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Friday, March 27, 2009

BLACK CANYON TRAIL

BLACK CANYON TRAIL Near New River This relatively new path was officially opened in 1992 and runs north-and-south for 9.46 miles to connect trailheads at New River Road and Table Mesa Road west of I-17, with plans in the works to extend the trail for 62 miles! Although just a few miles north of civilization and the outlet malls, Black Canyon Trail retains much of its “old west’ appeal. Used for years to drive livestock and as a stagecoach route, the path parallels the old wagon road that ran between Phoenix and Prescott. The rolling terrain of this trail passes by remnants of the area’s colorful history (including an old bath tub) and offers several high desert ridge vista viewpoints. Plentiful trail signs mark the way along the first couple of miles, but after that, the signs disappear and many primitive roads and unofficial trails crisscross the area. It is a good idea to carry a GPS or trail-marker tape to help in managing your route. Much of the hiking is in highly eroded, sandy washes, lined with grasses and wildflowers. And, oh, just one more thing; all you morons out there who think it is fun to shoot up trail signs: “gee, thanks”, I sleep soundly knowing that all those, silk screened terrorist horses are good and dead. LENGTH: Optional: total one-way distance is nearly 10 miles RATING: Moderate ELEVATION GAIN: 1200 feet (lots of ups and downs) GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, take I-17 north to exit 232 (New River Road). Turn left and follow New River Road for about 3 miles and look for the Emery Henderson Trailhead turn off on the right. The roads are paved all the way to the trailhead where there are nice restrooms, hitching posts, covered picnic areas and plenty of parking and a site host most of the time.

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