The Black Canyon National Recreation Trail, or BCT, is an 80 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.
This evening I will be travelling to the north end of the BCT where I will be ready for a morning start to attempt to set the FKT for the Black Canyon Trail, starting Friday March 3. This will be self-supported hiker style as I have cached some water along the trail. This will not be a fast time by any means as I plan to take two and a half days or so. As mentioned above, there are two loops along the BCT, the Little Pan Loop and the Boy Scout Loop. I will travel the west side of the Little Pan Loop and the East side of Boy Scout Loop. I picked those sides because they are all trail and, I think, nicer, where as the other sides travel some dirt road.
My big concern now is how heavy the Agua Fria River will be flowing after the wet winter and heavy rains this past Monday and Tuesday, complete with snow in the higher elevations of the Bradshaw Mountains. The trail crosses the Agua Fria four times. The first crossing shouldn't be a problem as it is above where Black Canyon Creek feeds the Agua Fria, but the lower three may be. Hopefully the water level will drop to a manageable level by the time I reach those crossings.
I bailed on the attempt due to high water in both Black Canyon Creek and the Agua Fria. After a week, the water levels should have receded enough so I'm giving this another shot. Heading up to the start this evening and starting the BCT tomorrow morning. You will be able to follow along with the same link I gave above.
Tomorrow I will be starting a yo-yo of the BCT. I'll be starting from my home after lunch and will reach the southern end of the BCT about 8 miles later. I plan to take 4 days to reach the northern end and three to return. Depending on how I feel, I may attempt the FKT again. Going north, I will travel the west side of the Boy Scout Loop and the east side of the Little Pan Loop.