The Bear Mountains lie just north of the village of Magdalena and north of the Magdalena Mountains in New Mexico. The Bear Mountains are located within the Magdalena Ranger District of the Cibola National Forest, there are two Inventoried Roadless Areas within the Bear Mountains, the Scott Mesa IRA and the Goat Spring IRA. The world-renowned Very Large Array lies to the southwest of the Bear Mountains, even so, the range is currently home to black bears, and grizzly bears were once found the area as well. Bands of Apache effectively controlled the Magdalena-Datil region from the century until they were defeated in the Apache Wars in the late nineteenth century. Due to the absence of light pollution, the Bear Mountains provide outstanding stargazing opportunities. The area also offers hiking, backpacking, camping, hunting. As Robert Juylan points out in The Mountains of New Mexico, as with other mountain ranges in west-central New Mexico, the variations in elevation result in diverse vegetative types. Scrubland, pinyon-juniper woodland, Gambel oak, mountain mahogany and grassland areas are all represented, grasses include black and sideoats grama, poverty threeawn, fluffgrass, burrograss, and galleta grass. Shrubs that are mixed in the grasslands include sotol, cholla, yucca, wildlife includes mountain lion, pronghorn, mule deer, black bear, and coyote as well as numerous bird species
Looking north at the Bear Mountains ridgeline.
Looking east from the Scott Mesa Inventoried Roadless Area in the Bear Mountains.