The end of Bear Mountain Trail is shown above.
The two asterisks are at trail end (Trail Peak) and on a small rise before
the final Trail Peak. The change in elevation to the small peak is 1400 feet. Fay Canyon is to the east of
the small peak (right). As the hike continues, the hiker climbs
another 600 feet with Fay Canyon to the east (right) (the change in elevation is approximately 2000 feet). The two yellow
arrows designate the two portions of the trail which have the final two stone steps
which need to be traversed.
To see an aerial photograph from the trail peak of
Bear Mountain to the true peak. The trail now ends below the secondary peak. --Click Here
Click on The Pictures to
Click on Trail Map to Enlarge
View Below The Last Two Rock Stairways
View Above The Last Two Rock Stairways
Bear Mountain Trail
This is a strenuous trail not suited for many hikers. It is in the desert
sun with no water along the trail. The hike is a five mile round
trip with a vertical climb of 2000 feet from the creek bed to the
true peak (as measured on USGS Topographic Maps). If you decide to take this
trail you need to leave early in the morning and plan for an all day
hike. Take lots and lots of water and energy bars, along with
hiking boots, sunscreen and a wide brim hat.
One of the confusing factors that hikers
may encounter is that it appears the end
of the trail has moved. The
"True" peak on the old USFS map (red map
below) is actually north of the left
fork of Boynton Canyon. This is
confirmed on Typographic maps with an
elevation of over 6560 feet. However,
the new USGS map shows the trail end at
a peak below
the secondary peak which is at the west
side of the left fork of Boynton Canyon
(Blue USGS map to right).
Currently, there is a Trail End sign at
the trail peak (elevation over 6440
feet). The trail to the
true peak is too
poorly marked with many false trails to
go further than the peak where the trail
officially ends (as of 2016).
Download USGS Topgraphic Map with Peaks
The term strenuous,
refers to multiple long rock steps in the first part of the
trail followed by steep elevation of the trail as it
traverses up to the final trail peak. This is actually a
secondary peak, since the true peak is much further on an
ill-defined portion of the trail. It is also alittle over
higher in elevation.
topographic map on the right shows the approximate location
of the trail peak (below secondary peak) of Bear Mountain (Blue
Arrow). The three purple arrows show the first, second and last
steep rock-stair sections of the
trail. (Click on map to enlarge)
The Bear Mountain Trail is well maintained up to the last
vertical step section (second section of the trail).
that, following the white arrows leading to the trail's peak
is very important (see picture on the left of a white trail
arrow near the top of the trail. However,
these arrows are hard to see going down and there are many
side trails. Thus, inadvertently going off trail is easy to
do. It is advised that you take a compass or cell phone with
Google Maps. There is some cell coverage on the final two
sections of the trail and Google Maps and even Pokemon will
have the general area location of the trail. DO NOT PLAY
Pokemon on the trail. You need to watch your footing and not
paying attention can have a disastrous outcome. You need to
have good hiking shoes and take plenty of water.
picture on the right shows the Trail Peak as viewed from the
west base of Bear Mountain. Note the small portion of
red rock (purple arrow), which helps to identify the peak.
Bear Mountain Trail Can Be Divided into Four Sections.
The first is comprised of the approach to the ascent section
and three areas of steep rock stairways. Traversing these step rocks
is much easier than climbing the trail to cathedral rock,
where one is on all fours. Ascent can be accomplished with
stepping up the many step rocks, some of which appear to
have been placed to aid the hiker. The difficulty that
arises is that there are so many of them and you must travel
so high, that it can easily wear down a hiker. Remember
after this section the trail has long sections that are even
more steep and footing can be precarious.
The first section:
Approach to the base of the first stair climb.
Below are pictures showing the approach and the gentle rock steps leading up to the
first rock stairway. (The final approach to the
first rock stairway is shown on the right)
2) Climbing the first rock stairway. An easy
sloping trail leads to the first
rock stairway. The steps are easy to navigate without
the need to use arms or bending over.
3) Traversing the mid portion of the
cliff face. This an easy hike and just below
a rock face
you are at a level of the top of the mesa of Doe
Mountain. Excellent photo opportunities and a good
turning around point.
The Second Section:
Traversing the final two sections of rock
steps. This is a hard section of the trail due to its
length. Many rock steps to climb. There is a short section
of steps on the right side of the canyon, a flatter section
leading to the left side of the canyon, where there is a
very long series of rock steps to traverse to reach the top
of section two. At the top is a rock plateau
which affords excellent views and is a good resting and
turning back point.
is a rock plateau at the top of the rock stairways which has
excellent views for photographing and is an excellent
turning back point.
The Third section:
The mountain trail leads to a small peak in the trail (see
picture on right}. The beginning of this section is a flat rock plateau
which is an excellent stopping point and affords many photo
opportunities. From here there are few rock steps but the
trail is somewhat steep with sections of sloping rocks.
You will also pass along a wide ridge area. Fay Canyon will
be on your right.
Hiking shoes with good treads are definitely needed.
The pictures below show that sections of the trail are
composed of smooth slanting rocks which would be treacherous
to traverse if wet.
The final section leads to the
final trail peak. This Trail Peak (end of trail) has a red section of rock
(picture to the right) and can be seen from the parking lot,
and from the west side of the mountain base. This section of
the trail has several areas of sloping rocks which need to
be traversed. There are cliffs on the downside of these
rocks. Hiking shoes with good treads are needed. These trail
sloping areas should not be traversed when the trail is
wet. Remember take your compass and a cell phone with google
maps (you may get reception at the top). Trail markers are
not as evident going down as going up.
At the end of the trail you will encounter a sign. (There is
no "I-made-the-hike" sign-in-book at the top, which would be
nice.) The picture below shows a selfie of two hikers who
donated material to this website section.
trail ends at a peak (Trail Peak), the true peak is over
100 feet higher.
However, the path to it is ill-defined and it is
very easy to get lost
Site Material With Aerial Views
rock stariway is
shown on the right. It is about 30 feet in height and behind
the trees in the picture.
The lower large trail picture below (bottom of the page) also shows this first
rock stairway (lower yellow arrow).
An aerial view
of the first rosck stairway is
shown on the right. The trail outlines will disappear every
five seconds. Click on the picture to view an
expanded map of the lower one third of Bear
The trail gently climbs and then
turns to the left.
The trail outline will disappear every 5 seconds.
The aerial picture on the rights shows the second
section of the trail . The top yellow arrow shows the
end of the last rock stairway and is at a rock plateau.
The lower yellow arrow denotes the final rock stairway, about
60 yards in length. The
trail outline and arrows will disappear every 5 seconds.
Once you reach the top of the
rock stariways, you are not even half way to the trail's peak.
Aerial photographs of the remainder of
the trail can be seen and accessed from the left hand page
column. To view the complete trail on an aerial
photograph, click below:
The large trail picture below was taken from Doe Mountain. The
step sections described above are designated with yellow arrows.
The peak seen in this picture is near the secondary peak (Not the true peak)
of Bear Mountain, wihch is currently the end of the trail.
Click on the "Red Circles" to enlarge the area
and see the hikers.
Copyright Catherine Kavanagh, 2008, 2016 All Rights Reserved