Bear Canyon Lake

Not in the Tonto – but this is ostensibly a general hiking blog.

Bear Canyon Lake Campground is located in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, near the eponymous lake (actually a reservoir) on top of the Mogollon Rim. It sits just east of center of the Forest Road 300.

No fee.

No host.

No water.

No trash service.

“Rustic” toilets (for some reason the Forest Service feels this to be a reasonable synoym for “vault/composting toilets”, which is a synonym for “pit with toilet seat over hole”.)

And no vehicular access to the lake. A sub parking lot will get you to a half mile switchbacking trail which leads to the lake. That’s a long haul with a canoe over your head, so we left the boats at home.

The “Shoreline Trail” goes from that point upstream, counter-clockwise, south, away from the dam about 1.5 miles. It’s a great little trail: no challenging grades, but enough rocks and other obstacles to keep you awake. A fine adventure for middle-school kids ( I had three in tow – though only Ben went the whole route with me). The pay off at the end is the lush meadow once you find your way across the stream that feeds the resevoir.

The second “Parking Lot” spur leads to a separate lot from the main one, closed most of the time, about a half mile further down the road. There’s also a good geocache along the trail – but be prepared for a short, strenuous bushwhack up the slope to find it.

Also, there is a good, short, unofficial trail following the stream on the far side of the dam. Keep aware for poison ivy, though. By short I mean about a quarter mile.

On weekends this area is popular with anglers, ATV riders, and gun enthusiasts, as there are relatively few restrictions on such activities in this part of the forest compared to the balance of the Rim. So expect a fair amount of noise and garbage.

Our high temp was 74, our low around 40. Good weather for June.

And I slept relatively comfortably in my hammock despite the cold by using an emergency bivy sack to line the bottom of the hammock, thus keeping the wind off my back as I slept. Good down to 40 – but I wouldn’t take it down to freezing.

I may update later with photo links.

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3 Responses to “Bear Canyon Lake”

  1. Forestry Magazine Says:

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