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Bear Creek Trail (607)
Bear Creek Trail (BCT) begins at the confluence of Bear Creek and the Dolores River and merges with a portion of the Highline Loop National Recreation Trail, eight miles upstream. The entire length from the Bear Creek Trailhead to the junction with Sharkstooth Trail is 12.5 miles. The following trails intersect BCT and provide alternative access points:* Little Bear Creek Trail (#609) – branches off the BCT at mile 4 and is a 2.6 mile climb to the Little Bear Creek trailhead access, which is via Hillside Road (FDR#436). Many portions of the Little Bear Trail may be difficult to find and can be quite steep.* Gold Run Trail (#618) branches off the BCT at mile 6. This is a fairly steep trail but has several switchbacks and is designed to accommodate pack animals. Trail length is 2.2 miles to the Gold Run trailhead, which is accessed via the West Mancos Road (FDR #561). There is a well-established trailhead with parking, pit toilets and a corral. Overnight camping not permitted at trailhead.*Grindstone Trail Loop (#658/608) branches off at mile eight. Trailhead access is via Hillside Road (FDR #436).*Highline Loop Trail Begins a loop at approximately mile eight on the BCT, and continues east around the head of Bear Creek headwaters via the Sharkstooth Trail, to the Indian Ridge Trail (#520), then back down on either the Loop (#608) or the Grindstone Trail (#658).
Ending elevation: 11,200 ft. (junction with Sharkstooth Trail)
Trail length one-way: 12.5 miles.
Maps: See Map 2 — North of Dolores (link above), SJNF map, USGS 7½’ maps: Wallace Ranch, Orphan Butte, La Plata
Difficulty: moderateFrom Dolores on Highway 145, travel east for 22 miles. The trailhead is clearly marked on the highway, and begins about 1/4 mile east (upstream) from the confluence of Bear Creek and the Dolores River. The trail traverses the entire length of Bear Creek, all the way to the headwaters, where it intersects the Sharkstooth Trail. The following trails intersect Bear Creek Trail and are alternative access points.
- Little Bear Creek Trail (FST 609): Branches off the Bear Creek Trail at mile four and is a 2.6–mile climb to the Little Bear Creek Trailhead access, which is via Hillside Drive (FDR #436). Many portions of the Little Bear Trail may be difficult to find and can be quite steep.
- Gold Run Trail (FST 618): Branches off at mile six. This is a fairly steep trail but has several switchbacks and is designed to accommodate pack animals. Trail length is 2.5 miles to the Gold Run Trailhead, which is accessed via the West Mancos Road (FDR #561). There is a well-established trailhead with parking, pit toilets, and a corral. This is a day-use area only.
- Grindstone (FST 608) / Loop (FST 658) Trails: Both these trails branch off at mile 7.75 and end at the Grindstone Trailhead via Hillside Drive (#436). The upper portion of Bear Creek Trail, from Grindstone Creek (mile 7.75) to the junction with the Sharkstooth Trail, forms the lower portion of the Highline Loop National Recreation Trail (#520). To continue on this route you will go east once you are on the Sharkstooth Trail #620 to the junction with the Indian Ridge Trail #520. To complete a loop back down to Bear Creek, you can drop back down via the Loop or Grindstone Trail.
- Trail Measurement: 14 Miles
- Compass Latitude: 375653N
- Compass Longitude: 1050927W
- Numeric Latitude: 37.9480611
- Numeric Longitude: -105.1574957
- Elevation in Meters: 2426 to 3413
- Elevation in Feet: 7,960 to 11,200
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