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426 Bear Mountain 2011-06-28

view from the summit of Bear Mountain

After finally arriving in Boulder, I quickly finished off a few shopping chores and began preparations for a hike. I had been sitting in the car for too long and needed to stretch my legs. I chose to climb Bear Mountain that lies above Boulder. A short drive put me at the trailhead and I started as soon as possible.

From the trailhead at the NCAR building I walked through the "weather hike" (similar to a nature hike; but explaining weather instead of nature) and joined the Mesa Trail. Heading south, I was on the Bear Canyon Trail for a short while and then turned off on to the Mesa Trail again. The trail was a steep road. After a steady climb the trail intersected with Fern Canyon Trail.

It was hot as I started on the moderate slope. I had hiked Bear Mountain before and knew that this section was only a teaser, the trail would get steeper. At the next junction the path turned right and began climbing in earnest. Lucky me, I was having the opportunity to acclimate to the hot weather and the altitude at the same time!

Finally reaching the saddle between Dinosaur Mountain and Bear Mountain, I took a couple of pictures and began the grind. The Fern Canyon Trail disintegrated into a climbers-like path. It was steep, steep, steep. I did not stop except to take pictures; but I did take a few more pictures than normal.

The summit crown of Bear Mountain is a scramble. A few hundred feet require you to use your hands. The route can be easy or hard. You chose.

From the summit there is a grand view of Boulder and the mountains to the west - the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area - and to the north - Rocky Mountain National Park.

A few Bear Mountain notes ...

There are no blazes on the trails, only trail signs.

There are no restrooms or water at the trailhead.

No one greets other hikers on the trails. I had a number of hikers talk to me; but I don't think they were local.

The trail to the saddle is well built and interesting. There are many small switchbacks that try to tame the slope.

As I was going up the upper slopes, a man ran down the slope with a baby in a chest carrier. His actions looked very scary.

The summit scramble is good. The summit register had been removed. There were also two benchmarks(ers) on the summit about four feet apart.

Descending there was a guy running toward the top. I was impressed.

A large snake crossed the path in front of me. I did not know what kind he was. I don't remember evervseeing another snake in the west, that was not a rattler. He was not interested in me as he slithered away.

Shortly after the snake I met a couple who were not really dressed as hikers nor did they carry traditional hiking gear. They wanted to know how much farther it was. I told them 15 minutes; but then explained that 15 minutes was an unspecified time frame. They said they had plenty of water in their plastic grocery bag that they were carrying. I hope they at least got high enough for a view.

The closer I came to the trailhead the more crowded the trail became.

There were lots of dogs on the trail, some were obedient to their owners and one was even on a leash.

Remember to carry plenty of water in the summer.

Sorry, but no mileages. I will add them to the post later.

Boulder is lucky to have such a trail in their backyard.

Happy Bear Mountain trail.


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