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Bear Head Mountain, AZ

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50 5 0
Guide 5 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson S
3.2 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Distance One Way 4.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,757 feet
Elevation Gain 900 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,600 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 10.13
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
14  2016-10-15
Sierra Ancha Peak Trifecta
10  2016-03-05
Picture - Bear Head - Copper Mountain
8  2016-03-05
Picture - Bear Head - Copper Mountain
50  2012-10-06 CannondaleKid
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
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov
Sun  6:13am - 6:20pm
2 Alternative
Named place Nearby

Overview: For a description about the first part of this hike I suggest referencing Preston's "Picture Mountain" hike. After Picture Mtn, return to FR 875, continue east and in about 3 miles you reach Bear Head Mountain. FR 875 peters out on BHM and you have to bushwhack up to the two summits but it's not too bad if you follow a few cairns and ribbons. Return the way you came or as an option you can can return to the saddle where Bear Head Canyon starts and descend on old track down to FR 609 and take it back to the start.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    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 Head Mountain
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Picture - Bear Head - Copper Mountain
    A recent trip to Gun Creek combined with a nearby FLIVER triplog prompted me to suggest this area to Bruce. He threw it together and off we went. This route is primarily forest roads. Pines galore and the opportunity to see Malicious Gap was the appeal.

    Just under a 2 hour drive from Desert Ridge seemed reasonable for the tall pines and nice views. The drive in shakes your noggin. Doable in 2wd high clearance if the road is dry.

    The road heading up Picture Mountain is steep. Soon we found what Bruce calls FLIVER dust on the disc markers. The Mazzies north and south looked impressive. FR 875 fizzles out just heading up Bear Mountain 6610. Bear is nice but no reason to return. We skipped plans for 6650 since the off trail was more involved than anticipated. Dropped down an upper tributary of Bear Head Canyon to FR 609 ( she's real fine, 200 more in fact ). The creek was semi scenic for a stretch due to nice granite? or such.

    After 2 hours and 5 miles we jumped onto a trail that ascends Copper Mountain. There is no trail, just stretches of use-trail. Views off Copper Mountain are spectacular. This is a return destination in my opinion.

    The day was a hit by temps alone. Wispy clouds and a constant cool breeze. The off trail wasn't horrible, just had the hike registered as a road hike.

    1m 16s ... LT3s
    Bear Head Mountain
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Picture - Bear Head - Copper Mountain
    I had some concerns about crossing Tonto Creek east of Punkin center on Greenback Rd, not knowing how deep it was. Luckily a pickup crossed in the other direction, showing me the depth. It was fine with HC 2wd.

    Picture Mountain
    This is a walk up FR875 which is steep and loose. The views are the payoff here. We saw the Fliver disks, added our names to Peak register, and started for Bear Head Mountain.

    Bear Head Mountain

    The views change tremendously. We continued down FR875 looking towards the 2012 Mistake fire scarred Bear Head Mountain. When FR875 abruptly ends we continued up hill to the peakish area. Climbing up the west face, we had little trouble finding a path. In 5 years, that'll be a different story. The views up top are 360. We originally had plans to hit the other peak to the east. Unfortunately. the eastern side of Bear Head Mountain 6610' was too slow going through the mine field of downed trees. We headed down the drainage towards FR609.

    Copper Mountain
    We decided to attack this one attempting to follow the dashed "Trail" line to the top. There were hints of trail every now and then, but that was about it. It was thick and slow going through the Manzanita, but the payoff was worth it. One of the best lunch spots ever. It was hard to leave the views after lunch. On the return, we opted for a much shorter steep bushwhack down a ravine. After all, it couldn't be worse than what we came up.... It worked out.

    On the way down we stumbled on a plane wreck from 1970.

    It was a fun day exploring a new area.

    Video from the top of Bear Head Mountain and Copper Mountain :next: ... ImMs
    Bear Head Mountain
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    With Tracey having a free weekend we loaded up the Cherokee for an over-nighter and set off early Saturday morning. With a host of Forest Road GPS tracks but no hiking tracks this was to be a weekend of come-what-may.

    Bear Head Mountain was first on the list, and we hoped to drive FR875 as far as possible before resorting to hoofing it. While I am in complete agreement with Preston's comments about Forest Un-Road 875 (see Preston's Picture Mountain hike description & triplogs), we managed to drive to within .2 mile of the Picture Mountain summit. Drive truly wasn't the word I'd use, it was more like clawing up the hill.
    (See the separate FR875 triplog for the gory details)

    We started our hike from not much more than a stone's-throw from Picture Mountain summit. It wasn't until we had hiked over the second hill on the way that we realized this was the scene of a fire not long ago. (Now I know it was part of 5,200 acres burned in the Mistake Peak fire this last August.) But this was actually a blessing-in-disguise for a number of reasons, no bush-whacking through Manzanita and assorted brush, we got to walk a mile or more along a graded fire-break and the final treat, at least in my eyes is the surreal beauty that shows itself after a fire.

    There were charred tree & Manzanita skeletons, piles of white ash where large trees were completely devoured by the flames and the dimpled rocks, fractured from within due to expansion from the intense heat. Although there was plenty of room to roam between the black and metallic-gray tree skeletons, inevitably I managed to gain black streaks at random angles on my used-to-be white hiking pants. (No worries, a little Spray-and-Wash and they are white again)

    At the summit we could see the burned-out area of Malicious Gap and Lion Spring as well as across the way to Copper Mountain, which was on the list for tomorrow. (The plan was for it to be our afternoon hike today, but that was only if we could have driven the length of FR 875.)

    On the return trip we took a half-mile detour to the summit of Peak 6504 just north of the remains of FR 875. This was the only part of the hike where we had to bushwhack as it was just outside the confines of the August fire. The terrain wasn't too enclosed so the bushwhacking was more seeking out a better route than pushing through tight brush. (That will come tomorrow!) After reaching Peak 6504 summit we headed back to reconnect to our track. During this part of the hike we encountered a skull of a deer with a 7-point rack as well as the scattered remains of the skeleton.

    Once back to the Cherokee, Tracey was pretty well wiped out so it meant my jaunt to Picture Mountain summit would be solo. No sweat, as long as I got to use her new camera as mine was having 'lens errors'.
    Hmmm, I may have to break the bank for a new camera as well. :( :y:

    I posted a 2-1/2 minute video from the summit of Bear Head Mountain here:

    I posted 50 photos here on HAZ, the full set of 67 photos are here:
    Bear Head Mountain
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    FYI triplog readers, due to the 2012 (?) Mistake Fire, you may not face the bushwhacking mess I did in the following narrative...

    A partial day off from work meant: road trip! I left Prescott, headed east, then made the tire destruction crawl up Picture Mountain on FR 609. I did the usual Picture Mountain summit hike, then continued east on FR 875, which grew increasingly primitive and difficult to follow. FR 875 suddenly just stopped on the southwest side of Bear Head Mountain's western summit. My quest for the higher, eastern summit of Bear Head Mountain then became a painful, slow bushwhack through bloodletting, woody tangles. The brush became ponderosa forest on the north and east slopes of the west summit, and reaching the east summit before sunset seemed within reach once again. Upon reaching the eastern (true) summit, I located the register, then continued a short distance east for a sunset view from the edge of the mountain. Not wanting to return the same way and deal with the bushwhack again after dark, I opted to descend the shallow drainage heading north between the west and east summits, and then follow FR 609 west to reach my truck. This was a much nicer route, and I managed to reach FR 609 just before dark. The remaining few miles back on FR 609 were a pleasant starlight road walk. Back at my truck, I downshifted into 1st gear 4wd, and made the brake-cooking descent down Picture Mountain. Another great adventure complete.

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    page created by mazatzal on Feb 27 2012 12:55 pm
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