Bear Wallow

Alpine, Arizona

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Named for the many bear wallows that settlers found here in the late 1800s, the Bear Wallow Wilderness encompasses a montane drainage system, complete with a productive trout stream and virgin stands of timber. Unfortunately, Bear Wallow has become known for something else as well. It was here that the massive Wallow Fire began in May 2011. Ignited by an abandoned campfire near the mouth of Schell Creek, this blaze burned 538,000 acres to become the largest wild?re to date in Arizona history. Dozens of homes and buildings were destroyed, and the blaze changed the complexion of a large swath of the Apacheā€“Sitgreaves National Forest for generations to come. Despite this widespread destruction, parts of the 7.6-mile Bear Wallow Trail, which this hike follows, were minimally impacted.

Bear Wallow Professional Review and Guide

"Named for the many bear wallows that settlers found here in the late 1800s, the Bear Wallow Wilderness encompasses a montane drainage system, complete with a productive trout stream and virgin stands of timber. Unfortunately, Bear Wallow has become known for something else as well. It was here that the massive Wallow Fire began in May 2011.

Ignited by an abandoned campfire near the mouth of Schell Creek, this blaze burned 538,000 acres to become the largest wild?re to date in Arizona history. Dozens of homes and buildings were destroyed, and the blaze changed the complexion of a large swath of the Apacheā€“Sitgreaves National Forest for generations to come. Despite this widespread destruction, parts of the 7.6-mile Bear Wallow Trail, which this hike follows, were minimally impacted."

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Alpine
Distance: 15.2
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 2 days
Season: Best May to October
Trailhead Elevation: 8,700 feet
Top Elevation: 6,700 feet
Local Contacts: Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest; Bear Wallow Wilderness Area
Local Maps: USGS Baldy Hill, Hoodoo Knoll
Driving Directions: Directions to Bear Wallow

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May 2018