Bear Canyon to Mule Crossing, AZ | HikeArizona
 This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Bear Canyon to Mule Crossing, AZ

Guide 2 Triplogs Mine 0 0 Topics
3 of 5 
no permit
18 2 0
Sedona Loop Hike
Sedona Loop Hike
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 9.68 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,666 feet
Elevation Gain -517 feet
Accumulated Gain 719 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13.28
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
18  2022-06-02 kingsnake
author avatar Guides 103
Routes 263
Photos 9,807
Trips 769 map ( 7,060 miles )
Age 60 Male Gender
Location Sunnyslope, PHX
Associated Areas
list map done
Payson Region
Historical Weather
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Preferred May, Oct, Sep, Apr → 7 AM
Sun  6:19am - 6:07pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 1964 Loop2.3 mi*
Nearby Area Water
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Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
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Not THAT one: THIS one.
by kingsnake

 Likely In-Season!
Overview: Bear Canyon is located atop the Mogollon Rim, just a ½ mile directly north of Christopher Creek and See Canyon Trail #184. Bear Beaver Ridge is on its west flank; Bear Willow Ridge to the east. (On the Rim, ridges tend to be named after the two canyons which border them.) Bear Canyon is dammed two miles north of Rim Road / FR 300, forming Bear Canyon Lake. This hike heads from the dam, north to Mule Crossing, at the confluence with Willow Creek, then double backs along forest roads.

This Bear Canyon is different than the other Bear Canyon, which is 12 miles west, also atop the Mogollon Rim. Not sure why there is more than one. Maybe because the other Bear Canyon is in the Coconino National Forest, and this one is in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. And has a lake.

Hike: From the Mallard Trailhead, the trail switchbacks down, 300 yds. to Bear Canyon Lake. Turn left (north) onto Bear Canyon Lake Trail #112, which hugs the bluff for another 300 yds. to the dam's spillway. Mind your footing along the bluff, and crossing the logs that jam the spillway. Rather than descend the very steep concrete spillway, take the gravel path down.

The canyon's bottom has water for about a mile north of the dam. Some pools, some more creek-like. One to six feet wide; up to 6" deep. But no flow. The canyon bottom was dry the next two miles. The final mile to Mule Crossing had pools again -- one was 20 ft. x 50 ft. and a good 18" deep -- with some light trickle.

The first watery stretch of Bear Canyon ends just south of the log jam. The jam was so large, that it reminded me of North Woods timber rafts. Trying to walk across the log jam is a sure leg breaker, but it is easily avoided.

There are several unusual objects in the canyon: The first, a ½ mile north of the dam, on the east shelf, was what I thought at first was a booby trap made of short, staked, logs. Not sure though. Also, in a clearing ¾ mile south of Mule Crossing, I found a lean-to.

There are several possible bail points. I marked one, a ½ mile north of the powerline, which has an animal trail west, up a spur. That option is 2.0 miles, 300 AEG, back to the trailhead via FR 89A3. Oregon_Hiker bailed east to FR 84B, near that point. That option is 3.0 miles, 400 AEG, back to the trailhead.

The middle two miles of the canyon are often rocky. Though still hikeable, take what shelves are available, and there are plenty. You should never stray more than 20 ft. upslope.

When you reach FR 89 at Mule Crossing, turn back and look at the way you came. Willow Creek will be to your left; Bear Canyon to your right. Head up the spur between them. It is a 180 ft. climb in a mostly brush-free ⅒ mile.

FR 84B, at the top of the climb, is the halfway point of the hike. Simply follow it south, back under the power line (where it becomes FR 92A1), for 4¼ miles to the locked heavy gate. Go through the gate, down FR 84A, to the dam, then back up to the trailhead.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2022-06-05 kingsnake
    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 $$

    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From AZ-260, drive west on Rim Rd. for 9.4 miles to the signed t-intersection. Turn left. (Right is FR 34 to Winslow.) In 3.3 miles, turn right onto FR 89. In 2.0 miles, turn right onto FR 89A. In a ½ mile, stay left at the split. The trailhead is by the pit toilet.
    page created by kingsnake on Jun 05 2022 8:30 am

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