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Bear Canyon Trail #125 - 1 member in 2 triplogs has rated this an average 5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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May 29 2018

 Guides 187
 Routes 720
 Photos 8,033
 Triplogs 544

68 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Bear Spring Trail, AZ 
Bear Spring Trail, AZ
Hiking avatar May 29 2018
Hiking4.50 Miles 1,635 AEG
Hiking4.50 Miles   2 Hrs   14 Mns   2.20 mph
1,635 ft AEG      11 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
1st trip
Linked linked
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The pump to our neighborhood well went out on Memorial day and after the second day of not having water I decided to head down to the Huachuca Mountains and do some hiking. I arrived on the west side of the Huachuca Mountains around 4:00 and decided I could do the Bear Spring Trail up to the junction with the Ida Canyon Trail. Trail is in good condition with water in the canyon most of the way. Bear Spring was dry. Temperature at the trail head was about 90 degrees but higher up it was probably in the mid to upper 70's. As usual with the Huachuca Mountains it is never disappointing.
Jun 08 2012

 Guides 1
 Routes 43
 Photos 666
 Triplogs 78

56 male
 Joined Mar 15 2012
 Seattle, WA
Bear Canyon Trail #125Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 08 2012
Hiking5.32 Miles 3,190 AEG
Hiking5.32 Miles   5 Hrs   20 Mns   1.60 mph
3,190 ft AEG   2 Hrs    Break18 LBS Pack
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Bear Canyon had long been staring at me from the map of the Hiking Trails of the Huachuca Mountains. It was reputed to be the last genuine wild canyon in the home range - or at least as wild as anything can be - considering it is within the bounds of the Miller Peak Wilderness management district. The day was set to be hot & dry as one might expect this time of year - where the only thing of impending importance in Arizona is the coming Chubasco (monsoon) season.

Bear Canyon's lore is well earned... I was pleased with my choice of outings upon approaching the trail head via the 4x4 route of FR 4774 - having had detailed conversation with the BP agent stopped along the way. I always try to inform the agent nearest to my destination as to my intentions - as this easily quells any suspicions re: my vehicle placement, etc. in this remote area. That ALL routes into the Huachuca Mountains on the border facing slope are spurs of the Pan-American highway is well understood around these parts. I planned to head-up to Bear Spring and then on above toward Bear Saddle. I was more interested in actually observing bear activity than merely hiking up to Crest Trail. The 500' elevation transition area between the spring and saddle being the principal zone for Bear denning and such.

The canopy begins almost immediately upon entering the trail and builds as you ascend. There are but a few places between the trailhead and the ridge that are entirely open for outward viewing, as this is not Ida Canyon next door. The only route marker is the weathered generic 'Miller Peak Wilderness' sign at the end of FR4774. From here, there is nothing except Bear Creek and the trail that laces itself to and fro twinning the watercourse neath live oak and juniper - one of the Alligator Juniper (Juniperus deppeana) along the trail is a true old growth forest survivor - 8 feet in diameter and < 50'+ in height. The tree bears scars of recent fires and is best estimated at 300 - 500 years old. (see photos)

Above a certain elevation - just before the steep switchbacks take you away from the creek bed which is currently running and quite audibly for portions of the trail - the overt presence of bears is piled up right there on the trail, as large piles of scat become widely evident from this point onward. The copious number of felled trees across the route add to the true wilderness ambiance that this secluded canyon is long on - such a timeless place! The Arizona Sycamores - as they are prone to do - line the middle of the creek from early in the hike, as there is an abundance of various flora to delight the determined visitor. After the steepening switchbacks return to creek level, expect to find Maidenhair Fern, Various Docks, Verbena, Columbines (at this writing), Poison Ivy, Shavegrass, Nettles and Miner's Lettuce in verdant shared layers, lining the trail and creek upward toward Bear Spring...this is some serious payback for the effort...couple this with a pronounced intermittent breeze for evaporation and WOW!

The spring flows on-and-on at about 7,600' in elevation. Not at all different than the last time I was here via Ida Canyon 4 weeks ago. On the scale of water source reliability Bear Spring gets a strong 3 out of 4 rating. I ate my second feed of the hike on the same stump as I had previously for reflection, then spent the remainder of my time in this lush place very carefully seeking out evidence of bear dens between the spring and ridge contours. This area of the hike finally gives way to the massive Conifers (that began to show up a bit earlier elevation wise) and Gambel Oak that first become established above the spring. I found evidence of an active bear populous without too much effort (yet never sighted the shy critters)..., also I may have stumbled onto the areas bear outhouse, as a pressed down non-den type area about 5' x 10' was just filled with the remains of what must be a very healthy population of this canyon's namesake.

Elevation correction has been applied to the AEG calculation - GPS Route Available
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Bear Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
The spring flows ever consistently downhill from the main pool...
The MaNtiS - Assume & be Damned!
average hiking speed 1.9 mph

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.

90+° 8am - 6pm kills
prehydrate & stay hydrated
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