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The Bear Valley Trail starts at the junction of Trail # 23 near Bonanza Bill Flat and stays relatively level as it crosses Cow Flat until it drops into the canyon near Franz Spring. There is a spring and an line cabin used by the grazing permit holder in his operation and it is a good port in a storm for hikers. The trail climbs out of the canyon here and crosses Campbell Flat to the edge of the Mogollon Rim where it descends into Bear Valley. As it crosses Bear Valley you can observe the effects of a forest fire that burned in 1993. As the trail climbs out of Bear Valley be sure to watch for trail blazes on trees and rock cairns as the trail can become indistinct from here to the Blue River. The portion of trail to Auger Tank is rough and may require some route-finding skills. At Auger Tank there is a tendency to follow the drainage but that is not the trail so look for the trail to leave the drainage to the west and keep alert for blazes and cairns. The trail drops into Sycamore Canyon where there is an old, dilapidated corral and then climbs out of the canyon to Ladron Spring, a reliable water source. From here the trail descends to the Blue River over a narrow chute that is marked by several small waterfalls.

Directions: From Trail, Via Trail #23, Bonanza Bill Trail or from the Blue River.

Elevation: 7,600 feet

Ending Elevation: 4,800 feet

Elevation Gain: 2,800 feet

Distance: 12.1 miles

Usage: Light

Difficulty: Moderate

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Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Arizona

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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