Broken Arrow Trail Fast Facts
Length: 4.9 miles
Elevation gain: 1,975 ft.
Type: Out and Back
Dogs: Yes, on a leash
Approximate time to hike: 2 hours
Red Rock Pass: Required.
Parking: Bear Mountain Trail
About Bear Mountain Trail
Bear Mountain Trail is one of the more difficult trails in Sedona, and Bear Mountain is among the tallest peaks in the area – if you can make it there. Bear Mountain Trail is a short hike at just around 5 miles round trip, but the elevation gain can be grueling. The trail to Bear Mountain is a mix of relatively flat, straightforward trail and steep climbs on uneven rock, so it’s important to wear the proper footwear and make sure you don’t overextend yourself trying to reach the top.
Hiking Bear Mountain Trail
Although it’s named Bear Mountain Trail, you won’t find many bears here. Bear Mountain got its name from its peak, which loosely resembles a bear. Begin your hike from the trailhead and take a wide dirt path heading north. Follow this path for about 10 minutes, until the terrain changes from red dirt to rocks and begins to climb. This is where the trail starts to get difficult, so take a moment to rest and collect yourself, because you’re about to climb ~2,000 feet in the next two miles.
Over the next few hours you’ll continue to ascend up the mountain and encounter several scrambles, switchbacks, plateaus, false summits, and a substantial amount of elevation gain. Along the way you’ll notice different vegetation and foliage, including prickly pears, manzanitas, alligator junipers, and wildflowers.
Be sure to take as many breaks as you need to catch your breath and stay hydrated. It’s also a good idea to bring a fitness watch or heart rate-monitoring device so you can keep track of your heart rate while trekking through the steep Bear Mountain terrain. After about two hours of hard work, you’ll arrive at the actual summit and be rewarded with one of the best panoramic views that Seonda has to offer.
Quick Tips to Hike Bear Mountain Trail
- Bring enough water and sun protection to last you 6 hours, as this trail is very difficult and offers little to no shade.
- Wear hiking shoes that are adequate for scrambling and climbing steep, uneven rock.
- If you’re able, bring a pair of binoculars to look out from across Red Rock Country from the summit. You’ll be able see Kendrick Peak and the San Francisco Peaks from Bear Mountain, and the panoramic views from the top present the perfect opportunity to scout for wildlife below.
Photography pro tips
While there’s really no bad hiking trail in Sedona to bring your camera to, we strongly encourage you to pack a wide-angle lens in your bag if you’re heading to Bear Mountain. The unobstructed panoramic views at the top are truly something to marvel, and you’ll want to capture every inch of the red rock landscape possible. If you don’t have a dedicated camera, your smartphone’s panoramic mode should be able to capture this nicely.