The highlight of our trip to Sedona, after the fantastic car camping, was a hike up Bear Mountain. Bear Mountain is located in the Red Rock – Secret Mountain Wilderness of Sedona and ascending it is a challenging half-day hike. It is one of the area’s highest accessible points and has amazing views of Fay Canyon, Boynton Canyon, the San Francisco Peaks, and colorful desert as far as the eye can see.

The Hike

via ProTrails

  • Round-trip distance: 4.8 miles
  • Start elevation: 4,612 feet
  • End elevation: 6,444 feet
  • Elevation gain: 1,832 feet
  • Trailhead: Doe Mountain
  • Fees: $5/day for the Red Rock – Secret Mountain Wilderness. There is a kiosk at the trailhead.

In the morning we set out from our camp and were greeted by a couple hundred Sedona Marathon runners along FS 525. We tried to drive as slowly as possible to not stir up the dirt road, but then we thought if we drove too slowly we would destroy everyone’s breathing with car exhaust.

We paid the $5 day use fee at the parking lot kiosk and then crossed Boynton Pass Road to reach the start of the trail.

Bear Mountain Trail Sedona Arizona

The first section of the trail is relatively flat. We quickly reached the first of several rock stairways and from there the trail alternates between flat and steep, challenging sections.

Bear Mountain Trail Sedona Arizona

About 2/3 of the way up was the best spot along the trail:

Bear Mountain Trail Sedona Arizona

We summited the false peak (hah), and then continued on to reach the actual summit in about 1.5 hours.

Bear Mountain Trail Sedona Arizona

Bear Mountain Trail Sedona Arizona

The summit is large, rounded, and crisscrossed by social trails that lead to different viewpoints. The summit view was not as spectacular as I anticipated. I saw this mentioned in other blogs, too. So since more than one person said it, it is now accepted as fact.

Anyways, the views were still GREAT. But short trees and bushes obscure the view towards the north. WHAT ABOUT MY 360° VIEWS. Why hasn’t the plant life been destroyed for our 5 minutes of viewing pleasure??

Bear Mountain Trail Sedona Arizona

Summit viewing time complete, time for the descent!

Bear Mountain Trail Sedona Arizona

Bear Mountain Trail Sedona Arizona

Car Camping

We got back to the truck and started driving to the campsite. We stopped midway to conduct a photo shoot.

Sedona, Arizona Car Camping

Back for more car camping goodness! We were happy to have this spot for two nights. The sunset views of Bear Mountain were great, especially since for evening #2 we had JUST hiked it and could now revel in some self-satisfaction.

This is a picture from the day before, but it captures evening #2 pretty well.

Sedona Arizona Car Camping

The end!



  1. Beautiful pictures Ashley. The blue sky is gorgeous. IMHO, this hike has pretty views all the way, which is what I’d rather have. The summit view is nice too, especially when it’s not a 3000+ ft climb.

    • ashleyoutside Reply

      Yes – you hiked this! So you know that one section haha…I could have stayed there all day.

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