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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Bear Canyon (Middle) - Mogollon Rim, AZ

no permit
223 20 2
Guide 20 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well
3.2 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 10.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,040 feet
Elevation Gain -257 feet
Accumulated Gain 805 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.0
Kokopelli Seeds 14.63
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
5  2019-06-13
FR95 Closure at Bear Cyn - Mogollon Rim
19  2018-08-22
Bear Canyon Middle Loop
3  2018-05-18
Bear Canyon Drop-In
8  2018-04-22 MountainMatt
15  2016-07-09
Bear Canyon - Cabin Loop via Washington Park
7  2016-07-09
Bear Canyon - Cabin Loop via Washington Park
19  2015-08-31
Bear Canyon Upper - East Bear Canyon Loop
12  2015-07-12 friendofThunderg
Page 1,  2,  3
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   May, Oct, Sep, Apr
Sun  6:09am - 6:29pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Likely In-Season!
Overview: Middle Bear Canyon is defined as the "off trail" section from where one enters the canyon at the coordinates noted below to Bear Canyon Upper where the canyon splits with East Bear Canyon. This hike as now written is an "out and back" (~5.3 miles one way) but could also be a loop or shuttle hike if an adequate upper Bear Canyon hike exit route and TH Parking location is later determined. Middle Bear Canyon "off trail" hiking can be compared to hiking sections of our Mogollon Rim- Barbershop Canyon and Dane Canyon.

Hike Start: from TH Parking, hike NW crossing FR139A following Fred Haught Trail#141. Enter into Middle Bear Canyon (down east side) at where Trail#141 crosses Bear Canyon on FR95 (at 34.509706 -111.200924).

Also Note: For the stronger hiker with off-trail route finding ability, this Bear Canyon(Middle) hike description can be combined with the Bear Canyon(Upper) hike description for a longer 10+ mile shuttle hike.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
    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 (Middle) - Mogollon Rim
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    Bear Canyon - Cabin Loop via Washington Park
    Headed off to Cyle Kountry for some cooler temps and tall pines.
    Temps on the day ranged from 71 to 91, The Coolest in the morning after the climb to General Spring Cabin. The warmest at the Railroad Tunnel in the late afternoon. It was in the 80's most of the day and perfect in the shade and with a breeze.

    First time driving to the Washington Park TH and any vehicle could easily make it there.

    Colonel Devin Trail #290, is as steep at the top as I remembered from doing AZT #27. We took a cool down snack break at the cabin and then headed SE through the woods to Bear Canyon Upper. I'd done this portion before. There are quite a few areas that the game have provided a nice path to follow. It's a lush area with tall cliff walls that is very picturesque. The places where the game had not left a trail was slow going and takes a toll on you. After 5+ miles we cut our track short and scrambled straight up and out of the the creek bed.

    On to the ridge line, we ran across a long ago tree cleared roadbed, that made navigating the forest to FR719 a breeze.

    Once on the Fred Haught Trail #141 it was clear sailing in the pines. Here we ran into HAZ Lurker Samantha, who gushed about the Web Site and an unlikely member. "Do you guys know AZChumley" :sl:

    On the way down, we decided to check out the Railroad Tunnel Trail from the top. Neither of us had been on this section before. Some might want to use this as an alternate route to the top, as it is a less steep alternative.

    On the way home, while gassing up, we ran into the before mentioned AZ-Chumley, one of his partners little Johnny 8K, Jackie who was watching after the Leemobile that had be commandeered, and Linda aka Lindaagm. Great to meet you. Be careful of the company you keep. :o
    Bear Canyon (Middle) - Mogollon Rim
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    Bear Canyon - Cabin Loop via Washington Park
    Upper 70's looked refreshing so the adventure was on. Devin is a straight shooter and gets you to Kyle/Hank country quick. Stopped at the first cabin heading in and out to rest and enjoy the cool breeze.

    The meat of the hike was Bear Canyon. It's nice. Big pines, occasional water and such. Nearing six miles negotiating downed trees with no prize on the horizon was losing it's lure. We agreed to forego the next two miles and jump out. It was steep. We stumbled upon an old long gone road on a finger of a ridge. Based on the stumps and trees in the road it looks like it was logged back in the 50s.

    Then onto FR719 thinning is obvious in areas that include countless slash piles. Semi amazing as this is a blip of an iota in a sea of canyons and ridges on the rim.

    Out General Springs with a stop to the Railroad Tunnel utilizing the upper trail we've never hiked. Ran into the gossip wagon heading

    a few nice specimens are out, several large areas of Wild Bergamot
    Bear Canyon (Middle) - Mogollon Rim
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    Day 2 of my 4-day camp above Bear Canyon.

    Dropped down into East Bear Canyon from my camp up on FR 300G via a steep drainage. Lots of water at the bottom. Slowly worked north to the confluence with Bear Canyon. Foraged along the way on the last of the season's wild raspberries. Also sampled some salad greens growing in abundance (common plantain and dandelion).

    The confluence with Bear Canyon has a very large pool. Just north of the confluence I found a huge dead pine along the eastern slope that groaned with each gust of wind. The roots of this ancient giant grew straight out of a sandstone wall. The roots had split the rock. That is gonna be some kind of a crash when this thing comes down.

    Back tracked south and took an unnamed drainage that would lead me back fairly close to my camp. Quarter mile in or so I got cliffed out by a 30 foot waterfall. Took a sketchy route along the western slope instead of surrendering. Found a matched elk shed in the drainage. It was several years old and partially deteriorated, but the upper third of one was still solid and will make some nice handles on some future craft projects. Scared up two elk, a cow and yearling, about 500 feet from my camp.

    I do love the Rim!

    Link to the camp trip report:
    Bear Canyon (Middle) - Mogollon Rim
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    Bear Canyon - Houston Draw Loop
    Kyle invited me for a walk in one of his favorite areas. Do I want to spend the day at 106 or 76 degrees. Duh.

    We dropped into Bear Canyon off of FR95 at FR9737M (as depicted on the TOPO maps) There was actually a Forrest Service sign for this road, but no road. We picked a pretty good route just making our way down the side of the canyon.

    The Bear Canyon drainage was flowing pretty good the entire length we were in it. It was green, green, green! You can find game trails to navigate most of the way, but still need to cross over the drainage many times. It's easy making your way down there, but slow going.

    We crested a bit of a rise in the drainage, to a small grassy meadow. We were both surprised to stumble on a huge Bull Elk, still in velvet, feeding in the grass, not more than 50' away. He was gone before I could get the camera going.

    We only had one spot where we had to go up to avoid a swimmer. Would have been a good swim if it was warmer.

    Out of the drainage and on our way to Pinchot Cabin, it started to rain lightly. Perfect timing as we'd planned to stop at the cabin for lunch anyway. It rained and thundered while we ate lunch under the awning of the cabin. It was actually a bit cold.

    On the Houston Brothers trail we made up some time.

    We dropped into East Bear Canyon following a side canyon down. The Elk have made a decent path to the hill. A few more miles in the canyon and I was ready for the climb out.

    A pretty hike, in great temps. Lots of tiny strawberries along the entire hike. Lilly did great on the hike. Even all the off trail stuff. Thanks for the hike and driving Kyle.
    Bear Canyon (Middle) - Mogollon Rim
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    My and Larry's hunt for early Autumn :FG: Big Tooth Maple colors :)

    This was my second hike (since June'12) up into this lower end of Middle Bear Canyon. I had high hopes for Autumn colors for this section but was somewhat disappointed due to first needing to hike in approximately 1.5 miles prior-to viewing the first early season Big Tooth Maple colors.

    This lower canyon section is quite scenic with established animal routes but also quite rocky with some thick grasses which along with the hidden rocks can impede ones progress for standing upright if not careful 8-[

    Our hike up canyon this trip was only ~1.7 miles (due to still present.. ). This total middle Bear Canyon hike is actually 5.3 miles one way with the balance of the 3.7 miles being the most rewarding section to hike in my opinion. Access this upper Middle Bear Canyon hiking section via the FR300G ending road TH Start for the Bear Canyon (Upper) hike desc.. .
    Bear Canyon (Middle) - Mogollon Rim
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    June of this year I did my first exploratory hike into Bear Canyon (Middle) heading up canyon from the recommended Park/TH Start for this hike at the intersection of FR139A/Fred Haught TR#141. On this June exploratory hike, I went up canyon only 1.7mls of the 5.3ml one way distance due to a narrow canyon section with significant water pooling.

    My goal this July visit was to explore the additional section of middle Bear Canyon that I was unable to hike (ie, elected not to hike and be wet) in June.

    This July'12 visit, Larry and I started from the recommended Bear Canyon (Upper) Park/TH at the end of FR300G for a faster access to the most upper end of middle Bear Canyon. We then hiked an out and back down Bear Canyon (Middle) to stop at where I had ended my June adventure.

    Now having completed this entire ~5.3 mile one way hike, I am impressed with my June-July trip findings of significant water pooling (which may require you to get wet if hiking the entire route), scenic canyon cliff geology, lush green foliage including ferns, pines, oaks, aspens, and numerous stands of Big Tooth Maple which should all make for a very pleasant summer Mogollon Rim high country off-trail escape and should also make for a very pleasant prime autumn :FG: off-trail hike experience.

    For more detail, please also see my posted June-July GPS Routes with key waypoints, and my geocoded picsets with captions.
    Bear Canyon (Middle) - Mogollon Rim
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    While car camping on the Rim for 5 nights/6 days this was my first of two planned exploratory day hikes to checkout new to me- Bear Canyon (no bears observed this visit :( ).

    Middle Bear Canyon as I define it in the HAZ hike description runs generally north to south for 4.6 miles one way, bordered in-between FR95 (on the west) and FR139A (on the east).

    Even though this first visit I was not able to complete my planned 9.2 mile round trip exploratory hike due to not wanting to get wet (see my picset captions and GPS Route for details), it was obvious to me that this seldom hiked canyon should prove to be another popular off-trail hiking area within our Mogollon Rim - Cabin Loop area, and can be compared to hiking certain off-trail sections of Dane and Barbershop Canyons. I was particularly impressed with the amount of water pooling with some flow in early June and with the large pockets of Big Tooth Maple trees that may prove to provide another excellent hiking/viewing option to the Upper Buck Spring Canyon area during our Mogollon Rim
    autumn season :FG: spectacular.

    I shall be back for more! :D

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    From the Phoenix Area- Hwy 87 North through Payson, Pine, Strawberry, and Clint's Well. Just past the Blue Ridge Ranger station on Hwy 87, turn right (east) onto Forest Road 95. Follow Forest Road 95 for approximately 11.15 miles, then turn left (south) onto Forest Road 139A. Follow Forest Road 139A for a little over 0.1 miles to the signed crossing (on left side) of the Fred Haught Trail #141. There is a small parking area here, and a large trail sign. This is also the Parking and TH Start location for access to the the Pinchot Cabin location.
    page created by Grasshopper on Jun 12 2012 8:09 pm
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