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Bear Sign Canyon Day Hike
May 1, 1999
by Tom Van Lew
  Trail Map 
Colorful cobblestones line Bear Sign Canyon.

The weather report for Sedona for Saturday May 1,1999, according to CNN, was for partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 50s. Since the Dry Creek Hike, scheduled a month earlier, had been cancelled due to inclement weather in Sedona, we were hesitant to try again. However, we decided to take our chances and head on up.

Jeannie and I met Chuck Parsons and Mike Wargel at Denny’s on Bell Road at 7:30. We waited a few minutes to see if any more fellow hikers would arrive. It turns out that no one else was willing to chance being rained on.

The four of us loaded into our truck (along with Sandy, our dog) and headed for the north country. The skies were sunny with some clouds as we started out, but the closer we got to Sedona, the darker the skies became. By the time we arrived at the trailhead, it was 10:00 and threatening to rain. This threat was not enough to turn us back. After our group photo, we headed out on the trail. It wasn’t long before a drizzle started and we considered turning back momentarily. Luckily we brought along our Ponchos. We broke them out and continued up the canyon.

The rain continued for most of the hike, but it allowed us to enjoy the deep colors of the wet red rocks. The trail passed through a forest of manzanita and junipers. The mist through the trees added to the beauty. Hummingbirds buzzed over head.

Tom and Mike on the wet slickrock.
Trees grow from the red rock walls.

We continued in for about 2 miles until we found a dry spot under an overhang to stop for lunch. We could have continued further, as we never did encounter any rough areas. The original report on the trail suggested that this was an unimproved trail. We did cross the creek bed a few times but never had to scramble and there was very little water in the creek. Along the way we met up with four fellow club members and Motorolans who had decided to chance the hike on their own.

After we finished lunch, we turned around and returned the way we came. When we arrived back at the junction for Bear Sign Canyon and Dry Creek Trail it was still early. We wanted to see what we had missed in April when we canceled the Dry Creek trail hike, so we headed up the canyon for about a half a mile. It lacked the beauty we had enjoyed on Bear Sign Trail so we turned around and headed back to the truck.

All in all it was quite an enjoyable day. The rain continued as a slight mist for most of the hike. The sun finally broke through as we returned to the truck at 3:00.

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updated April 20, 2016