape, very nice winter scenery up high & I drove home happy with my choice for the day!
Bear Canyon Trail #299
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
First up, Ladybug Peak from Ladybug Saddle. The ammo box register is gone, has been replaced with a round tin located a little lower down the peak. Ladybugs? I nailed it on this trip! Thousands x thousands of them covering the rocky peak. I was pulling them out of my hair, clothes & gear for the next 1/4 mile back down (that's a cool thing).

Second up, Bear Canyon down to Dutch Henry. Dutch Henry trail was cleared a few years ago, but once again has become a mess to get down. Only made it a 1/2 mile down before it became too much work to enjoy.

Third up, climbed back up to the Bear Canyon trail and took it down a ways off the south end of the mountain. Great views as always with monsoon storms in the distance moving in, was time to get back on the other side before they hit.

Last up, a short trip down the Ladybug Trail for the northern valley views before heading back up and down to Ladybug Saddle.

I ended with a short drive up the Swift Trail for sunset at the Arrow Tree overlook. Watched the sun go down and the storms move off the mountain never hitting the top. Not much on the ground for wildlife, but I saw and heard it all in the trees and sky today! Spotted owls, vultures & squirrels to name a few.
Another day well spent on Graham.
Bear Canyon Trail #299
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Had to wait an hour for the freezing fog to lift this morning before heading out to play in the Pinalenos new snow. Loaded the new VH album into the Ipod and headed out to the SE Stockton Pass area where I know the snow won't last long and chose the Bear Canyon trail. The first couple of miles had just a few patches of snow and was no problem as I weaved my way up through the cool boulder sections and past Maverick Mountain. I started to hit snow on the trail at the 6500 foot level and by the 7500 foot level, I was in it up to my ankles and then the trail got tough! My socks were now starting to get wet, but with only a half mile left to get up to the saddle I couldn't turn back now. I continued up the switchbacks now in knee deep snow stopping & resting at every switchback and almost turning back 3 times. I thought I had another few switchbacks left when unexpectedly I came around a corner and there was the Bear Canyon/Ladybug Saddle/Dutch Henry intersection trail sign! I made it and I think for the first time ever on a hike, I gave out a victory yell! The top was a complete winter wonderland and was very beautiful complete with frozen pine tree tops and ice sickles hanging from the branches. I was now in need of a long rest, but the top was covered in deep snow so I had to hike back down a mile before finding a clear spot for a short nap. Reenergized I made it back down in no time and was very happy to finally have completed this outstanding trail. I never dreamed of completing it it snow, but that just made it 2x awesome! I've been hiking the last 2 years now with a bad back (slipped disc) so the elevation & snow on this one had me in a lot of pain and demanded a stop at Roper Lake on the way home for a long soak in the hot tub at sunset. Saw no signs of bear in Bear Canyon, but I had some great encounters with 6 white-tail does low on the trail and 3 coatis higher up while crossing one of the canyon washes.

This is one of the better Pinaleno climbing trails IMO - The trail is in great shape, lots of wildlife and awesome views to the south of the Greasewoods/Galiuros/Dragoons/Dos Cabezas Mountains. And btw, the new Van Halen stuff is worth the buy!
Bear Canyon Trail #299
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Drove up to Ladybug saddle for one more hike on the mountain before the fire closure. First climbed up to Ladybug Peak and was able to see both the Wallow & Horseshoe two fires clearly from the peak. I then hiked down the trail to the Bear Canyon/Dutch Henry Y and sat for a minute trying to decide on what trail I wanted to do. Have never done the upper half of Bear Canyon or any of the Dutch Henry so I literally flipped a coin to decide, Dutch Henry it was. I only made it about 1.5 miles down on the recently worked trail until it became obvious where the work had stopped and the trail became too overgrown to continue. FS told me that they plan to clear the rest of this trail to the bottom by the end of summer. On the hike back out I had a cool encounter with an owl and a sudden & brief encounter with a bear that took off down the hillside breaking tree branches the whole way down. We both scared each other pretty good! Made it back up to the saddle and drove back down the mountain bummed that this will be my last hike up here until the monsoons come.
Bear Canyon Trail #299
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Whoever did the recent trail work on ol' Dutch Henry gets a Tommy Boy "Brothers don't shake hands, brothers gotta hug!" style hug from me. What a difference between today's and last November's hike. The trail is clear of vegetation and logs, and the trail bed was repaired.

I started from Ladybug Saddle at 5 pm, went to Ladybug Peak, then down Bear Canyon Trail, with no real destination in mind. The top of the Dutch Henry Trail appeared to have seen some recent work, so I turned onto it to see if the unlikely was actually true. It was. Hooray! I made it onto the ridge that divides Veach Canyon and Dutch Henry Canyon, before turning around due to coming darkness.

I'll be back to hike all of you, Dutch Henry. I'm looking forward to it! :)

EDIT: Forest Service info from 3-29-11, verbatim:
..."The top end of the Dutch Henry Trail has been worked (about 2 miles in from Ladybug) but the other 7-ish miles are in bad shape and the public should not attempt to hike this thru (and the bottom end is just plain "gone", as well as not getting a vehicle anywhere near the bottom trailhead)"...
Bear Canyon Trail #299
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
After hiking the Shake Trail #309 a few days earlier, I drove back out to hike it's brother trail located just 2 miles further down the road. With the 2 trails being so close and basically climbing up the same area to Ladybug Saddle I thought this trail would look pretty much the same as the Shake, what a difference 2 miles make! I found the Bear Canyon trail much, much more scenic & fun to climb. The first mile weaves it's way through some big boulders and had a lot of nice shade, the second mile got steeper and went through another section of impressive boulders (some of them balanced) and crossed the wash over a huge slab of granite. The trail then opened up a bit on the third mile with some great views up & down the mountain. As with the Shake hike, the plan today was to hike up to the 1/2 way point and back, then complete both trails from the top of the mountain down once the snow has all melted and the flowers come out. I am going to give the Bear Canyon trail a 4 today, but if the top is as nice as the bottom, I could be bumping it up to a 5!

Also, I got to show off my legs today for the first time all year as it was another very warm day.
Bear Canyon Trail #299
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
I explored the upper end of this hike after work. A rattlesnake buzzed me on the north slope of Ladybug Peak, and I had to climb around him on the steep slope to get past. He was huge! Probably 5-6 feet. I never knew rattlers lived this high in the Pinalenos (8700 ft). Turning onto the primitive and very scenic Bear Canyon Trail, I got to see another world class sunset from atop a big boulder. With the light fading fast, I continued on, and stopped at the junction with the Dutch Henry Trail. If anyone's interested, the junction's coordinates are: 32.61615 N, 109.81033 W. I returned at top speed, didn't see the snake again, and got back to Ladybug Saddle just before it was completely dark. While I only saw the upper end of this trail, it looks to be a good one! I saw a few nice saddle campsites, too.

Permit $$

Coronado Forest
MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To Bear Canyon Trailhead
From the junction of SR191 & SR266 about 16mi south of Safford it's 8.6mi east on SR266.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 232 mi - about 3 hours 27 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 122 mi - about 1 hour 52 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 375 mi - about 5 hours 33 mins
page created by joebartels on Jun 12 2008 4:37 pm
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