dogs on leash
off road driving
Little elevation change makes this an easy hike/nature walk. Look for cairns along the way! 1.4ish miles to a picnic table that includes weather-proof boxes containing years and years of log books! Take a moment to read some of the entertaining entries while taking in the view. This is a good turn-around point if you don't plan to finish the entire loop.
I hiked this trail while driving cross-country in 2011. The beauty is unparalleled and have given everywhere else I've traveled to a run for its money. I set out in the late afternoon with the evening closing in, the red rocks aglow and found pleasure in solitude. A funny little thing happened here as I stared out, soaking in the grand views. Everything fell completely silent. I could feel the wind but could not hear it. My mind completely emptied out and I became a mere witness to nature. Completely in the moment and nothing else. Meditation. It was the one of the most profound and incredible experiences I have had thus far. Highly recommended and bring a headlamp if you're going to be out in the evening.
From our standpoint, "strenuous" was a cruel understatement. The views were incredible, and worth the exertion, but Bear Mountain is no leisurely stroll through Red Rocks. The entire ascent is stair stepped up the rocky incline. Virtually no flat trails on the entire approach. Upon completing the first challenging trek, we were completely psyched out realizing that we weren't even halfway there. All totaled, we took a full five hours to complete, but the accomplishment and scenery were well worth it! (As a qualifier, we are avid hikers, and have completed a 14'er in Colorado - Quandary Peak - so use that as a reference for difficulty)
Awesome hike. Make sure to bring a good flashlight or preferably a headlamp and plenty of battery. Went on a Thursday and only passed 4 other groups along the way. Requires a bit of scrambling to get in and out of the cave but fairly easy once you're in.