Bear Mountain Trail
Bear Mountain has a great view of the Sedona area, with sightlines that go from Fay Canyon all the way across the city. The otherworldly sandstone formations and blazing red earth are visible in all their glory from atop this impressive mountain. You’ll actually want to turn back and see the views as you climb this route, partially because of how strenuous the trail is and partially because the views en route are better than those at the summit.
This hike is hard, so you’ll want to come prepared with sturdy footwear, poles, and some gusto. You’ll need to climb a few very steep rocky sections, making this route less suitable for children or beginners. Additionally, this trail sees heavy traffic, so try to come early in the morning or in the middle of the week.
Since this trail offers no shade, you’ll want to make sure you take adequate steps to protect yourself from the heat. Bring lots of water, wear a hat and sunscreen, and don’t try this hike during a hot summer afternoon.
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Route Description for Bear Mountain Trail
Bear Mountain is one of the tallest mountains in Sedona, giving you a solid view of Sedona and the surrounding landscape. From Fay Canyon next to you all the way across the city to the buttes and mountains beyond, it’s a camera-worthy trek.
Bear Mountain also sees a bit less traffic than some of the other trails in Sedona, so it’s a nice pick on weekends when other routes might be packed.
This hike isn’t a good pick in the summertime because of the complete lack of shade. You’ll want lots of water, sunscreen, and a hat if you’re hiking on a hot day. Likewise, if you’re here in the shoulder season, make sure you bring a windbreaker for the occasionally chilly summit.
The Bear Mountain hike requires some climbing up steep, strenuous rock sections. It’s not a great choice for beginners or children for this reason, and while leashed dogs are allowed, this might be a tough hike for them to complete.
Park at the Bear Mountain Trailhead lot. Cross the street! If you take the route that leaves from the parking area, you’ll hike Doe Mountain instead. Cross the road and pick up the trail beyond the gate. You won’t be able to see the mountain just yet. You’ll climb up this hill, and then beyond it, you’ll just need to keep climbing.
Enjoy the agave, juniper trees, lizards, and cacti as you go. You’ll probably need to take a few breaks along this hike, so make a habit of watching for the lizards that dart through the bushes and inspecting the unique desert plant life along the route.
Past the first climb, you’ll approach the next false summit. It’s a grind, but continue on to the next false summit, called Harper’s summit.
Your thighs will be burning by the time you hit the fourth false summit. Take a minute to look back and appreciate the views if you need to catch your breath. The final climb to the true summit will feel like a marathon, but you can finally catch your breath and admire the view once you make it. Part of the challenge of this hike is the fact that you’ll think you’re there three times before you actually make it, so a bit of mental fortitude goes a long way.
After a well-deserved rest, head back down on the same route.
One of the main features of the view on Bear Mountain is Fay Canyon, a canyon that cuts just beneath Bear Mountain. Fay canyon can be hiked on its own trail, and it’s a great place to observe the dramatic, rocky scenery that the mountains of Sedona are known for.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bear Mountain Trail hard?
Yes, this is a hard hike. It’s quite steep and rocky.
Is Bear Mountain safe to hike alone?
We always recommend hiking in at least a group of 2 for your own safety.
Is Bear Mountain kid-friendly?
We do not recommend this trail for children.
Insider Hints for Bear Mountain Trail
- Bring plenty of water for this hike. It’s unshaded for a large portion of the trail and it requires lots of steep climbing.
- Avoid this trail in the summer months unless you’re hiking very early in the morning.
- The nearby Enchantment Resort has excellent food if you’re hungry after your adventures.
Getting to the Bear Mountain Trail Trailhead
The trailhead for Bear Mountain is on Boynton Pass Road.
Bear Mountain Trail Elevation Graph
Weather ForecastCheck Area Weather
Bear Mountain Trail Reviews
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