Bear Canyon Lake hike was our last activity in the Mogollon Rim area. It’s fairly remote in that you have to drive in on some gravel roads, park, and hike down to it. There was nobody there on the weekday we hiked it!
At an elevation of 7,560, Bear Canyon Lake consists of 60 surface acres with a maximum depth of 50 feet. Because of its depth, this lake has no water quality problems. The Arizona Department of Game and Fish stocks it with catchable-sized rainbow trout about six times each year.
The trail around the lake isn’t a proper trail. There are trail markings on the parking lot side of the lake but nothing official on the other side. Even the official trail is a steep hike down a very rocky hill to get to a still rocky trail that edges the lake. This is not a hike for anyone with accessibility issues and could NEVER be ridden.
Fish were jumping like crazy as we hiked around. We spotted an eagle and tried to get pictures but we were shooting into the sun so it was tough. Half way around we stopped to eat sandwiches on a cool little rocky outcropping. It was sooooo quiet out there!. From here, heading counterclockwise still, the trail officially ends and goes back up to a different parking lot. We kept going on a lesser trail that clearly gets some use, but not enough. You are basically picking your way along the hillside on rocks and roots.
After hiking across the damn it was a short hike back up to our truck. Still nobody. I imagine this place is crawling with people in the summer since there is a rustic campground up the road and plenty of dispersed camping in the area.