Distance: 4.5 miles Time: 4 hours Type: There and back
Sedona is the outback tamed. The area is extremely popular with nature tourists for its epic landscapes, bright red rocks, new age vibe and plethora of family-friendly outdoor activities. While there are plenty of creature comforts around, there is also some great hiking and, in places, a taste of the rugged. The hike to the top of Bear Mountain is definitely one of the best in the region. I had read this walk had some good views but I was not quite expecting the truly sublime panoramas on offer. This one is a must do.
From the town take Dry Creek Road and continue as it becomes Boynton Pass Road. Turn left at the T-junction at the end of the road, pass the signs for the Fay Canyon Trailhead and a few minutes later you will see the parking area at the base of Doe Mountain. From here you can take on a shorter hike to the top of Doe Mountain but for a longer, and more thrilling walk, you can cross the road and head north for Bear Mountain.
The initial part of the walk crosses a fairly flat plain. Not before too long, you reach a rocky hill and begin to climb, quickly gaining wide views to the east and west. Things only improve as you continue, following a northerly direction.
I would not underestimate the walk. It is a full morning or afternoon walk and the numerous false summits may leave you guessing at times. But the effort is worth it. There are great views all the way along, as the path follows a ridge and gives over either to the west or east vistas. However, the real view is saved for the end (marked 'end of trail') with a sublime panorama across the plains to the west. Pictures can't quite do this one justice: it truly is an epic scene that stretches for miles before you. Take your time and make sure you take it all in before heading back for the steady descent back to the car.