Bear Sign #59, AZ | HikeArizona
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Bear Sign #59, AZ

Guide 15 Triplogs  0 Topics
  4.2 of 5 
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,881 feet
Elevation Gain 750 feet
Accumulated Gain 800 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.67
 Interest Seasonal Creek
 Backpack Possible & Connecting
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17  2021-04-10
Bear Sign / Secret Loop
6  2020-07-04
Bear Sign / Secret Loop
8  2018-04-30
Bear Sign / Secret Loop
15  2018-02-17
Bear Sign / Secret Loop
11  2017-11-25
Bear Sign / Secret Loop
3  2017-08-23
Bear Sign / Secret Loop
13  2014-05-02
Bear Sign / Secret Loop
17  2012-09-23 cabel
Page 1,  2
author avatar Guides 24
Routes 90
Photos 614
Trips 67 map ( 768 miles )
Age 66 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Sedona Region
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Preferred Apr, Mar, Nov, Oct → 7 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:48am - 6:29pm
Official Route
9 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2014 Slide Fire21.7k

Bears? What bears?
by GrangerGuy

  Likely In-Season!
The Bear Sign Canyon Trail #59 is within the Coconino National Forest, Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness. Although little used, it is in good shape and follows the Bear Sign Canyon for about 3.5 miles to some pretty camping spots. The trail also forms a segment of the Bear Sign – Secret Canyon Loop.

The Bear Sign Trail starts about 0.9 miles up the Dry Creek Trail. To get to the Vultee Arch / Dry Creek Trailhead, you have to head up Dry Creek Road 152 from the Dry Creek Vista TH, popular for Devil’s Bridge. This requires either a 4-mile walk or a slow drive in a high clearance 4WD vehicle. At one time, this FR152 was drivable by sedan, but today requires 4WD. If you can confidently negotiate the rock berm at the entrance to the road, you can make it the rest of the way.

I chose to walk the road. The Dry Creek Vista TH parking lot requires a Red Rock Pass or multi-agency pass. It was full to overflowing even at 7 am on a Saturday, and I ended up parking overnight on Boynton Pass Rd. There is a pit toilet at the parking lot. If you drive all the way to the trailhead, there is sufficient parking at the Vultee Arch / Dry Creek Trailhead for several vehicles.

From the Dry Creek Trailhead, hike more or less west to Dry Creek, passing in and out of the wilderness. Soon the trail stays within the wilderness. I found good water at Dry Creek in April of 2021, and off and on along Bear Sign Canyon as well. About 0.75 mi up Dry Creek Trail, the Bear Sign Trail heads off to the left.

The trail climbs up above Bear Sign Canyon Creek, and alternately drops down into it, but never is far from the creek. As the trail climbs up, it enters some beautiful forest of Pine, Arizona Cypress, Manzanita, and Scrub Oak. I found the trail pleasantly shady on an April morning. About a quarter mile up the trail, it becomes a little hard to follow the trail where it crosses the creek, but usually, navigation is not difficult.

There is some beautiful red rock along this trail. There is an especially beautiful place where the creek has carved the rock about 1 mile up the trail.

About 1.8 miles up the trail, there is a large sandstone sentinel rock on the right hand side of the creek. The trail climbs up out of the creek bed and around it to the right. Soon after this, there is the likeness of a face naturally occurring in the rocks on the right, guarding the trail.

At 2.3 miles, the David Miller Trail heads sharply up the hill to the left. The Bear Sign Canyon Trail continues. About a quarter mile after the David Miller Trail, where two canyons intersect, there are the remains of a significant debris flow. The trail crosses the right hand drainage and heads up between the two drainages. The trail may be a little hard to follow here, so pay attention. There are some tree blazes to mark the path.

At about 3.3. miles, the canyon opens up to some decent campsites. This is the end of the mapped trail, but a cairned path continues up the canyon. I’ll leave that for other adventurers.

There are a lot of inexperienced tourists on FR 152. Coming in and going out, I encountered people who were lost. Be kind, and be prepared to help them find their way back.

The Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness was part of the 1.1 million acre Arizona Wilderness Act of 1984, sponsored by Reps. Mo Udall and James Francis Mcnulty. It protected a large swath of national forest lands under the National Wildernss Preservation System.

There is great diversity on this trail. The Arizona Cypress has a woody cone, a ball about ¾ inch in diameter. There is a lot of it along this trail. It also has a very “hairy” bark. It is quite a noticeable tree. About 2 miles up the trail the forest evolves into Alligator Juniper, a big leaf Oak, Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir. Even some Bigtooth Maple can be found. There is a plant that looks a great deal like coastal salal, but this is out of its normal range, so I am not convinced.

I did not see any bear sign on this trail. Others claim they have seen it.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2021-04-29 GrangerGuy
  • wilderness related
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    2021 Verde Valley Trails
  • 2021 Verde Valley Area
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    2021 Verde Valley Area
  • 2021 Sedona Trails Map
    region related
    2021 Sedona Trails Map

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.

 Permit $$
Red Rock Pass - may or may not be required. Go to Red Rock Pass then check "When is a Red Rock Pass Required?". If you have questions contact the Coconino forest service.

Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness
see map for camping restrictions

Strictly 4x4

To Vultee / Dry Creek / Bear Sign Trailhead
From the 'Y' in Sedona ( 179/89A ) follow 89A 3.1 miles Southwest to Dry Creek Road. Turn Right and go 1.9 miles to Forest Road #152. There is a fairly large sign with the multiple destinations of FS #152. Turn right on to FS #152 and follow it to the end which is about 4.5 miles. Several trails take off from the area so make sure you get the right trail.

Location: About 42 miles south of Flagstaff (12 miles west of Sedona) on paved and graveled roads.

Access: Drive 27 miles south from Flagstaff to Sedona on US 89A. Continue through Sedona to Dry Creek Road (152C) at the west end of town. Turn right on Dry Creek Road and drive for two miles to Forest Road 152. This road is rough but can be traveled by passenger vehicles. It is not recommended during wet weather. About 4.3 miles up this road you will reach a turn-a-round.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) - 2 hr 36 min (131 miles)
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) - 4 hr 9 min (236 miles)
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) - 1 hr 26 min (37.8 miles)
page created by The_Eagle on Apr 29 2021 12:52 pm

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