Like the adjacent trailheads at Drinking Horse Mountain and the M, Bear Canyon offers two distinctly different trails. The New World Gulch trail to the south-by-southwest leads to Mystic and the Sourdough Creek basin or up to the 8,331-foot summit of Mount Ellis. The primary Bear Canyon stem departs to the southeast, along a small cliff band favored by rock climbers and into the "parky" areas of the upper canyon. There are several forks along the stem that access Chestnut Mountain, the Trail Creek Drainage, or back into upper Sourdough.
If you're looking for... a hearty, shuttled trip that can be done in a day, connecting Bear Canyon with the Chestnut Mountain trailhead overs astounding views, a good route for biking or hiking, and is just under 12 miles.
Distance: 4.5 miles, one-way, up the main stem of Bear Canyon to the pass into Trail Creek
Elevation gain: 1,500 feet
Seasons: May through October, weather permitting
Trail(s) used: #440, #438 and #50
Map of trailhead:
<iframe width="425" height="350" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=217718319832868050745.0004e7c63827f9675220d&hl=en&ie=UTF8&t=h&ll=45.657728,-111.009293&spn=0.167974,0.291824&z=11&output=embed"></iframe><br /><small>View <a href="https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=217718319832868050745.0004e7c63827f9675220d&hl=en&ie=UTF8&t=h&ll=45.657728,-111.009293&spn=0.167974,0.291824&z=11&source=embed" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">Bear Canyon</a> in a larger map</small>