Bear Canyon Trail to Crest Trail Hiking Trip #47
Date: May 17, 2018
Goal: Bear Canyon Springs then on to Crest Trail
Weather: Temperature 60 at start going to 90 at finish. It was sunny and very comfortable to start, then cool and VERY windy near the top, and then very warm once near the bottom and out of the wind. A Great Day for a hike!
Trail: Bear Canyon Trail
Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss
Distance: 5.6 miles round trip
Start Elevation: 5,917 ft
End Elevation: (Confluence of trails) 8,191
Elevation Change: 2,274 ft
Accumulated Gain: 2,175
Calories Burned: 1,987
Do It Again: ABSOLUTLY, but a long drive over dirt roads to get to the trail head, LOVING Scott’s truck!!!!
Comments: To get to Bear Trail head you must drive to the south end of the Huachuca Mountains onto Montezuma Canyon Road to Montezuma’s Pass, which is a dirt road going up from the Visitor’s Center of Coronado National Memorial. The road is paved for about a half mile past the Visitor’s Center and then it is dirt from there to the top for about 2.5 miles. Once at the top, you follow the dirt road down the back side of the mountains for about another 2-3 miles to Bear Canyon Road and then turning north for half mile or so. Arriving there, we found, SURPRISE SURPRISE, SIX Border Patrol vehicles!!
We were only about 3-4 miles from the Mexican/US border BUT in the middle of nowhere!! There was one agent watching over the trucks (so the illegals would not steal them!) informed us that the Border Patrol uses Bear Trail for training due to the large elevation change over a relative short distance.
The Trail: It was well marked and easy to follow BUT VERY steep! The trail was BEAUTIFUL – probably one of the prettiest we have hiked, rivaling Hamburg Trail. REALLY, THAT Pretty! The trail followed a small stream which actually had a bit of water in it
There was plenty of canopy to block the sun which, on the way back, we really appreciated that. The trees changed from chaparral-type trees at the start to large pine trees as the elevation increased. Not too long after we started, we passed a metal water trough being fed from a nearby spring.
Further up the trail, Scott spotted a piece of deer antler in the stream.
As we hiked up, we passed 14 Border Patrol Agents coming down. The fastest one did the trial in one hour twenty-five minutes (or one hour forty-five minutes, depending on who you talked to)! Way faster than our three hours forty-nine minutes!! Finally, we arrived at Bear Spring where I felt a bit UNDERWHELMED, to say the least!
Pushing on the Crest Trail we spotted what we believed to be an abandoned mine.
The views were spectacular. As I said, this is really a beautiful trial!
As the trail neared the top, it opened up and you could see many trees that had been damaged by the numerous fires this area has seen.
Once at the confluence of trails, we realized we had been here before but came up by way of Hamburg Trail, so now we have been to this saddle from both sides of the mountain. I found a fallen tree that I had sat on during our previous visit.
Along the trail we passed lots of beautiful flowers, which was surprising since it has not rained in over two months!
As with our usual practice, we went to a local restaurant, Morning Star in Palominas, AZ. We had an ice cold beer in one of the few frosted glasses I have had in AZ….REALLY REALLY good after a long hot hike!! Food as pretty good, next time in the area we will visit this place again.