Black Canyon Trail (BCT) - IMBA Epic

 19 votes
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Featured Ride

77.7 Miles 125.0 Kilometers



4,411' 1,345 m


-7,172' -2,186 m


4,365' 1,330 m


1,604' 489 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (11°)

Minor Issues

73 days agoUpdate

An exciting, long-distance singletrack experience through the foothills of the Bradshaw Mountains.

Leslie Kehmeier

Bureau of Land Management Treasures

One of the Bureau of Land Management's "Backyard to Backcountry" treasures, this trail was developed between The Black Canyon Trails Coalition, IMBA and the Hassayampa, AZ BLM office to provide world-class riding experiences.

Check out the top 20 BLM Backyard to Backcountry rides!


The Black Canyon Trail (BCT) is a long-distance singletrack that runs from the boundary of the Prescott National Forest, across Highway 69 south to the Carefree Highway.

The trail parallels Interstate 17 and offers a variety of experiences through the Sonoran Desert landscape, including saguaro forests and rugged canyons. Most of the route is flanked to the west by the Bradshaw Mountains.

Need to Know

Due to its length, the BCT is often broken into segments and can be accessed from multiple trailheads along the route. Depending on your vehicle situation, both out-and-back rides and point-to-point routes are possible.


The BCT is an overall descent from its beginning at Prescott National Forest to its terminus at the Carefree Highway. The majority of riders skip the section north of Hwy 69 and start with the Big Bug segment heading south.

The northern reaches vary from open and rolling desert to small canyons. The middle sections from Bumble Bee to the Table Mesa trailhead offer the most dramatic scenery and the most adventurous riding. From the Black Canyon trailhead south to the bottom of Little Pan, expect multiple crossings of the Agua Fria River.

The southern section of the BCT is mellow with a gradual descent. Many people stop at Emery Henderson trailhead as the section between there and the Carefree Highway is flat and uninteresting compared to the rest of the route.

History & Background

The BCT was designated as a National Recreation Trail in 2008. The Black Canyon Trail Coalition has been instrumental in the planning, design, construction and maintenance of the trail.


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4.3 from 19 votes

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Mar 20, 2017
kristen tonsager
Completed as a two night / three day bike packing trip. Water was mid-leg deep at the Agua Fria crossings. Incredible trail! Twisty, techy, slow miles 65.1mi
Mar 10, 2017
Nathan Anderson
Mar 9, 2017
Matt Plumb
Rode this last week. It was f___#$* awesome and you should do it. Stream crossings not bad . Hot in middle of day. Have fun. 70mi
Feb 10, 2017
Douglas Herlocker
I rode the entire S to N route this last weekend (- the 11 mi. N of Mayer). In 1 day no less! 9:30 ride time. Extreme ride. If U want info contact me. 76mi — 9h 30m
Jan 16, 2017
John Paterson
Black Canyon trail was a blast and my group took 2.5 days to ride it. Lots of rain which made the stream crossing a little difficult. 74mi
Nov 25, 2016
Colin Pollock
Super fun and flowy section with bits of cool exposure. 23.6mi
Nov 6, 2016
Mark Wallace
Great ride tough to find trail around creeks near black canyon city. Also missed a few turns at junctions. Better signs at junctions
Sep 23, 2016
Rob Laird

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Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 19 votes


  4.3 from 19 votes
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in Arizona


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Minor Issues 73 days ago
Antelope Hill to Rock Springs- River is still high, plan on getting wet when crossing. Its worth getting wet.
Update ConditionsHistory

Getting forecast...

Here's a video from February 2016. We took 3 days to ride from 69 down to Anthem. Awesome trip! May 14, 2016

Did the Black Canyon connector and then rode in the suggested direction till the fireroad and back (got a tire puncture and decided it was a sign to turn around). This isn't the most fun trail in AZ but would be great for intermediate riders or below. Feels very cross country to me but far from smooth because of the loose sharp rock everywhere. Oct 21, 2016

Rode this last week A) It was f___#$* awesome and you should do it. Fast, not much tech stuff, good mix of ups and downs. B) Hot in the middle of the day. Stream crossings were no big deal at all (nice swimming actually). C) Two days is plenty if you don't mess around too much. One day if you really hate yourself and don't want to enjoy all the great camp sites, views and cowboy bars. Mar 18, 2017

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