Bear Mountain is an area just North of Mission, BC (Canada) which is mainly used by mountain bikers. However if you don’t mind stepping out of the way when cyclists zoom past, this area is also pretty fun for hikers. The loop we found was varied with pretty woodland and fantastic views. However there are so many trails, you could easily create your own route to explore. The mountain is 543m high, so it is snow-free much earlier than other high elevation trails.
There is actually another Bear Mountain, with a harder sounding walk close to Harrison Hot Springs. This walk is the more family friendly/easy option near Mission.
Bear Mountain Loop map
The route we took was slightly different to this, but you can get the general idea.
Bear Mountain – The basics
Distance: 9km (or any length really!)
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 400m
High Point: 550m
Time: 3 hours
What to bring:
Water, snacks and your camera!
We brought the 10 essentials.
Facilities: No facilities.
Dogs: Dog friendly
How hard is it? Pretty easy. There isn’t much elevation gain and there aren’t any technical sections.
Bear Mountain – Getting started
The trailhead is a parking area just off Dewdney Truck road near Mission. The trail starts by Mill Pond, then curves around the back of the pond to reach all the trails. We started by climbing up the mountain on the Big Trouble Little Chainring trail, but you could head up on one of the other paths if you like the look of them.
Be Bear aware:
Bear Mountain is at the south end of a large area of wilderness, so it is pretty likely that there are black bears on this trail. You probably won’t see them, but be loud and chat as you hike so you don’t surprise them. Keep your dog on their leash for the same reason and make sure you don’t drop any littler or feed them!
Cool forest trails
The elevation gain section of the hike we did was through the forest. You can tell it is second growth forest as all the trees are around the same size. Plus sometimes you get to see the stumps of the ancient forest that must have been logged in the previous century.
As the trails are primarily built for mountain bikers, they are really well constructed and easy to hike on. Just be ready to step out of the way if you see or hear cyclists coming.
Awesome trail signs
Why are mountain bikers so good at naming their trails!? We really enjoyed seeing all the creative sign posts for the bike trails, and seeing the trail names. We saw Bear Buns, Sorcerer’s apprentice and Jolly Rancher on the way up…but looking on the map, there is even Little Death and Lower Little Death if you head down on the other side of the mountain. Each trail has beautifully made and creative sign posts. I loved them.
As always in the autumn (we did this hike in November) there were also plenty of cool mushrooms to find along the trails.
Views near the peak
Near the top of the mountain on the Luge trail, there are some sections of the forest that have been chopped down more recently so sun can shine through the remaining trees.
There is one side of the mountain that must have been chopped down very recently, so you get some fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and valley below.
I have to admit, I am not a fan of clear-cutting the forest. It is so sad when you see such large patches reduced to bare ground. Still, this is one of the main industries in British Columbia (and the reason we have many of the trail that started off as logging roads.) I guess I prefer that they log these second growth forests, rather than destroy the few remaining pockets of old growth forests.
We found some really cool ice crystals along the edge of the trail, even though there was no snow at this elevation yet in November. This is called frost heave. It creates needle-like ice crystals that seem to grow out of the soil at the edge of the path.
We also found a few patches of ice on the non-sunny side of the mountain where all the ferns had been kissed by frost. They look so pretty with their natural frost glitter!
We followed a few more trails (this was the Back Door Trail) to reach the highest part of the mountain.
This was the final teeny push to the views at the top of Bear Mountain.
Bear Mountain Views
The trees are starting to regrow around the viewpoint at the top of Bear Mountain. But there is still plenty of space to peak through towards Chilliwack, the Fraser Valley and the beautiful mountains beyond.
We stopped here for a snack and admired Mount Baker from afar.
Watch out for cyclists
As I mentioned earlier, these trails are designed more for cyclists than for hikers. We started quite early in the morning when there were not many mountain bikers on the trails. But after lunch as we chose our trails down the mountain there were more and more people on bikes out enjoying the trails. They normally make enough noise that you can hear them coming and move off the trail to make space.
We only hiked in this area for a few hours, but it was a lovely surprise to find so many cool trails that are low enough to be snow free in the shoulder seasons. Bear Mountain is a great choice for days when the light will fade quickly, but you still fancy a bit of a work out and some pretty views.
I hope you like the look of this hike! Click on the link below to save it for later.