A hike up Bear Mountain is full of rewarding views not just at the top, but all along the climb. You get quintessential panoramas looking across Sedona, up close and personal encounters with red cliff faces, and the most incredible perspectives peering down into Fay Canyon. With this hike, it’s about the journey and the destination.
Getting to the Trailhead
From Sedona, head south on 89A. Turn Right onto Dry Creek Road, at the sign for Sedona Public Library. After 4.5 miles you’ll reach a stop sign. Go Left at the stop, following the sign for Enchantment Resort. Continue 1.2 miles and you’ll see the parking area on the left, and trailhead on the right side of the road. A Red Rock Pass is required for parking and can be purchased for $5 with credit/debit card from a vending machine in the parking lot. There are bathrooms at the trailhead, but no running water.
Hiking Bear Mountain
The trailhead is not on the same side of the road as the parking area, so be sure to cross over before you start hiking.
The trail begins by passing through a fence on the northwest side of the road, then undulates for a bit before the first steep section. It’s easy to get off course in a few spots, but navigating the red rock is made easier by white painted blazes along the route.
About a half mile up there’s a steep scramble to reach the first vista with beautiful views.
The next half mile is a better defined trail, wrapping around the left side of the rock wall you’ve been approaching.
Near the one mile mark, there is another steep ascent to get onto the plateau. The climb lasts about a quarter mile, and once at the top you get your first view of the peak and better views of the surrounding area.
Once on the plateau, the trail continues uphill through short brush, dipping down three times before reaching the final upward push around mile 2. All the while your perspective gets better and better. There are a few great spots to see the south face of Bear Mountain, but even more impressive is the view down into Fay Canyon. As the ridge your following narrows, the trail skirts just left of the end of the red rock gorge.
The last quarter mile of the hike takes you away from the precipice, up to the southwest section of the Bear Mountain summit. The end of the trail is marked by a sign which reads “END OF TRAIL”, in case the overwhelming feeling of joy isn’t enough indication.
To get back to the trailhead, return down the way you came.
Bear Mountain Trail Map & Elevation Profile
Bear Mountain Resources
- A Red Rock Pass for parking is required and can be purchased at the trailhead vending
machine – $5 for the day or $15 for the week – More info on Red Rock Pass
- Forest Service’s web page with trail info
Sedona Weather Forecast
Arizona Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge – Summer Edition
This hike is part of the Arizona Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge – Summer Edition. This self-paced hiking challenge includes six hikes all easily reached from the great Phoenix metropolitan area. They are a great way to explore the area, train for bigger adventures, and you’ll be doing good, with a portion of the net proceeds going to support Big City Mountaineers.
Registration for the summer challenge opens April 1st! Be sure to check out the winter challenge, too!