From Gates Chapel Road, Bear Creek Road climbs gently to the main trailhead for the Bear Creek Trail
The first quarter-mile can be quite the wake-up call if you haven't warmed up, but after that, it's a pleasant climb. The gravel road follows Mountaintown Creek to its confluence with Bear Creek and then it follows Bear Creek to the main Bear Creek trailhead and a small parking area.
There's a ford and another auxiliary parking area at the confluence of Bear and Mountaintown Creeks. It's a good place to access the river to cool off after a long summer run.