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Bear Creek Trail: 05 February 2012

 
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Mike P
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Location: Glendora, CA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:16 pm    Post subject: Bear Creek Trail: 05 February 2012  Reply with quote

This morning a bunch of buddies and I left the Smith Mountain trailhead on Hwy 39 to hike the Bear Creek Trail to its terminus on the West Fork of the San Gabriel River.


At three miles, we hit the Smith Mountain Saddle where we headed down into the San Gabriel Wilderness:


The downhill portion of the Bear Creek is in fair to excellent condition. Up high (within the mile below the saddle) there were several short but airy, narrow washed-out sections. Someone had been up there recently pruning the buckthorn and manzanita. Thank you if you are on this board! We found the San Gabriel Trail Builders tool chest. I almost missed it because it was in camouflage paint Smile


Typical tread of the downhill section:


Further down the trail but before we first hit Bear Creek, the trail was in excellent condition. We had "lunch" when we finally hit Bear Creek. In this area was Upper Bear Creek Trail Camp.


The next two to three miles was constant boulder-hopping and stream crossing. Short sections of trail were found here and there. Thankfully, the route is "fairly" well-marked with cairns. Leafless poison oak was in abundance here, as well.



The West Fork of Bear Creek joined the main stream about halfway down the canyon:


The canyon widens significantly south of the West Fork junction and the trail became much more apparent. Unfortunately, idiot humans have defiled much of this area:



Another brilliant mastermind felt that arrows needed to be painted on many of the rocks:


The total mileage from the trailhead to the West Fork parking lot was 11.5 miles. We left at 7:45 am and finished our leisurely trip at 2:00 pm. The first 5.8 miles can be done quickly while the next 4.7 miles in the canyon is very slow and tedious. The last mile is on the West Fork Road pavement. A short car shuttle was easy to arrange. We were lucky to have low water and excellent weather for this trip. I highly recommend this trip for folks that are in shape for a lot of boulder-hopping and route-finding!
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HikeUp
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Location: Pasadena, CA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good info Mr. P. Thanks for posting the pictures and map.
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longcut



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Location: San Dimas

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:08 pm    Post subject: Bear cork Reply with quote

Ive been wondering about this loop, thanks for the timely report and the pictures!
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mangus7175



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Location: Los Angeles CA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was the route my friend took me to introduce me into backpacking.  It wasn't a very nice trail to do when you're a beginner backpacker  Laughing

This brought back some painful memories Smile
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AW
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Location: North Hollywood, CA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice tr. safe to say not much has changed.
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Mike P
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Location: Glendora, CA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mangus7175 wrote:
This was the route my friend took me to introduce me into backpacking.  It wasn't a very nice trail to do when you're a beginner backpacker  Laughing

This brought back some painful memories Smile

Yah! NOT a beginner's backpack... Next time don't backpack with the Marquis de Sade Smile
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Hikin_Jim
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Mike,

Nice write up.

Hey, how bad was the poison oak?

HJ
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Mike P
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Location: Glendora, CA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hikin_Jim wrote:
Hey, how bad was the poison oak?

Hey Jim- the poison oak was mostly on the sides of the canyon. We were able to avoid at least 95% of it. Once the p.o. leafs out that % could change!
I was prepared for a poison oak-fest but was very surprised by how little we had to navigate around it
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Hikin_Jim
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike P wrote:
Hikin_Jim wrote:
Hey, how bad was the poison oak?

Hey Jim- the poison oak was mostly on the sides of the canyon. We were able to avoid at least 95% of it. Once the p.o. leafs out that % could change!
I was prepared for a poison oak-fest but was very surprised by how little we had to navigate around it
Hmm.  Sounds like this might be a really good time to make the trek.

Thanks for the info!

HJ
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Taco
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Location: Stuntin in the trap son

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice arrows. Crying or Very sad
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666-The Beast
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Location: Taking a vacation from Eispiraten.com

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice, enjoyable, uneventful and tough rock an roll hike thru the the Bear Creek area! From the upper section you get to see what the Gabes will look like after 10yrs, not a great sight, but things move on..
When you drop in the creek floor its where all the fun begins. This time of year is the most easiest trek due to low water level. I usually prefer the spring time with all the green growth, more water , the rattlers waiting for you and the warm weather. Thanks for remind me to go and do this trip soon. This time I will be going on the creek both ways; its more demanding but its more fun also. Great pics! ...    666
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