Bear Basin is less visited than most destinations along Swift Creek likely because there are no lakes within the basin, but this only adds to the magical aura. For the first several miles the trail leads along Swift Creek, where waterfalls cascade over large boulders and through a steep canyon. Shortly after crossing Parker Creek at 3.6 miles, a trail junction takes adventurers off the Swift Creek Trail and onto the Bear Basin Trail. There are several campsites around this junction, so it is a good base camp area if you wish to make a day hike into Bear Basin instead of hauling a backpack all the way in.
Along the Bear Basin Trail a sturdy wooden bridge crosses Swift Creek and heads up to Bear Basin. The first couple of miles are forested until they open up to an expansive meadow. Follow the trail along the meadow's edge before heading into more forest and crossing several small streams. A few miles later the trail almost immediately opens up into a huge plain surrounded by towering ridges of grey, tan, and red. This is Bear Basin, a seemingly untouched plain surrounded by several colliding rock types. Backpackers will find great areas to camp on the fringes of the basin along the creek.
From the Swift Creek Trailhead to the end of Bear Basin it is approximately 7.5 miles, leaving another 1.7 miles to the end of 7-Up pass. Continuing along the trail takes hikers up a steep trail leading out of the basin to a phenomenal viewpoint of the jagged Trinity Alps. From here visitors may want to return or continue on for more amazing views. Another steep trail winds around the red rock up to 7-Up Pass. From this pass hikers or backpackers can return to the Swift Creek Trailhead by following the adventure for Granite Lake.