Bear Canyon Loop Trail to Pigeon Spring

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San Mateo Canyon Wilderness

Bear Canyon Loop Trail to Pigeon Spring is a 6.1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Lake Elsinore, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length6.1 miElevation gain1,112 ftRoute typeLoop
Dogs on leashHikingHorseback ridingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingrunningForestRiverViewsWildflowersWildlifeBugsMuddyRocky
Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543

Directions from Lake Elsinore, CA: Travel southwest on Highway 74 venturing into the mountains, then passing the Visitor Center / Fire Station in El Cariso. Proceed another 3.6 miles on Hwy. 74 to reach the trailhead. Parking is available at the San Juan Loop. (Trailhead is half a mile north of Upper San Juan Campground.)

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Reviews (204)
Photos (972)
Recordings (156)
Completed (1,745)
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Tracie MacGregor
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HikingGreat!Rocky
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Kari Roben
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HikingGreat!Rocky
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Adam Fisher
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Hiking
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Pete McNulty
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HikingGreat!

Well-maintained and not very technical. Do the whole thing or as much as you’d like. Great trail, great parking and spectacular views.

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Adventure Seeker
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HikingGreat!
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Timothy Rosnick
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Hiking

This is a great loop for casual hiking. The trail is generally smooth dirt and in good condition. The inclines are not steep. The canyon portion of the loop often shaded, while the ridge portion is more open and offers some views.

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tim otto
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Hiking

Narrow trail surrounded by tall brush. would provide good coverage in summer.

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Rey D'Angelo
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HikingGreat!
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Tania MacPherson
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Hiking
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Darin Clegg
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Hiking
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Prem Radhakrishnan
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Hiking

pretty good trail. brush provides some shade. tip 1: you need an adventure pass to park and the shop that sells it only opens at 8 on the weekends. I had to wait after I got here early soget one ahead of time if you want to start early. tip 2: wear pants brush is into the trail in many places I am glad I did and hat for the sun.

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Stu Keech
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HikingOver grown

I started this hike around 4:45 PM, and would recommend doing the same if you want some shade! The overgrown brush blocks the sun once it’s low enough in the sky. Didn’t finish because it was so hot still but something to consider!

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Erik G
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HikingBugsOver grown

A decent trail but not much of a “sight seeing” hike. Good workout though. As stated in other comments the trail is very overgrown in certain areas. I would recommend pants. Super narrow during most of the hike, so not much of a social distancing trail when it’s crowded.

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Anna Disipio
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HikingBugsOver grown

The trailhead is very clearly marked with a big sign right next to the candy store. Wear pants, as the trail is a bit overgrown. Lots of gnats and bees in areas. The trail is also very narrow so wear a mask for when you have to pass people. Ladies, pee before you get on the trail! No good squat spots ;)

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Angelica Salceda
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HikingBugsOver grown

Loved this hike! Brought my dog and she had so much fun. The beginning is a gradual uphill. Went 1.2 further to Sitton Peak No mountain lion or rattle snake sightings. The views were awesome. Brought a small lunch up there. There are California Everlastings are blooming from Jan to July and if your dog gets near them, it can make them smell like maple syrup if you let them sniff it! :)

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Oscar Serrato
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RunningWashed out

Trail was nice, good elevation climb. Trail was covered and shaded for the most so that was really nice. It is horse friendly and there was a good amount of poop. Wasnt all that bad. Really nice walk:)

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Jacob Cottle
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Hiking

Great trail. Occasional coverage throughout the trail

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Amy DeLeeuw
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Hiking

April 19- trail still open and just like the other review says, parking is off Ortega Hwy. Lightly trafficked today and we enjoyed the hike.

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Jacqueline Cid
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HikingMuddyNo shade

Great hike. There’s no summit, but if you go 1.5 miles further than this turn point you have access to Sitton Peak. It would have been a 9 mile hike and we hadn’t prepared to do it, so we just followed the guide of this trail path only. It was still great. There were beautiful view points on the loop on the left. When you are at the intersection for the loop, the trail on the left it definitely more strenuous going up, while the one on the right is more gradual. We took the one on the right without realizing this, but still got a good workout. The parking lot was closed due to covid-19 (as a previous commenter said) but there were plenty of spots to park on the road. There were lots of people doing the same with no issue. The trail was quiet, which made social distancing easy! We did cross some people here and there, but everyone was respectful of maintaining 6 ft. Overall, I would come back here, definitely to hit Sitton Peak in the future.

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Anne-Laure Creve
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HikingRocky
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Erika Van Wick
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HikingRocky

Went today with our older kids 12 & 16 they had no problems. It was great we only did about half of it because it was mostly uphill and I’m pregnant haha. Wear good hiking shoes or boots. Beautiful views but definitely moderate level. Right now you can park alongside of the road due to the parking lot being closed bc of Covid-19.

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Danielle Ferraro
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Hiking

Lovely hike. Beautiful views (best views at peak elevation just before you get to the four corners)! Quiet, some wildflowers just beginning to peek out.

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Paul Lusignan
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HikingOver grown

Nice trail. Not overcrowded. Took about 3 hours.

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Raini Sato
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Hiking

New Year’s Day, BEAUTIFUL day. Trail was well maintained. No one was blasting their radios which was nice. I’m a bit out of shape so it was just the right amount of challenge for me. It took me 3 hours from start to finish

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