Del Norte County High Point Trip Report

Bear Mountain (6,400+ ft)

Date: October 18, 2001
Author: Ken Jones

Note: I used Gary Suttle's book, but found some discrepancies. I offer my version as a supplement.

Drive: On U.S. Highway 199 about 10 miles east of Gasquet, find Little Jones Creek Road (signed, on the south side of the highway). Follow the paved road as it winds for 0.9 mile (Suttle says 1.3) and keep left (Suttle says right) at a fork. Follow paved FR 17N05 to a point 9.9 miles from the highway (there are mileposts on this road to help you keep track). Here the pavement ends; turn left onto FR 16N02. Follow this road (skip the left up Bear Basin Butte in about 0.5 mile, and keep left at the junction with (gated?) FR 16N10 at about 2.7 miles) to road's end at the Doe Flat trailhead about 4 - 1/4 miles from FR 17N05. There is a parking area, an outhouse, and a small campground (tables, but no piped water that I could find) at the trailhead.

Hike: The trail leaves from the right side of the road/parking area as you reach the trailhead. It is signed - you will enter the Siskiyou Wilderness almost immediately. Follow the trail (an old, closed road) past a fork right to Buck Lake and down to about 3280 feet. Toward the end of this walk, the old road becomes a trail. At a signed junction, bear right. Cross Doe Creek in a tenth of a mile or so, and begin your climb toward Devils Punchbowl. The steep, well-defined trail switchbacks up to a ridge, and drops slightly to another creek crossing. Beyond here, the trail is less well-defined, but can be followed with care past the lower lake (a number of options here, keep heading up the valley) to some campsites at the outlet of Devils Punchbowl. I followed Suttle's advice and went around the east and south sides of the lake, keeping low wherever I could - often right at water's edge - to avoid some of the brush. At the southwest corner of the lake, I headed up the large gully leading to the ridge just southeast of point 6241. The top of this gully is steep. I tried one way up, and a different one down. I'd recommend keeping to the left in the upper gully where it forks. The vegetation is not as bad to crash through as it looks, and it provides handholds. There is something of a beaten path in the dirt. Shortly, this path bears right and emerges on a talus slope. Bear left from here and head to the ridge. On the ridge, turn left and find a path around or through the brush (near the ridge was easiest for me) to the summit.

Round-trip statistics: 15 miles, 4500 feet of gain (Suttle says 3200 feet; he omits the gain back to the parking lot and some up-and-down between the creek crossings).