Birding Hotspots Where to Go Birding

Mount Lemmon–Bear Wallow

Coronado National Forest
Mt. Lemmon, Arizona 85619
Bear Wallow Trail webpage
Bear Wallow Trail map

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Pima County

Mt. Lemmon–Bear Wallow
Coordinates: 32.4210014, -110.731102
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Birding in Arizona

About Bear Wallow
For travelers along the Crest Trail, and for visitors to Rustler Park looking for a scenic way to spend a day, here’s a system of trails that lead to a number of interesting features including Flys Peak, Bear Wallow Spring, Tub Spring and scenic Centella Point. These trails branch off the Crest Trail #270 along the stretch that lies between Flys Park and Round Park, just south of the Wilderness Boundary. Centella Trail heads east from a junction where the Long Park, Crest, and Flys Peak trails intersect. The trip to Centella Point, with its panoramic overlooks of the Cave Creek Basin, is 1.9 miles long. “Centella” is the Spanish word for “thunderbolt.” Be sure to notice the trees which have been struck by lightning on this exposed point. This area, which was the site of a small but hot fire in 1987, provides an excellent opportunity to observe how the forest regenerates after such a disturbance. Aspen, one of the first tree species to sprout after a fire, are growing on the north end of the ridge. Various wildflowers and grasses cover much of the fire site. Insects and birds are plentiful, and animals such as black bear seem to welcome rather than regret the meadow that has been created. From the same junction, Flys Peak Trail goes up and over the top of that mountain’s 9,666-foot summit. Along the way, it negotiates one of steepest climbs in this part of the Chiricahuas. A good overlook is available a short distance south and west of the summit. Bear Wallow Trail completes a rough loop that connects either with the south end of Flys Peak Trail or the Crest Trail #270 at one end and with the Centella Trail at the other.

From Tucson, take I-10 east 81 miles. Turn right (south) on AZ-186 and continue for 23 miles. Turn left (east) on AZ-181 toward Chiricahua National Monument, drive 4 miles, then turn right (south) on FR-42. Continue up Pinery Canyon 12 miles to FR-42D. Drive about 2.5 miles to the Rustler Park Campground. Access these trails via the Crest Trail about 2.5 miles from the campground. See Crest Trail #270 (Barfoot Lookout to Wilderness Boundary) narrative. Forest Roads 42 and 42D are gravel roads suitable for passenger vehicles. Open from April through November, they are not plowed and are usually closed following early or late season snowstorms. These roads are rough and dusty and may be muddy and slick after a rain.
From Bear Wallow Trail webpage

Tips for birding Mount Lemmon
Take Catalina Highway northeast from Tanque Verde Road. For desert and mountain species, stop at picnic and campgrounds (Molina Basin, Bear Canyon, Rose Canyon Lake and others) as you drive the narrow, winding road to high elevations.
From Tucson Audubon Society