Arizona Black Canyon Trail - Photos!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Arizona Black Canyon Trail - Photos!

    The Black Canyon Trail is an approximately 78 mile long world-class multi-user trail system under development in the Bradshaw Mountain foothills of central Arizona. Saturday March 19 I did an out and back ride of about 27 miles going south from the Black Canyon City trailhead. This is a spectacularly beautiful and rugged singletrack ride which meanders through some really classic desert mountain wilderness. You really feel quite isolated on this trail and on more than one occasion I questioned my sanity riding it solo. The loose, rocky surface, often quite narrow trails with steep drop-offs, coupled with sharp objects nearly everywhere, make this a lot tougher ride than the photos would indicate. You rarely get a break on this trail, it requires you to really pay attention, and always keep working. I've had six months of my most consistent riding ever and I feel perhaps in my best biking shape ever. I'm used to a lot of climbing, but the loose, rocky surface required a lot of extra effort, and the knees really hurt right from the start. But I'm pretty stubborn and I didn't drive all that way for nothing. So I took a few extra pain relievers and pushed on. After about an hour I seemed to adjust a bit and by 10 miles I was feeling pretty good. At 13 miles I had to force myself to turn around and head home. I took the west side of Little Pan Loop going out and the east side of it coming back.

    I'm usually not big on stopping much, but I could not get enough of the beautiful and strange scenery. I took over 100 photos. About 90 minutes into the ride I stopped to take a photo and it felt like something bit me in the ankle. Fortunately I decided to wear full socks, and they took most of the hit from a cactus attack. About a dozen needles made it into my skin and I used my Leatherman pliers to pull them out. But 15 minutes later my ankle was still burning. I found a little nub of a needle sticking out, and when I pulled it out I realized it had been in nearly an inch deep. It then occurred to me that falling off the trail while riding solo here could have some serious consequences! I only had one minor fall and didn't land on any sharp objects. I met two other couples on the trail and I asked one to take a photo of me. The trail is quite well marked but a rider told me to stick to a jeep road near the end of the Little Pan Loop. I missed the singletrack and did about an extra mile before backtracking to it.

    This was one of my most memorable rides ever and I feel quite a sense of accomplishment for doing it solo. However, the knees hurt so badly I had to cancel the rest of my planned trip. I drove through Sedona on the way home and as gray skies gave way to blue I could not resist trying a short ride there. That was a really bad idea! Below are a few photos of BCT, about 100 more are on my SmugMug site.







































    Little Pan Loop intersection





















    Last edited by Wherewolf; 03-21-2011 at 07:58 PM.

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    World-Class pics.

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    Great pics WW! I just found out over the weekend that there's a chance I'm relocating to northeast Phoenix next year from the Bay Area. Pics like these help keep me positive, knowing that solid riding awaits within an hour from my (potential future) backdoor.

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    Very nice! BCT is a special trail, glad you enjoyed it.

    We saw the couple in your photo yesterday, way north of the location in your photo. They did a little out and back of the full trail!
    b

  5. #5
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Awesome pics. What a different world than where I live. Looks like running off the trail could be hazardous to your health - and your tires.

  6. #6
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    really nice pictures, what camera were you using?
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  7. #7
    Ahhh the pain....
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    Three of us did the full North to South on Sunday....Hwy 69 by Mayer down to Emery Hendersen. Felt pretty epic...all 62 miles. But doing and out and back is uber epic...

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    Nice road trip. AZ is a great place to ride.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianc
    Very nice! BCT is a special trail, glad you enjoyed it.

    We saw the couple in your photo yesterday, way north of the location in your photo. They did a little out and back of the full trail!
    Freeskier and I saw them yesterday too, just south of Hidden Treasure Mine. The were still headed north at that point. Its nice to see that others have motivated on ideas that have quietly festered in the back of my mind - a bikepack trip along the whole length like that couple did, and Ray's N-S shuttle. Great rides. We tasted some of the new stuff from HTM to Crown King road yesterday and it was sweet. I mean really sweet.





    As we rode up to 4000ft, we lost all the saguaro. Pretty cool seeing the environment change as you pedal for hours and hours....


    It was a big 50 mile out-n-back from Rock Springs. GREAT day for a ride.
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  10. #10
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    Awesome guys. I love AZ
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    Looked the part

    Quote Originally Posted by brianc
    We saw the couple in your photo yesterday, way north of the location in your photo. They did a little out and back of the full trail!
    They looked like they had ridden from Canada and were on their way to Mexico, both in their setup and riding abilities.
    Last edited by Wherewolf; 03-22-2011 at 09:04 AM.

  12. #12
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    Looks like an awesome ride, great pics as always! Thanks for sharing.

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    Great pic's ! nice souvenir cholla, they really are the most amazing little things......

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    Raybum-

    How long did it take and what was the elevation gain?

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    Stats

    Quote Originally Posted by ARIZycle
    How long did it take and what was the elevation gain?
    Click "view details" in the lower right below:


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    those little cholla's love the jump onto you!! my dog ran through and entire cati one day!! we had to knock her out to pull all the needles!!
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf
    The trail is quite well marked but a rider told me to stick to a jeep road near the end of the Little Pan Loop. I missed the singletrack and did about an extra mile before backtracking to it.
    Steve, Iím the guy that told you to follow the jeep road. Sorry, I didnít mean to mislead you. I just didnít want you to do what I did my first time out. My first time out there I rode up and down that jeep road (and side road) a few times before finally following it long enough to get to the trail connection.

    Great pictures by the way and Iím glad that you enjoyed the trail. I hope to see you out there again.

  18. #18
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    The Sonoran Desert is a beautiful place and your photos certainly do it justice.

    I've never felt a huge desire to do the BCT. Usually when I get to AZ I've got the big bike and I'm looking for a different type of riding.... but your photos made me want to bring the XC bike a ride that trail.
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    Thx 4 pix

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney22
    Great pics WW! I just found out over the weekend that there's a chance I'm relocating to northeast Phoenix next year from the Bay Area. Pics like these help keep me positive, knowing that solid riding awaits within an hour from my (potential future) backdoor.
    If you are going to be in the Northeast you will have a lot of GREAT riding closer than the BCT.

  21. #21
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    Very nice! I ride there a couple times a year following the new parts of the trail as they build it. Everyone I have taken there are impressed by the trail work done. I have not rode the stuff near Mayer yet and the other side of Highway 69. I am very glad I have family in Prescitt as I love Northern AZ riding.

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    Amazing AZ shots buddy, I bet those spiky things keep you in check

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    No problem

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbowilly
    Steve, Iím the guy that told you to follow the jeep road. Sorry, I didnít mean to mislead you. I just didnít want you to do what I did my first time out.
    No problem, that just gave me a few bonus miles
    I did see a trail sign, but I thought it would take me back on the Little Pan Loop. It was my fault because I did not have my GPS track zoomed in enough. If I am zoomed way out and close to, but not on the right route, I don't find out until I get too far off. Thanks for taking the photos of me! Great trail and beautiful scenery. But I doubt I'll ever be back. The knees are still killing me. The camera is a Canon G9 for whomever asked.

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    Riding season?

    The pics look great!!! What is the season for this trail? I bet it get extremely hot in a month or two.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ARIZycle
    Raybum-

    How long did it take and what was the elevation gain?

    9 hours, 6000 ft...super fun.

  26. #26
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    Nice pics and thanks for the stoke!
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    Thanks for posting up. I really need to get back to the SW again some day.
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

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    Where did you start dood? Table Mesa Road? I am gonna do this trail on Friday or Saturday! I live in PHX and have done everything except this! Great shots! Any river crossings I should be aware of?

    Jabert

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    Black Canyon City

    Quote Originally Posted by jabert
    Where did you start dood? Any river crossings I should be aware of?
    "I did an out and back ride of about 27 miles going south from the Black Canyon City trailhead." Click on View details on the Garmin Connect stats and you can see the trail head in Google Earth. There were a few river crossings. But the water was very low.

  30. #30
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    This is a spectacularly beautiful and rugged singletrack ride which meanders through some really classic desert mountain wilderness. You really feel quite isolated on this trail and on more than one occasion I questioned my sanity riding it solo. The loose, rocky surface, often quite narrow trails with steep drop-offs, coupled with sharp objects nearly everywhere, make this a lot tougher ride than the photos would indicate.
    I think you've just summarized AZ 'xc' riding to a tee, lol.

    Nice pics and welcome to the Cholla world. Those things are a freak of nature the way the plunge effortlessly into your body but resist all efforts of removal.

    I live in Phoenix and have not bothered to venture out to BC yet. Always just seemed like more "AZ XC" to me, but your pics and write-up have inspired me to think again. Nice job

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    Canon G9

    Quote Originally Posted by randyharris
    really nice pictures, what camera were you using?
    Canon G9.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf
    "I did an out and back ride of about 27 miles going south from the Black Canyon City trailhead." Click on View details on the Garmin Connect stats and you can see the trail head in Google Earth. There were a few river crossings. But the water was very low.

    Did that same ride Sunday 3/20 as part of the AZSF 2011. Great ride with some great views. Cost me 6 stitches but well worth it for a great day of riding. Awesome pics. I haven't gone through all mine but hopefully some will be as nice.
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    Tooo pointy. No way to wreck without eating cactus(i)!!! Nice looking system and pics though.
    I am not worn out, I am just taking my bike for a walk!

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    Nice trail on a road trip. Out and back from BCC TH to start of LPL. It got hot!

    Very XC character, short stretches with good flow, good climbing and descending grades, great use of the terrain [kudos to builder(s)].

    There is a printed map of the Table Mesa TH to BCC TH section outside the door of the Chamber of Commerce/Visitors Center in BCC. It's the same map easily found on the web. But none of the sources I had showed the ?spur? going right not too far in (before dropping down to the river). It is also labeled "Black Canyon Trail". A hiker lady I met said it was a steep and rocky deadend into the river upstream of where the main trail crosses. She said you could hike down the river from there to the crossing if you wanted. It would be nice to have some more information on this. It had also confused a rider I met coming back who was going by Cosmic Ray's new edition. (Good to learn there's a new edition!)

    So far--more for me tomorrow--this is a delightful trail. With the caveat that there are new sections, I couldn't call it a "destination trail" (except maybe in a great wildflower year or maybe the whole thing with a shuttle) but I won't be passing it by when I'm in the area!

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by redhawk
    But none of the sources I had showed the ?spur? going right not too far in (before dropping down to the river).
    The right turn about one mile in from the BCC (Rock Springs) trailhead takes you north. This north section goes from BCC up to about highway 69. About another 30 miles or so north.

  36. #36
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    Sweet riding.

  37. #37
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    Love the scenery, great landscape & photo's.
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  38. #38
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    Awesome pics. Looks like a great place to ride.

  39. #39
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    Seriously considering heading over to AZ to ride this trail system over the Thanksgiving weekend. Anyone have any thoughts on where one might camp about mid-way so as to be able to ride a lot of this from one central location? Or, perhaps we move to a new camp location after a day or two. We would be truck camping and be fully self sufficient - no facilities of any kind required.
    Ride hard. Ride often.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wzl View Post
    Seriously considering heading over to AZ to ride this trail system over the Thanksgiving weekend. Anyone have any thoughts on where one might camp about mid-way so as to be able to ride a lot of this from one central location? Or, perhaps we move to a new camp location after a day or two. We would be truck camping and be fully self sufficient - no facilities of any kind required.
    Ask this in the AZ section and you'll get lots of feedback.
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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wzl View Post
    Seriously considering heading over to AZ to ride this trail system over the Thanksgiving weekend. Anyone have any thoughts on where one might camp about mid-way so as to be able to ride a lot of this from one central location? Or, perhaps we move to a new camp location after a day or two. We would be truck camping and be fully self sufficient - no facilities of any kind required.
    Wzl,
    Although I've never camped out there, I see lots of people doing it. Probably the best "mid-way" point is to exit I-17 at Bumblebee Road, go down the paved road (to the west). When it turns to dirt, you have 2 options-left or right. If you go left, you'll be on Maggie Mine Rd which after a mile or two will head down a big hill - That's about as far that direction as I'd camp. If you go right, you'll be on Crown King Rd which the trail crosses several times. It's a pretty busy road and you'll want to find a jeep road to get you out of the noise and dust.
    Hope that helps...

  42. #42
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    trail looks awesome, hope to get out there this weekend!

  43. #43
    Wzl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    Wzl,
    Although I've never camped out there, I see lots of people doing it. Probably the best "mid-way" point is to exit I-17 at Bumblebee Road, go down the paved road (to the west). When it turns to dirt, you have 2 options-left or right. If you go left, you'll be on Maggie Mine Rd which after a mile or two will head down a big hill - That's about as far that direction as I'd camp. If you go right, you'll be on Crown King Rd which the trail crosses several times. It's a pretty busy road and you'll want to find a jeep road to get you out of the noise and dust.
    Hope that helps...
    Good enough info for - I just need to find a quiet spot of flat dirt and we'll be good. Thanks.
    Ride hard. Ride often.

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    Gotta love our Az trails.

  45. #45
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    Wonderful scenery to go with the trails. Thanks for sharing.
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