West branches of upper Bear Creek

Joined: February 12th, 2014, 9:35 am

July 16th, 2018, 9:05 am #1

On Saturday, headsizeburrito and I went to the Mt Waterman area to check out the upper reaches of Bear Creek. We were looking at the westernmost branches of the drainage, all the way to Twin Peaks saddle. We walked up the Mt Waterman trail, saw a usable gully before the switchbacks up to the Twin Peaks Saddle/Mt Waterman junction, and dropped in there. We'd descend here, and eventually return via the saddle and the trail. All of the available trip reports of this general area describe the branches East of here, so this would new ground.

We descended to the junction with these East branches of Upper Bear creek at just below 4000ft. The available trip reports describe extensive marijuana cultivation in these East branches. In the West branches that we traversed, there's some black tubing, and some signs of activity, but not a lot. And it all seemed old and long-unused. When we hit the junction at 4000ft, we immediately found empty fertilizer bags, camp trash and a decent use trail along the canyon. I haven't seen the East branches yet, but the canyon on our end was full of waterfalls, and it'd be a lot of work to set up operations there. If it's easier on the East side, I'd spend my time there too.

Once we dropped down the steep upper areas, the canyon becomes woody, acquires water, and is generally pretty nice



Some small waterfalls are encountered towards the beginning



As you descend, the channel narrows, and you hit a number of significant waterfalls. All have bypasses with varying amounts of exposure. Definitely requires hands and good grip on your shoes, and falling is not recommended. But otherwise quite doable. The drops are dramatic in places











But then you get to go around, and look at the waterfall faces, some of which are really nice







We saw some snakes





(and an unpictured unalive garter snake)

And countless butterflies and countless ladybugs







And this:



And I claim I found a big horn:





It's really old and worn, and MAYBE it's just a piece of wood, but the texture made me think it's an old, degraded horn.

Nobody goes here, so we grabbed countless birthday baloons, and had ourselves a very merry time.
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Sean
Cucamonga Man
Sean
Cucamonga Man
Joined: July 27th, 2011, 6:32 pm

July 16th, 2018, 2:05 pm #2

Very nice! How tall was that waterfall? And was the Devil's Canyon spring flowing along the trail before Twin Peaks Saddle?
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Joined: February 12th, 2014, 9:35 am

July 16th, 2018, 7:17 pm #3

Sean wrote: Very nice! How tall was that waterfall?
I'm bad at estimating these. The largest single drop was the first one of the cluster. It's the first two photos, and the main face is this one:



Maybe 75 ft? It's big.

Sean wrote: And was the Devil's Canyon spring flowing along the trail before Twin Peaks Saddle?
I don't recall seeing any water after we hit the saddle on the return, but we really didn't look very hard. I was late to something, so we just hiked straight out. headsizeburrito? Do you remember?
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Joined: February 12th, 2014, 9:35 am

July 16th, 2018, 7:42 pm #4

Forgot to mention: LOTS of poison oak and stinging nettle. Long pants recommended.
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Joined: November 15th, 2017, 9:18 pm

July 17th, 2018, 3:09 am #5

Where the trail crossed the Devil's Canyon spring it was quite damp and green, I don't remember seeing if there was any actual flow or just saturated ground though.

I was impressed with the height of the falls, they would be pretty spectacular with more flow, though it would make it very hard to get to them in that case. All the larger falls were int he lower third of the section we did and were bypassed on the western side of the canyon.

Here is a nice butterfly I saw:

butterflylily.jpg

And just for visual reference, here is the section of the canyon we were in:

map.jpg

Total time was a little under 10 hours, 12 miles, 3700ft loss/gain.
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AW
Canyon Man
AW
Canyon Man
Joined: October 1st, 2007, 6:00 pm

July 17th, 2018, 4:04 am #6

Cool....I think of that place as the north fork of Bear Creek...per some old topo. Good country. Bet it was hot out though hehehe.
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