Bear Wallow Trail 63

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Arizona

Elevation Gain3,892ft
Trailhead Elevation8,730ft
Elevation Min/Max6586/8730ft
Elevation Start/End8730/8730ft

Bear Wallow Trail 63

Bear Wallow Trail #63 is a hiking trail in Graham County and Greenlee County, Arizona. It is within Bear Wallow Wilderness Area and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. It is 8.2 miles long and begins at 8,730 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 16.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,892 feet. This trail connects with the following: Gobbler Point Trail #59, Schell Canyon Trail #316 and Reno Trail #62.

Bear Wallow Trail #63 Professional Reviews and Guides

"An overnight backpack into the Bear Wallow Wilderness. The creek meanders and splashes its way through virgin oldgrowth forest of Douglas fir, spruce, and ponderosa pine. Along the trail grow wild strawberries, wild geraniums, New Mexican locust, limber pine, and poison ivy—beware. Red squirrels and chipmunks are common. Bear Wallow is one of the few creeks in Arizona where native Apache trout have been reintroduced. This trout was almost wiped out by overfishing, the introduction of nonnative fish, and dam projects.

In 1884, rancher Pete Slaughter drove cattle into this valley and reported seeing numerous bear wallows along the creek where bruins had come to ward off pesky flies. Black bears still roam the area, as do elk, mule deer, and mountain lion. Also, the howl of a Mexican wolf might break the evening quiet. In 1998 Mexican wolves were released into the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest after having been eliminated from Arizona by 1970."

"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 Apache–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."

"Most backcountry regions I’ve hiked or backpacked in have at least one bear wallow, a wet, boggy place where black bears wallow in mud to rid themselves of vermin or to fend off biting insects. Pioneer settlers found so many wallows along this tributary creek of the Black River that they named it Bear Wallow Creek. And in 1984, more than 11,000 acres of the territory surrounding it became the Bear Wallow Wilderness. Bordered on the west by the San Carlos Indian Reservation, on the south by the rugged Mogollon Rim, and with the Blue Range Primitive Area lying only a few miles to the east, the Bear Wallow Wilderness lies amid some of the most truly wild terrain in Arizona.

The centerpiece of the wilderness is Bear Wallow Creek itself. Lined with Arizona ash, oak, box elder, and alder and flowing year round, the creek provides habitat for the native Apache trout, the survival of which is threatened by habitat degradation and hybridizing with rainbow trout. Conservation efforts to protect the Apache trout include the construction of stream barriers along Bear Wallow Creek to prevent the upstream migration of rainbows. This trail guide covers an area with 18 miles of trails."

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Trail Information

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests
Nearby City
Bear Wallow Wilderness Area
Skill Level
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest; Bear Wallow Wilderness Area
Local Contacts
USGS Baldy Hill, Hoodoo Knoll
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018