Black Canyon National Recreation Trail Boondoocking


Black Canyon National Recreation Trail

black canyon national park
Black Canyon National Park

The Black Canyon National Recreation Trail is just north of Phoenix along the I-17 corridor. The trail is about 80 miles long and offers great recreation opportunities for hikers, bikers, & equestrians. Frankly most people fall into a middle of the road, intermediate experience and so it’s challenging but not overly challenging and so a large part of the mountain bike community can enjoy it. Avid mountain bikers or semi-serious mountain bikers have their wish list and Black Canyon has made it on that list. They want that experience, they want to come and ride in the Saguaro Forests in the Sonoran Desert and that’s not an easy thing to do. To actually get on the greatest hits list of mountain bikers and the Black Canyon Trail is definitely that.


black canyon hiking
Black Canyon Hiking

There are many hiking opportunities out here on the Black Canyon Trail; there are multiple trailheads with easy access. It’s definitely something that everyone can get out there and enjoy. As far as running goes, the trails really, really, fun. There’s a lot of like turns and twists and you can really get a rhythm going. There are sections of this trail that are wonderfully horse friendly and sometimes areas that are a little more risky for the more novice rider, but the majority of the Black Canyon Trail is very accepting to horses.

Black Canyon Horse Trails

Every time I come out on this trail, I get rebooted, I feel much more relaxed. Even though you’re close to civilization, you can lose yourself out there. You really kind of feel alone and just out there with your thoughts and that’s something I think is valuable to kind of get away from the hustle and bustle of life and the Black Canyon Trail offers that. The trails are a really special place, to me it means the opportunity for freedom, recreation and happiness, to get outdoors and really experience the desert and how beautiful it is. The BLM welcomes and invites locals and visitors to Phoenix to come out and the Black Canyon National Recreation Trail.


Here are some more facts


Black Canyon National Recreation Trail is a good quality long-distance non-motorized single track recreation experience for hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers, benefiting local residents along with national appeal. Segments of the trail range from rural to backcountry settings.

This non-motorized, trail is designed for use by equestrians, hikers, and mountain bikers. It stretches about 82 miles long, stretching from the Carefree Highway (AZ Highway 74), northward along the base of the Bradshaw Mountains, beyond highway 69 near the town of Spring Valley and Mayer to the Prescott National Forest. The Copper Mountain Loop, that is still under construction, will have almost 8 more miles to the trail and will link to Mayer.

Eventually, more trailheads will be added to the system. The Big Bug Trailhead that runs along Highway 69 will be the next trailhead to open. Located just west of the Arizona Fish and Game complex on Highway 74 the Bob Bentley Trailhead is also planned.

The trail users are rewarded with breathtaking scenic vistas and glimpses of the varied historical activities that have echoed through these hills.

This historical trail is of regional and national significance. It follows a route used since Prehistoric Native American travelers and traders. The Department of the Interior officially established the route for livestock in 1919. Woolgrowers from the Phoenix valley area used it to herd sheep to and from their summer ranges in the Bradshaw Mountains and the Black Hills (BLM, 1993). Parts of this trail are still being used to herd sheep to its summer range.

There are no fees to use the trail. Dispersed camping is allowed on public land.

Additional Details

Width: 32 inches.

Primary Surface: Soil

Secondary Surface: Sand

Average Grade: 0%

Elevation Low Point: 1,500

Elevation High Point: 4,500

Year Designated: 2008