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Saturday, October 1, 2011

ABINEAU-BEAR JAW LOOP

ABINEAU-BEAR JAW LOOP
Flagstaff

Known for its carousel of changing views and ecosystems, the Abineau-Bear Jaw loop is among the most popular hikes in the Flagstaff area. The trail’s multiple personalities can be experienced several ways, although most hikers prefer to tackle the tougher part first by beginning on the Abineau trail. From the signed trailhead, the path heads 2.3 miles up Abineau Canyon climbing steeply on rugged terrain through dense woodlands, passing the scar of a February 2005 avalanche that scoured a large portion of the upper trail. At the two-mile point (10,400 feet), the trail meets the talus slopes below Humphreys Peak and the junction with Abineau Canyon Road (FR 126, which appears on some older maps as Waterline or Pipeline Road). From here, a barren, volcanic landscape spills north melting into a pastel horizon. To connect with the Bear Jaw trail, follow the dirt road 2 miles to the (easy-to-miss) trail sign on the left. Along this segment, the pine-spruce-fir woodlands give way to alpine meadows and enchanting colonies of white-barked aspens. The trail is a bit treacherous in spots, so, proceed with care and enjoy the fact that the final 2.5 miles are all down hill back to the trailhead.
Near the trail's highest point
Waterline Road
LENGTH: 6.8-mile loop
RATING:  difficult
ELEVATION: 8,500’ – 10,400’

DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX:  170 miles one way
GETTING THERE:
From Flagstaff, go 19.5 miles north on US 180 to milepost 235.2, turn right onto Hart Prairie Road (north access of FR 151), go 1.6 miles to FR 418, turn left and continue to the signed turn off for Bear Jaw (FR9123J) on the right near the 3-mile marker and follow the signs 0.6 mile to the trailhead. FR 151, 418 and 9123J are maintained dirt, suitable for sedan, but high clearance is recommended.
INFO: Flagstaff Ranger District, Coconino National Forest
Fall Color Info:
Fall Color Hotline:
The final climb section--Humphreys Peak on the horizon

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