My wife and I decided on Bear Den Mountain today. It was actually our plan-b as we originally were planning to hike Cobble Hill Lookout. However, when we arrived at the trailhead for Cobble Hill, signage stated the trail is closed due to COVID. Not sure the story on that, but I will look into it.
We arrived at the trailhead for Bear Den Mountain around 7:30 am. It was a bit of a challenge finding the actual trailhead and sign-in, but with the help of a construction worker, we could locate it. It is on the north side of the parking lot but is elusive as the signage is poor.
We eventually found the register, and we soon signed in and were on our way. The trail starts easily enough. It is worth noting a shared trail with mountain bikes for a little way, about 6/10ths of a mile (just past the second marked intersection). You will know when because the signs will point you towards Bear Den Mountain, and you soon leave the shared trail and begin to climb.
The trail is easy enough to follow and is well marked. It looks like there has been a fair amount of foot traffic on the trail as it shows the stresses of heavy use. I suspect a large influx on the lesser trails as people try to avoid the crowded, more popular trails. Bear Den is one of those overlooked trails and is quite beautiful and rewarding.
We follow along a stream on our right for about 4/10the of a mile as we meander up, eventually veering away from it as the trail begins to switch back upward. The last half-mile or so of the trail moderately steepens and is slippery until you top out on the col below Bear Den Mountain.
From the col, it is about a tenth of a mile before you come to the rocky outcropping of the summit of Bear Den, don’t be fooled thinking the first view is the summit. Keep following the trail, as you will come out again on a second outcropping. The trail eventually fizzles out from here. The views are quite spectacular, and there is plenty of space to layout on the rocks and enjoy the views. We enjoyed the peak for about a half-hour before we made our way back down.
I logged 4.5 miles round trip.
Ascent 1300 Feet