Route: Black Canyon Trail (AZ)

Arizona, US
72.4 mi

Russell Corfman posted the route:

The Black Canyon National Recreation Trail, or BCT, is a ~75 mile trail running North to South from the Prescott National Forest Boundary to the Carefree Highway. The trail is a multi-use pathway for hikers, cyclists, and equestrians. The trail follows ancient Indian pathways, Sheep herding migration paths, and stage coach routes. The trail was designated as a National Recreation Trail in 2008. There are two loops along the trail, so travelling end to end is about 75 miles.

As far as I can tell, the northern end of the trail is at the Prescott National Forest Boundary at the section corner above Russian Well and past Tri-Metal mine. The coordinates on the road near the boundary marker are N34° 27.505' W112° 08.701'. There are BCT trail signs north of there, but I was told that there is no multi-agency agreement that extends the trail into PNF. I have seen BCT trail signs in other areas away from the trail too, so it's a mystery.

There are no trail markings for the last mile and a quarter or so on the southern end of the trail. I used a trail map on the BCT Coalition web site and followed it as best I could, finding old flagging on brush and what appeared to be trail. I wasn't able to discern where the trail actually ends so I am extending it to the gate at N33° 47.886' W112° 11.024'.

My hope, for adding the BCT here, is to give it some more recognition.

More information on the BCT:


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Dec 31 2019 I’ll be going north to south on the BCT self supported to try and best Russell’s time. I’ll have a SPOT link on my Instagram @derricklytle and will also track via my Coros watch to post to Strava later. I’ll use the northern GPS and southern coordinates posted above as official start and stop points. Excited to see this entire trail! 

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And completed the BCT in 34:19:22 solo self supported. 

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February 26, 2020 I'll be hiking southbound unsupported with the intention of spending one night on the trail and finishing late on the night of 2/27 or early 2/28. I'm hoping that the recent rain will provide adequate water, but will be carrying around 5.5L of bottled water just in case. This will be my first time on the BCT, so I'm treating this as a scouting hike for future goals. My plan is to get dropped at/near the Northern coordinate around 9AM (I will be leaving a car near the end of the trail).

I'll be tracking with my inReach mini at

If I remember and have service I will be posting photos to my Instagram @poetac

I will post my data to Strava and give an update here later this week.

I learned a ton on my attempt, but due to a foot injury decided to cut it short at Table Mesa Trailhead.

I found the trail to be a beautiful sampling of desert terrain, and will certainly return in the future. If anyone wants more information feel free to DM me on Instagram. I will be posting my data to Strava sometime soon.

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I've had my eye on this trail for a bit and am planning to hike end to end starting today N to S. Starting at Big Bug TH and will hike Nobo to the forest boundary, then turn around and head Sobo until the Southern Terminus at Carefree Hwy. I've placed 7 water caches along the way so it's been a fun project so far and I'm excited to see and feel the trail in it's entirety. Below is a link to my tracking which I will start at the Northern Terminus in a few hours. I'm fast packing rather than trail running and this is a self supported attempt to put down a women's time. We'll see what happens!

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Hey FKT peeps! I just realized I never posted a link to my Trip Report from this adventure, so here it is:

There are three posts all together, at the bottom of each post click the "next arrow" to read more.

Thank you to Russell Corfman for reaching out to me on my Wordpress comments, great to connect with the one who put this route up!  

Happy Trails, Mary Poppins