Bear Canyon Trail Camp
is a popular overnight camping location for scouts and small groups.
Bear Canyon Trail
starts at the junction with Gabrielino Trail (NRT) and begins near Switzers Falls, about 1 mile downstream from the Switzer Day Use Area parking lot. Head down into the gorge and at the stream (about 0.4 miles) there is a little turn-off that leads upstream to the base of the falls. Continue down into the gorge past several nice pools (currently partially silted in).
After about 0.7 miles, the trail enters Bear Canyon and follows Bear Creek upstream under a shaded canopy of bay, alder, oak and maple trees. There are many stream crossings that can be difficult after heavy rains. Bear Canyon Trail Camp
is about two miles along the trail; the camp has three campsites (non reservable) and there is seasonal stream water available. The trail continues upstream from the campground and becomes more rough and hard to find in a few places. After a mile the trail climbs out of the canyon near a small stone building reaching Tom Sloane Saddle at about 3.5 miles where there is a junction with the Dawn Mine Trail 12W13
, the Tom Sloan Trail (closed) and a well used path to Brown Mountain. The Bear Canyon Trail
makes a hard left turn and climbs steeply another mile up the mostly shadeless ridge ending at the Mt. Lowe Road.
Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store
Alder, oak, bay, maple and bigcone spruce trees line the trail on the canyon floor. Nice mosses and ferns on north facing side. Good wildflowers in spring including Humboldt Lillies, delphinium, collinsia, monkey flowers and bright orange and red flowers on the succulent dudleya. Beware of poison oak. Bears are shy and usually avoid people.