Bear Mountain, Doe Mountain Trailhead, Sedona: Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness, Arizona

Bear Mountain - 4.8 miles

Doe Mountain Trailhead

Looking south from Bear Mountain (6,444')

Looking south from Bear Mountain (6,444')

Round-Trip Length: 4.8 miles
Start-End Elevation: 4,612' - 6,444' (6,444' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +1,832' net elevation gain (+2,012' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Bear Mountain - 4.8 Miles Round-Trip

Bear Mountain is located 5.6 miles from 89A in the Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness of Sedona. This strenuous trail leads to one of Sedona's highest accessible points with magnificent views of Fay Canyon, Boynton Canyon, the San Francisco Peaks and miles of colorful desert.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The Bear Mountain Trail climbs 1832' in just 2.4 miles with geological insight to the 10+ strata that comprise the landscape:

The Bear Mountain Trail begins across the street from the Doe Mountain - Bear Mountain Trailhead on Boynton Pass Road. It rises steadily through open desert prairie, passing a few mesquite trees and ocotillo that are stray members of the Sonoran Desert ecosystem.

The grade steepens considerably past .3 miles, climbing 415' in just .35 miles to a reprieve along a terrace with great views of adjacent rock formations (.65 miles : 5,055' - .85 miles : 5,138').

Steep climbing resumes through 1.1 mile (5,437'), where it levels across a light-color sandstone plateau with a clear look at Bear Mountain to the west. This a good place to find collared lizards and examine manzanita, agave, and hedgehog cacti lining the trail.

The trail rises moderately across rippled sandstone slabs more typical of southern Utah (1.5 miles : 5,610'), one of the hikes most interesting geological sections.

It reaches the base of the summit (1.65 miles : 5,642') and begins a strenuous .75 mile, 800' push to Bear Mountain (2.4 miles : 6,444'). The summit is large, rounded, and cut by social trails that lead to various viewpoints.

Morning hikers are well-served by these paths, but afternoon arrivals looking for views over Fay and Boynton canyons will have to improvise through more cluttered areas (these are perhaps best on the summit approach vs. the summit itself).

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N34 53.602 W111 51.893 — 0.0 miles : Doe Mountain - Bear Mountain Trailhead
  • N34 53.907 W111 52.122 — .5 miles : Steep, twisting climb to first terrace
  • N34 54.217 W111 52.500 — 1.1 miles : Grade moderates thru 1.65 miles
  • N34 54.458 W111 52.560 — 1.5 miles : Travel moderates up swirl sandstone
  • N34 54.729 W111 52.702 — 1.95 miles : Steep climbing through swirl sandstone
  • N34 54.871 W111 52.997 — 2.4 miles : Bear Mountain summit

Worth Noting

  • The Bear Mountain Trail is fully exposed to sun, wind, and storms. Carry layers, understand seasonal weather patterns, and begin your descent well before storms develop. Footing is difficult once wet.

  • Morning provides well-lit views to the south and west, and afternoon to the north over Fay and Boynton canyons.

  • Collared Lizards are common on this trail, and easy to find at higher elevations on light-colored sandstone. Collared Lizards are one of just a few North American lizards that can run on their hind legs for extended periods - some have been clocked over 12 MPH.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • There are no designated backcountry campsites in the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness. Dispersed camping is permitted in specific areas past trailheads and roads (see map page to view the PDF). It's advisable to contact visitor services at 928.203.2900 to review your itinerary in advance.

  • Backpackers must be at least one mile from the trailhead, or as indicated by the map or signs at trailheads (guidelines may vary slightly by trail).

  • Backpackers are encouraged to occupy sites used by others, and practice leave no trace ethics.

  • Water is scarce. Plan on carrying all of your own into the backcountry.

  • Campfires are permitted on a seasonal and forest condition basis. Fire restrictions are strictly enforced.

  • Bears and others animals capable of reaching your food inhabit Red Rock Country. Store supplies safely by hanging or using bear canisters.

  • There are 7 developed campgrounds in the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness vicinity: Pine Flat, Cave Springs, Manzanita, Chavez Crossing, Clear Creek, and Clear Creek Group Camp. There are at least 186 combined individual sites and 4 group sites.

  • Individual sites range $16-18 per night, and group sites $65-200. Coconino Forest Campgrounds do not accept Credit Cards on site (except Cave Springs). Cash and in-state checks only. Reservations and credit card payments may be made in advance through Recreation.gov or by calling 877.444.6777.

Rules and Regulations

Red Rock Pass - a fee is required to recreate in the Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness:

  • Daily Pass: $5

  • Weekly Pass: $15

  • Annual Pass: $20

The Red Rock Pass is valid for use as a parking permit to recreate in Red Rock Country, including access to Red Rock Country Heritage Sites.

It's not valid for other fee areas such as developed campgrounds, Grasshopper Point Picnic and Swimming Area, Crescent Moon Day Use Area, and Call O' the Canyon (West Fork Trailhead).

Passes may be obtained at all Ranger Stations, Visitor Centers, Online, and at a number of local kiosks and commercial vendors (e.g. grocery stores).

Directions to Trailhead

The Bear Mountain Trail is accessed from the Doe Mountain Trailhead, 5.6 miles from Highway 89A in Sedona, AZ.

From the Highway 179 - 89A split, drive 2.9 miles south on 89A to Dry Creek Road.

Turn right (west) on Dry Creek Road and travel 2.8 miles to Long Canyon Road. Turn left on Long Canyon Road and drive 1.5 miles to Boynton Pass Road. Turn left on Boynton Pass Road and drive 1.3 miles to the trailhead on the left.

The Bear Mountain Trail begins across the road, through the gate.

Contact Information

Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness
Red Rock Ranger District
8375 State Route 179 (just south of the village of Oak Creek)
Sedona, Arizona 86341
8:00 - 4:30 Monday - Friday

Visitor Information: 928.203.2900

Administration Office: 928.203.7500 or 928.282.4119

Coconino National Forest
1824 S. Thompson St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Visitor Information: 928.526.0866
Supervisor's Office: 928.527.3600

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.



Comments

"After reading many comments of how this trail is very demanding and not for novice hikers, I thought I should comment to let other weekend hikers know that is not necessarily true. I hiked Bear Mtn trail with my wife who for all intents and purposes is as novice as you can get as a hiker. We took our time on the trail, stopping often to enjoy the views and made it to the top and back down without issue. All in all, it took us about 7.5 hours from start to finish, but again that was stopping often for the views and spending around 20 minutes on the summit. The trail really is worth your time as it produces spectacular views throughout the hike. Definitely take enough water with you, and then take a little extra when you think you have enough as the majority of the trail is in the direct sunlight. The trail is, for the most part, well-marked. Ensure you also have appropriate footwear. Sandals or running shoes won't cut it on this trail. I would recommend this trail wholeheartedly, even to less than seasoned hikers. If your not a seasoned hiker, just take your time, rest often, and stay hydrated. It is definitely worth the effort!"
Doug Oney  -  Windsor, Ontario.  -  Date Posted: June 1, 2016
"Great trail to "run". You need both hands for a few of the climbs. Not for beginners. The views are spectacular. "
Jon Nicholson  -  Philadelphia, PA  -  Date Posted: May 26, 2015
"In good weather a wunderful trail. Yes, it is demanding, but if you are in good shape and have proper shoes, it is worth the sweat. If you just go up and down, you will be missing the best part: The vistas. So, take your time, stop often and enjoy!"
Peter Schuerch  -  Holland, MI  -  Date Posted: February 17, 2015

 

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