Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bear Mountain Trail: Nature's Stair Machine...With Views!

We hiked a doozy of a trail in red rock country. Bear Mountain Trail is only about 2.5 miles long, but you gain almost 2,000 feet of elevation in that stretch and it's mostly stairs. Stairs with views to die for, literally, if you lose your footing!

The trail takes you up rocky crevices to each level of the terrain. So you ascend for a while then get a nice little breather as you traverse the next plateau, before doing it all over again on a different kind of rock. It's steep, but across a lot of good, grippy sandstone...the kind of surface your hiking shoes like!

This is the view from the parking area out on Boynton Pass Rd.
Little did we know that the peak is actually the tiny slice of white way behind the red rocks in front!
For perspective, here is a photo I took after the hike when we had driven around the side of the mountain.
We started the hike at the base of the red rocks on the right, and hiked to the top of the white peak.

As we ascended the views opened up towards Sedona.
The first steep section let us know pretty quickly this hike is not for wussies!

Soon massive walls of red were towering over us.

Love, love, love the layers and colors!

We'd come over a little rise and WOW a gorgeous canyon would drop away from our mountain.

Mushroom rock detail several hundred feet below us.

Taking a little break on the steep white sandstone.

Now we're high enough that a look back towards Sedona includes a beautiful red rock canyon.

We crossed some white sandstone that reminded us of parts of Zion NP.

This is one of the plateaus we crossed.

We're headed for the highest point on the left.

From the top of Bear Mountain we have a view of what I believe is the Palatki Ruins site.
We'll visit that another day, you need a reservation.
We also have a view of the San Francisco Peaks, very little snow on them this year.

We both felt that the summit was anticlimactic. Too many bushes made the views rather inaccessible. If we did this hike again we'd stop at the last obvious, beautiful viewpoint instead of making the final loose dirt/rock scramble to the top.

Back down we go...

Bear Mountain is an awesome hike in this beautiful pocket of the South West!


  1. You two are certainly not wussies!

  2. The area you are in is fantastic. Me and my husband love to escape the heat of Tucson and go up there in the summer. Sedona and its surrounding area is just so peaceful. We are hoping to hit the road soon but first we have one last kid to get through college. So thanks for let us share in your travels until then. Leila

    1. Thanks for reading the blog! We love this area too! It's so incredibly beautiful.

      Good luck with the waiting period till you can hit the road...that's the hard part!

  3. Gorgeous pictures! Good for you two hiking this challenging trail.

  4. Wow, Wussies can not make it to the top! Fabulous views and love those red rocks!

  5. Thanks for the pictures! Now we don't have to make the climb......I mean we totally would have done it but now we've seen it so it would just be anti-climatic.....uh huh :-).

    Looks like perfect weather with the place all to yourselves - great rewards for all that work!

  6. Ahhhh!! This was one of our last hikes in Sedona. However, we didn't get to the trail head until the afternoon so we only made it halfway. We didn't think it was exactly the kind of trail to try to do in the dark. We so wanted to make it all the way. This was early in our hiking career so we were pretty exhausted after seven days of straight hiking. We can hardly wait to tackle this the next time.

    I love the red rocks!!! So glad you had a great time. I do remember (and have pictures) those huge rock "steps" at the beginning!! Great hike:)

    1. Yeah, this would not be a good trail in the dark! The big rock steps don't stop after the first batch...there were a couple more batches and then the straight up white sandstone slabs. I'm glad we did it!

  7. Great pictures! Looks like an amazing hike we will have to try some to me. Thanks for sharing.