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Black Canyon Trail (BCT) - IMBA EPIC

 24 votes


77.7 Miles 125.0 Kilometers




4,411' 1,345 m


-7,172' -2,186 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (11°)

4,365' 1,330 m


1,604' 489 m



All Clear 3 days ago
Dry History

Getting forecast...

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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Feb 19, 2018
greg berry
Jan 28, 2018
Sati McCalla
Nov 25, 2017
Greg S
Nov 25, 2017
Hayes Campbell
Really long. If tried again, bikepack over 2 days and skip first 10 miles. Too underdeveloped.
Nov 3, 2017
Dante Monteverde
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

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Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 24 votes


in Mayer


  4.4 from 24 votes
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in Mayer


in Arizona


2,169 Views Last Month
47,292 Since Nov 18, 2014
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

Michael Turner
Boulder, CO
Michael Turner   Boulder, CO
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
Really fun trail, but rider be warned... everything is HARD and SHARP in the desert. We rode from Mayer to Table Mesa in a few days. Highly recommend sleeves, high-socks, and plenty of spare tubes. November was a great call for our group, the temperature was perfect. Very light traffic... we only ran into a few other riders. Super fun! Nov 6, 2017

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