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  1. #1
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    Bikepacking Black Canyon Trail

    Hello Neighbors to the Southeast!
    My husband and I are discussing what to do with our vacation time at the end of September. We definitely want to try bikepacking together (have backpacked and ridden together for years, but not bikepacked yet). We are considering doing an out and back on the BCT from Emery Henderson north to Highway 69. We would probably take ~5 days to do the ~130 miles at a leisurely pace.
    Any thoughts as to the logistics of this plan, such as the weather and water availability at the end of September? I have read a few trip reports, but they are mainly from winter/spring trips. Thanks for any local knowledge you might be willing to share!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by larels View Post
    Hello Neighbors to the Southeast!
    My husband and I are discussing what to do with our vacation time at the end of September. We definitely want to try bikepacking together (have backpacked and ridden together for years, but not bikepacked yet). We are considering doing an out and back on the BCT from Emery Henderson north to Highway 69. We would probably take ~5 days to do the ~130 miles at a leisurely pace.
    Any thoughts as to the logistics of this plan, such as the weather and water availability at the end of September? I have read a few trip reports, but they are mainly from winter/spring trips. Thanks for any local knowledge you might be willing to share!
    5 days seems like a lot. Some of the folks on this forum have done it in one day.

  3. #3
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    Haha! I bet they have! I came up with this idea after my husband suggested the Vapor Trail out of Salida, CO, which is 125 miles all at >10K feet elevation. Umm...recipe for failure! I'm not a fast rider and I imagine I'll be a bit slower loaded with camping gear.
    What do you think is a reasonable timeframe for BCT? 3 days? And if so, is late September a decent time to do it? Maybe we could do BCT and then check out Sedona or somewhere else nearby?

  4. #4
    Break it, Fix it, Ride it
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    Yeah, BCT rolls pretty fast. Five days will get you ~25 miles a day, which would be only 5 hours of riding each day. It's not techy at all, and there is no HAB. Cut it to three days and ride the trail up past Rt. 69. There's some new stuff up there. You might want to stash water too. Sometimes the flow of the Agua Fria is pretty low, especially just after a hot summer, and there's a good amount of heavy metals and cattle poo floating around it as well, but it won't kill you if you need it. Otherwise, you'll love the trail. Built for MTBs it seems.
    Today's the day I eat bikes.

  5. #5
    Over the Hill
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    I would put the Coconito 250 Loop way above Black Canyon for bike packing. Many ride the length of Black Canyon in one day.

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    Last edited by dstepper; 08-18-2012 at 08:32 AM.

  6. #6
    My other ride is your mom
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    Yeah....late September can still be brutal heat....you are warned. I'd suggest doing a part of the Coco250 instead....much better weather and views in my mind.

  7. #7
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    Five days of water might be an issue. Don't count on being able to find any out there.

  8. #8
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    Larels,
    I've done it a couple times where I started at emery hendersen, rode north to 69, camped, then rode back the next day. The 2 day approach is pretty burley...3 would be much nicer and you could explore the stuff north of 69. That stuff needs tire tracks on it from what I hear. There are several water options; all require filtration and purification. However due to the trail having great access, its super easy to stash water and you can always get water in mayer or cordes junction. Send me a note at rhemmele at gmail dot com and I can give you more info and send gpx's if needed.
    As others have said, the coco loop in northern az is a good option that time of year, especially if its still pretty warm in the desert.
    Your limits are both physical and mental. Suffering will help you find and overcome both.
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  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the suggestions and advice! Looks like we have some thinking to do. Definitely will look at Coconino as well!

  10. #10
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    Seems like Sept even late is still going to be pretty hot down low. But with 5 days you could easily just lay low during the heat of the day. Shouldn't be hot all day that time of year.

    Also the trail comes close to Black Canyon City and others as mentioned should be easy enough to go off to resupply.

    The Coco 250 in 5 days would also be a sweet ride. Use the SS bypass to miss the biggest HAB on Mingus.
    Singin' I love hike a bike!!!

  11. #11
    Rhino
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZTtripper View Post
    The Coco 250 in 5 days would also be a sweet ride. Use the SS bypass to miss the biggest HAB on Mingus.
    Also consider watering down the Coco if the mileage and climbing is too much...

    Flag>Sedona>Cottonwood>up to Jerome (via road, by pass Mingus all together)>Williams>Flag

    food for thought...

  12. #12
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    Leave Flag on the Coco route and then detour down to the BCT 180 miles to Black Canyon City.

    Rayban and others have been helping me put together the Central Arizona 500 route. Flag to BCT is the first 180 miles of that course.

    If you could get one of the shuttles out of Phx to Flag that could pick you up at say the KOA in Black Canyon City. Then ride back and you could pay for a shower as well if you wanted.

    I think this could be a sweet 5 day ride.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bikepacking Black Canyon Trail-flag-bct-city.jpg  

    Singin' I love hike a bike!!!

  13. #13
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    Water is the main topic and there is a lot more than what some are suggesting from Table Mesa all the way north to Gloriana TH. From there a water cash could easily be dropped at a couple of locations and you would be all set. Even a single cash at the 69 would be sufficient to complete the ride comfortably. Any of the proven filters or purifiers will get the job done by themselves. No need for both. Having something to filter the floaties if using a Steripen or like purifier would be my only recommendation.
    Riding somwhat early will give you the best experience even if rather warm. Sept is a toss up on weather around here but if you were going bet one way or the other - still gonna be hot. 5 days might be a little lengthy but... the folks talking about single day through rides are freaks of mt. biking and are not caring ANY gear with them, more or less 5 days of supplies. Your better off to planning conservatively to ensure a good, fun, and safe, ride.

  14. #14
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    Looking at the cut up track looks like it should be pretty easy to resupply at Black Canyon City less then 25 miles north of their starting point and again at Cordes Jct about 35 miles north of BCC.

    BCC is only about 1 mile off of the main trail and CJ is about 4 miles off. 5 days out I would plan on hitting both twice.

    As for the time of year and the temps having 5 days should allow for riding early and late with a siesta in the shade mid day if needed.
    Singin' I love hike a bike!!!

  15. #15
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    Thanks for all the feedback! Got some great info from Raybum, as well! I think we'll be doing the out and back on BCT over 4 days, then taking a couple days to explore north. Definitely will be stashing some water ahead of time and pulling into Black Canyon City and Mayer or Cordes Jct. If it's hot, we'll plan on riding early, breaking, then again in the pm. We're definitely excited and looking forward to new trails, temps and scenery (I'll also be on my new bike, hopefully...Yahoo!).

  16. #16
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    Day 3 of my BCT trip, with the Bradshaws added as some extra, crazy steep miles



    Lee and I did this back in April 2010. It might help you get an idea of what to see and what to do


    Chad's Bikepacking Diary: Black Canyon Trail to the Bradshaws, day 3

  17. #17
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    I checked out your blogspot....awesome pics. Riding the BCT is on my list of things to do when it cools off.

    Quote Originally Posted by azepicriderandrunner View Post
    Day 3 of my BCT trip, with the Bradshaws added as some extra, crazy steep miles



    Lee and I did this back in April 2010. It might help you get an idea of what to see and what to do


    Chad's Bikepacking Diary: Black Canyon Trail to the Bradshaws, day 3

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