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Back in Black

Report and photos from IMBA trail specialist Joey Klein

Last week I revisited an old friend, Arizona's Black Canyon Trail. It had been 6 years since I did the initial design and concept plan for the makeover of this historic sheepherder route. Kudos to all of our Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crews who have made this an annual stop, also a massive thanks to the Black Canyon Trail Coalition for keeping the vision alive! This iconic corridor now boasts over 80 miles of new singletrack, linking highway 74 of Phoenix to the north with highway 69 near Prescott, Arizona. The Bureau of Land Management acquired this lonely strip of desert back in the 1960's to preserve the route and now there is a coalition of motorized and non-motorized users maintaining the legacy.

Similar to stretches of the Kokopelli Trail (from Fruita, CO to Moab, UT) motorized users take care of the double-track segments and non-motorized users are teaming up to create single track that parallels the main route. Mountain bikers will be amazed at the distance of fresh trail and can expect many different loop options to come.

A recently planned "Golden Spike" event will be postponed until next year, when they will be closer to completion of the entire link. Orgainizers hope to combine the event with the annual sheep drive. The scheduled trail workday was also postponed due to heavy rains, I was lucky enough to get a tour of the latest trail head at Black Canyon City and hike/bike segments of the trail with BCTC leaders. I was absolutely blown away by their tenacity, positive outlook, quality trail construction and the wonderful alignment of trail.

Again, many thanks to the dedicated folks who have worked so hard on this trail:

  • Sonia Overholzer, former Arizona IMBA rep and BCTC mover/shaker
  • Babs Sanders, BCTC vice president
  • Bob Cothern, BCTC secretary
  • Troy Dymock, NFS Recreations Solutions, BCT trail designer
  • Linda Slay, BCTC president
  • Rich Hanson, BLM BCT planner
  • BCTC leaders, Dale WIggens, Shareen Goodroad and Randy Goodfriend

Read more about the Black Canyon Trail. Download a map of the trail (link at the bottom of this page)

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