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Hiking & Walking: California

Quick Facts

Bear Creek Trail

Beginning Elevation: 3,350 Feet (1044.3 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 11 Miles (18.33 Kilometers)

Outfitters and Guides

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The easiest way to explore Bear Creek is to begin at the Upper Bear Creek Trailhead. From there you'll walk 3 miles to Smith Saddle where you can take a 1.2 mile side trail to the summit of Smith Mountain. From Smith Saddle you'll drop down into Bear Creek and follow the stream until it meets West Fork Road and the San Gabriel River. A car shuttle is required unless you want to hike back the same way you came. A Wilderness permit (free) is required.

Directions from Azusa, CA: Take the Azusa Avenue off-ramp from Interstate 210 East. Follow Azusa Avenue north several miles until it becomes Highway 39. Follow Highway 39 east approximately 30 miles to the Upper Bear Creek Trailhead.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Year-round .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Rich Maschner
Length of Time: 12 hrs
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Don't count on entering from the northern trailhead. The road is out. You will have to hike in from the south and hike the trail in and out. Toughest part was to find the trail! After about a mile of hiking on the road, you will cross a bridge. Leave the road on the south side, go under the bridge and travel north. This is not a hard hike, but I gave it a moderate because of the numerous stream crossings. It is also very easy to lose the trail in places, but if you are an experieiced backpacker, you will find it again. We camped above Lower Bear. There are remains of a stone cabin.
Conditions: This is a nice shady hike.
Water Availability: Plenty of water. You are hiking along, over, and in, the creek.
Recommended Clothing: I was told there was a lot of poison oak, so I recommended the Scouts wear long pants. I wore shorts and managed to stay out of the red leaves.
Suggested Accessories: Hiking stave is a great asset on this hike. It's great to be a tripod when you cross the streams on rocks.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Permit Required
ICON Hiking & Walking Bear Creek Trail
ICON Rivers & Streams San Gabriel River
ICON Viewing Scenery Smith Mountain
ICON Viewing Wildlife Birds, Mammals

More Information

Visitor Information:

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543


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