excellent autumn colors
Overview: Upper Bear Canyon and West Bear Canyon "off trail" hiking can be compared to hiking sections of our Mogollon Rim- Barbershop Canyon and Dane Canyon with significant seasonal water flow and pooling in the Bear Canyon Upper sections as of this June'12 posting. In Autumn, with surprisingly numerous large stands of Big Tooth Maple within the West Bear Canyon section, this LOOP should provide some excellent autumn colors. West Bear Canyon is mostly easy to navigate with only the lower ~1/3 mile section requiring moderate rock/boulder scrambling with creek downfall to negotiate. Upper Bear Canyon from its intersection with lower West Bear Canyon is nicely shaded in the afternoon with numerous, active animal routes to follow. It is recommended to download and follow the "official" GPS Route posted herein.
Also Note: For the stronger hiker with off-trail route finding ability, this loop hike can be combined with the Bear Canyon(Middle) hike description for a longer 12+ mile "lolly pop" loop hike... if planning this option it is recommended to start/end from the Bear Canyon (Middle) Park/TH Location unless planning a shuttle hike which is also an option.
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.