Sunday, December 21, 2008

Brown Mountain to Bear Canyon Loop Hike Trip Report

Meetup Link here

My photos here

I had initially been given some requests to make a hike that had 'at least' 5000 ft elevation gain, was steep uphill, not steep downhill, and not too many miles. Well that sounds plenty easy to do, especially given limitations with snow conditions!

I wanted to check out the descent from the ACH and the Ken Burton trail as I had seen its switchbacks every time I drove up the ACH for other hikes. So we drove up the ACH for a short bit until we reached a small turnout on the right around Dark Canyon that has a use trail heading down to Oakwilde. The use trail has some brush but nothing annoying, and though its pretty steep not too bad.

Leveling out close to Oakwilde we heard the pleasant sound of running water.

We reached a junction with the Ken Burton trail, and headed up. The trail is in good condition.

Strawberry Peak to the north:

We reached the junction with Brown Mtn fire road, where there was a bunch of mountain bikers partying it up on some sort of social ride. They asked where we were going, and we pointed and said 'straight up', which they didn't think we could do!

The ascent up the west ridge was quite steep. I really enjoyed it. However, it was quickly concluded by the group that they did not want to go down this way!

We traversed across a few bumps until we reach Brown Mt. where we ate lunch. The cloud layer covered up much of the city but we could see Santiago Peak in the distance.

We continued east, heading up and down the bumps along the way. As we reach the reach and heading east we found snow in increasing amounts. At one point we could see some prints of a big kitty!

We reached Tom Sloane saddle, and decided to head down to Bear Canyon, as looping to the south would require more mileage. In addition, I had never been in Bear Canyon so I thought that would be nice.

The trail down was in great condition although right now some parts have decent snow coverage. Enough to make a snow angel.

It was very lovely at the bottom. Lots of flowing water.

Lots of water!

We met up with the Switzer Falls trail junction, hiked up to the junction with Gabrielino trail, and took it back to Oakwilde.

As we have established, do not take the CCC ridge!

We finished up with the steep 800 ft, 0.6 mile climb back to the cars, for a total of 14 miles and 4800-5000 ft gain. A few nice steep ascents, gradual descents, and lovely hike through Bear Canyon.

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