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Bear Head Mountain Loop - Sierra Ancha, AZ

no permit
63 2 0
Guide 2 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Young S
5 of 5 by 2
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,707 feet
Elevation Gain 1,332 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,632 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 11.56
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Ruins, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
12  2011-11-11 ssk44
51  2011-11-11 Grasshopper
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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Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Apr, May
Sun  6:12am - 6:23pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Overview: A serious intermediate route finding and bushwhacking off trail hike to traverse the lower cliff face of rugged Bear Head Mountain (located in the Sierra Ancha Mountains) to view one visible ancient, partially walled Indian Ruin with "possible" other significant cliff dwelling along its higher NE cliff ledges not viewable or reachable without canyoneering expertise. This hike also includes an option as an out and back from this hikes posted GPS tack NE waypoint (labeled "BearHDMtn-DOWN"--> 33.92502 -111.11520) or a recommended loop hike to off trail then enter upper Malicious Gap-Greenback Creek canyoneering route (at waypoint 33.92664 -111.11163) to end back down at the Bear Head Mountain/Malicious Gap TH Start.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
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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 Head Mountain Loop - Sierra Ancha
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
I can't remember the last time I had this much fun on a 3.4 mile loop hike for a total of 7 hours 49 minutes with a stopped time of 4 hours (of either rest/snack stops, scenic pic moments, or just plain stuck in the bush :DANCE: ..)

In April'11 on another Sierra Ancha Mountains adventure to the remote Dupont Rim area, I first viewed this intriguing "Bear Head Mountain" from a distance.. and had since hoped we could do some hiking here this year. Our ssk44 (Eric) has always come up with some excellent back country adventures, but this remote and diverse Sierra Ancha Mountains hike was a great Eric find and choice for me and I am very pleased I could join him.

We put it on the calendar and one hundred and forty-one pics later (with fifty-one making the cut for HAZ posting.. too many pics I know, but I loved it), I can confirm it is a winner!

I prefer to document many of my hikes with a "start-to-finish" picset and detailed captions rather than just post a few possible pic winners. My thought being.. for those interested in considering this hike, viewing the entire picset (from beginning to end) with explanatory captions will hopefully provide a better overview of what to expect and should also further complement the hike description narrative.
Bear Head Mountain Loop - Sierra Ancha
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Bear Head mountain has been calling my name for over ten years. On the southeast face, is a mammoth 300 foot +/- slab or solid rock that is visible for miles in the area surrounding Greenback Valley. Hiking Bear Head was a relentless beating and I knew it going in. I talked Hank into joining me with the possibility of unregistered ruins. Bear Head has all the signs that point to ruins and my luck has been good over the last year. He took the bait. Hank is a good friend and I thoroughly enjoy our adventures. We've had some good ones and this day was no exception. I would have done this hike with our without ruins. Finding a small cliff dwelling was the icing on the cake. The exact purpose of the structure was unclear. Finding this little ruin was the teaser that kept pushing us forward looking for more. It was unfortunately all we found on this hike. Small or big doesn't matter to me. Just finding something like that is so special and the setting was simply grand. The views from the base of Bear Head Mountain are incredible and having a special love for the area only added to the experience. Along the base of the cliff is a long hidden self with alcove areas, deep cracks, and lush thick vegetation. I emphasize thick. Mostly shrub oak with some large live oak trees and periodic grape vine. Water actually seeps through the massive rock face in multiple areas. It's actually funny that I first noticed the water from drips that hit my face. I thought is must have been raining. The drips were coming from way up the cliff face. Looking up the cliff face made me dizzy every time I tried. Hank and I were like ants moving across the lower shelf. It's actually intimidating to stand below that huge rock face.

After finally reaching the east edge of the mountain, the discussion quickly switched to something along the lines of... "Do we really have to go back the way we just came". That was one nasty route. The initial cliff face approach and the shelf itself took forever the traverse. The thought of enduring that pain again was more then I wanted to experience. From where we stood, I could actually see the upper end of Malicious Gap and it didn't look all that far away. Balling off into the middle segments of Malicious Gap is not an option due to the steep cliffs, however the upper end is doable. I looked over at hank... So... Are you interested in door number 3? It's one of those "pick your poison" decisions. I knew we could safely navigate the Gap and the alternate wasn't very appealing. We had enough time to pull it off. Why not! He agreed and we were off again. The first hundred yards or so involved pushing our bodies through dense chest-high brush, however the planed route opened up into a manageable chunky rock slide areas that led towards the bottom. We win! The light scrambling in Malicious Gap was a welcome change and the killer red rock scenery eased the pain from earlier. What a great way to end this hike. The loop was a good mutual decision on our part. I actually forgot how much I loved this canyon. About seven hours later and with late evening quickly approaching, we finally reached the truck.

What a great adventure. Completing this hike had special meaning for me. Being able to share it with Hank was really cool. Ha. He was definitely beat up afterwards but I think the high points outweighed the bad. Nasty terrain comes with the territory in off-trail exploration. The rugged Sierra Ancha mountain range never disappoints.


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Map Drive
Strictly 4x4

To canyon trip
From the Phoenix area: See driving directions from the "Malicious Gap" hike description and also see posted Driving Directions GPS track for this hike description;
page created by Grasshopper on Nov 13 2011 10:27 am
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