Monday, February 8, 2016
BLACK CANYON TRAIL
Nothing much has been going on in the town of Cordes since about the 1950s. Founded in 1883, the hamlet was once a busy stage stop serving sheep herders, ranchers, mail wagons and weary voyagers traveling between Prescott and Phoenix. Completion of Interstate 17 in the 1970s put the nail in the coffin as the new freeway pulled traffic off the bumpy dirt roads and onto smooth pavement. Business shifted west leaving behind a few hardy families to carry on the Old Arizona lifestyle.
Today, the area is seen mostly by travelers braving the road trip to Crown King and hikers setting out to explore the historic trail that runs through it. The Black Canyon Trail Coalition beckons hikers to "Experience the Arizona Outback" by stepping out on all or part of the 78-mile Black Canyon Trail that stretches from north Phoenix to the town of Mayer.
LENGTH: 10 miles one-way for car shuttle described here.
Antelope Creek Segment: 5.0 miles one-way
Drinking Snake Segment: 4.8 miles one-way
ELEVATION: 2,656' - 4,192'
ACCUMULATED ELEVATION GAIN: 2,713'
Hidden Treasure Mine Trailhead (south):
From Interstate 17, take the Bloody Basin Road exit 259. Head left (west toward Crown King) on Bloody Basin (Crown King Road, Forest Road 259) and go 3.3 miles to the stop sign in the town of Cordes. Turn left onto Antelope Creek Road (County Road 179), go 2.7 miles and veer left at the Bumble Bee/Crown King fork. Continue 1.3 miles to a stop sign, turn left and make an immediate left into the parking area marked by a rusty water tank and corral. Trail begins by the corral. The dirt road is washboard rough in spots with hairpin turns and drop offs but is passable by sedan.
Spring Valley Trailhead (north):
From Interstate 17, take the Bloody Basin Road exit 259, go 3.3 miles west (Crown King Road, Forest Road 259) to the ghost town of Cordes, turn right (north) onto Antelope Creek Road (County Road 74) and continue 3 miles to the trailhead on the left at Forest Road 9218A. Roads are sedan friendly dirt/gravel.
INFO: Black Canyon Trail Coalition