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Bear Down Mountain, AZ

Guide 3 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 11 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,331 feet
Elevation Gain 1,624 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,440 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 23.2
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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6  2016-07-29
Charcoal Gulch Trail #9419
24  2016-03-04 Peter_Medal
41  2016-03-04 AZHiker456
Author Peter_Medal
author avatar Guides 9
Routes 122
Photos 1,345
Trips 83 map ( 486 miles )
Age 50 Male Gender
Location Prescott, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, May, Apr, Sep → Early
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:35am - 7:37pm
Official Route
1 Alternative

Here Kitty Kitty
by Peter_Medal

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Bear Down Mountain (6962') is one of three high summits of the northeastern most grouping of the Bradshaw Mountain Ranges. From Interstate 17, taking the turn west bound onto Highway 69 the mountain range you see towards Prescott is Big Bug Mesa (on the left); then Mount Elliott (6980'); to the right is Bear Down Mountain followed by its evil arch rival, Sun Devil Peak (6903'). These mountains pack a punch with lots of elevation gain. The range is bounded by Diamond Valley and Prescott Valley on the north; Dewey-Humboldt to east; Mayer to the southeast; Breezy Pines & Poland Road to the south; and the Walker valley/Lynx Lake to the west.

Sun Devil Peak is shaped almost exactly like a pitchfork, hence its most logical name. Its evil rival mountain to its south, but higher in elevation, only fitting be named "Bear Down". For peak bagging, its kind of a "bear" to get to. Access to Bear Down Mountain is serviced by two very well groomed trails. From the northwest: Salida Gulch Trail (#93) passes beneath the summit ridge from the northwest to the southeast. Charcoal Gulch Trail (#9419) flanks the east face of the mountain north to south. Salida Gulch terminates at Charcoal Gulch. There is no trail to the summit. Bear Down would be an ideal add-on for peak baggers looking to connect two peaks for an ultra day hike.

Vegetation of the area is predominately chaparral; manzanita; pine trees and an occasional alligator juniper, all of which are very old. The geology of the area is mainly pre-cambrian granite. For the bushwackers the lower portions of this range provides for cat claw.

Trailhead is from the Prescott National Forest's Newtown Trailhead.. This is the official trailhead for Charcoal Gulch Trail #9419. From the TH continue west on Charcoal Gulch Trail #9419 for just under 1 mile when it goes down into "Green Gulch" the major east flowing drainage for the area. There are numerous side trails which terminate into fire ringed camp areas. After Green Gulch, for the next 1.5 miles the Charcoal Gulch trail cuts through the lower elevations; ridgelines and drainages of Sun Devil Peak. For this stretch, there is not much shade and is predominately high desert, not suggested in late spring through the end of summer. Memories of Beamer Trail in the Grand Canyon of the 5 times you sink down into and back out and up the drainages of these low ridges off Sun Devil.

Finally, it crosses over the Charcoal Gulch crossing (Charcoal Spring is about 1/4 mile WNW from here) at an elevation of 5908'. From the Gulch all the way to just before the summit ridgeline, the next 1.2 miles will be in a well shaded pine and oak forest. Once approaching the Bear Down ridgeline, Charcoal Gulch trail junctions with the Salida Gulch Trail (#93). Here you will find a gravesite of three dogs (6611' elevation). Salida Gulch essentially rides the ridgeline on Bear Down's southwestern face. Take Salida Gulch Trail for just over a 1/2 mile then veer right off the trail at 6696' elevation and make for the boulder hop, rock climb, scramble for its peak ridgeline. Leaving Salida Gulch, will be just over a 1/2 mile to the summit. Its true summit is its western most (third) prominent outcropping. Unlike Sun Devil Peak which is peppered with numerous fire rings on its summit ridge, Bear Down had none. You will find a HAZ summit register nestled in the crack of its true summit.

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2016-07-31 Peter_Medal
    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 $$

    Prescott Forest
    Prescott National Forest Pass

    Only trailheads with six "amenities" have fees. Amenities are picnic tables, trash, toilet, parking, interpretive signing and security.

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Highway 69, after Mile Post 281, you pass the light for Highway 169, another 0.69 miles to the street light for Kachina Place (Chevron-Blue Ridge Market on NWC). West on Kachina Place to Pony Place, south to Henderson Road, right on Henderson which turns into Newton Avenue, pavement ends 3 miles from Pony Place. Another Quarter Mile west to the Newtown Trailhead.
    page created by Peter_Medal on Jul 31 2016 10:47 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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