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Bear Canyon Middle Loop, AZ
mini location map2020-10-13
9 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Bear Canyon Middle Loop, AZ 
Bear Canyon Middle Loop, AZ
 
Hiking9.13 Miles 714 AEG
Hiking9.13 Miles   3 Hrs   59 Mns   2.37 mph
714 ft AEG      8 Mns Break
 
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On our second day of hiking in Payson we went up on the rim and did a section of Bear Canyon I had not been on before. We thought our plans to do the middle section of the canyon were going to fall through when we got to a sign at the junction of the Rim Road and FR95 saying that FR95 was closed. Looking past the road closed sign was another sign saying road closed 6 mile ahead. I took this as a sign that I could go past the first sign and drive to where I needed to go. Just before hitting Bear Canyon there was a sign and blockade that definitely closed the road. The bridge across Bear Creek was washed out. I'm assuming the sign near the rim road was just telling you that FR95 was not Passable if your intentions are to go all the way to Highway 87 across East Clear Creek.

We hiked the .5 miles to the washed out bridge (actually I believe it was not a bridge but large metal pipes under the road) and entered Bear Creek there. It was fairly easy walking along the creek especially since there was no waterflow, just intermittently scattered pools. Walking was along the rocky creek bed at times, along Elk user routes and at one section climbing up the east bank to avoid a narrow section of the creek with a large pool. We walked the 4.5 miles of the creek to the junction of Little Bear creek. We took a short break there before heading up the west wall of the canyon and took FR95 back to the start point.

As mentioned before the creek was dry with some pools of yucky looking water. There were a few trees changing color but nothing spectacular. We opted to take the road back rather than the creek because it would be easier but the 3 mile road walk while faster is extremely boring.

dry Bear Canyon Dry Dry
Occasional pools
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markthurman53's
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