Black Canyon Trail (BCT) - IMBA Epic

 16 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°)

All Clear

90 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 16 votes

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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
Aug 13, 2016
Rod Moffett
Jun 10, 2016
Taco Beer
Apr 8, 2016
Will Baird
Mar 29, 2016
Chip White
Feb 22, 2016
Sebastien Painchaud

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Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 16 votes


  4.3 from 16 votes
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in Arizona


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All Clear 90 days ago
Dry: Loose sharp rock, what you'd expect
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Add this IMBA Epic to your bucket list on Western Spirit Cycling's October 19-23rd trip! Aug 21, 2015

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

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