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Boy Scout Loop from Emery Henderson TH - BCT, AZ

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Guide 23 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NW
3.3 of 5 by 11
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 10.43 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,850 feet
Elevation Gain 432 feet
Accumulated Gain 758 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 14.22
Interest Historic
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
16  2018-12-22
BCT - Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa
9  2018-12-22
BCT - Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa
29  2017-12-30
Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa TH - BCT
33  2017-11-12
BCT Yo-Yo No Go
16  2017-02-04
Emery Henderson Via New River Rd
2  2016-10-01
Deja Vu
12  2016-02-28 laissezfaire
23  2016-01-02
Black Canyon Trail to Home - Part 3
Page 1,  2
Author Dschur
author avatar Guides 13
Routes 0
Photos 532
Trips 51 map ( 299 miles )
Age 58 Female Gender
Location Payson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Mar → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:33pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
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Desert Jambalaya
by Dschur

The Black Canyon Trail is a trail in construction. It is a multi use trail for bikes, horses and hikers. It will be about 62 miles long stretching from Carefree Hwy 74 to near Prescott. It follows along the bottom of the Bradshaw mountains. There are 4 trailheads now that connect 27.5 miles of trails. The trailheads are Emery Henderson Trailhead, Table Mesa Trailhead, Little Pan trailhead, and Black Canyon City Trailhead. There is access at the Carefree Hwy but is a difficult place to get to and not very good parking. The Emery Henderson Trailhead is the only trailhead at this time that is finished and has facilities. There is restrooms, paved parking, ramadas with picnic tables, grills and horse rails. This is day use only park but with a permit from BLM camping can be done. The Black Canyon Trail, when finished, will include ten trailheads conveniently spaced to allow easy access.

The history of the trail is that it started as prehistoric Native American trail and has been used since the 1600's for people and animals. In 1919 the trail was established by the Department of the Interior for livestock from the valley to the mountains. The Espil family took the last sheep on the southern end of the trail in 1974. North of highway 69 it still is used. It was dedicated in 1969. In the Black Canyon Trail corridor has about 4000 acres. And 13.3 miles in Maricopa county segment was completed in 1992.

There are a few segments that are completed. There is the Emery Henderson Section, Boy Scout Loop, Doe Springs section, Little Pan Loop, and the new completed Skyline segment brings you all the way to the Black Canyon City area.

The part I will describe now is the Boy Scout Loop via the Emery Henderson Trailhead. It starts out on the north end of the parking lot. There is a sign in box at the beginning of the trail. It is very well marked with both the Black Canyon Trail signs as well as signs that inform that it is a No Vehicle trail. It winds thru many types of desert forests. The trail crosses many roads along the way but it is easy to find as you go along because of the trail markers. There is Cholla cactus forests, staghorn cactus forests, Creosote bushes, Barrel cactus forests, saguaro forests, and different bushes all along the way. Care should be taken in going off the trail in some areas due to the density of the Chollas. The first 4 miles or so are very flat and is easy for anyone.

The trail goes across a pipeline road and there are a few areas that shooters go for "target practice" and has some trashy areas where shot up things are. There is one little hill you climb the side of to get a really nice view of the desert to the west. You cross a few creeks that don't seem to run except after the heaviest of rains. The trail winds around and then ends up on a road that you follow for awhile. Just keep to the road until you see the trail markers again. You then follow the trail up to a junction that is the Boy Scout loop. It is about 4 miles to the loop from the trailhead. There is a sign at the junction (it was laying against the trees at this time) You can take the loop either to the east or the west. I think the best is to the east first. The trail is being realigned as of this writing of the description and will be even better on the contours when they are finished but most of the east side is redone. You will know when you get to the top of the loop and the side of a hill when you find the other Boy Scout loop trail sign. Then you can go on back to the trail head or on down the trail farther. The next segment is the Doe Springs Section. If you come on back down the trail to the Emery Henderson Trailhead follow the trail down which changes to a road then when you come to a junction the only thing to know that you have the right trail is a little triangle sign on the east. It is hard to see and the wording is faded. Follow this trail until you are back at the junction. There are also a few white covered hills with quartz all around as well as prospect pits where they were checking out for minerals. This makes a nice loop for a day hike. The Loop itself is a little bit steeper and more rugged but makes a little bit of a challenge on an easy hike. With the loop included it is about 11.5 miles. There was a notice about needing to check with BLM if overnight on the trail.

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2008-02-28 Dschur
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Boy Scout Loop from Emery Henderson TH - BCT
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa TH - BCT
    I won't lie... this day hike was a dog. This 17.8 mile double section ended up being my biggest single-day hike mileage to date. I was joined today by Patrick Fuchs, and we did our usual car shuttle to put a vehicle at the Table Mesa trailhead and then made our drive back to start on the Carefree Highway at the hard-to-spot Bob Bentley trailhead. Roadside parking at Bob Bentley was sparse, but we were able to park right at the locked gate alongside the road. Yes, I said locked gate. With no signage posted here, many start at the Game & Fish building about 1/4 mile to the east, but we're nostalgic so we slipped under the barbed wire and made it official.

    Today we would do 2 sections of this trail - Bob Bentley trailhead to Emery Henderson trailhead, and from there to Table Mesa trailhead.

    In the past few weeks, I've only been hiking some occasional short trails around my home, so this was a good test to see how I can still do on the longer miles. Anyways, this section of the Black Canyon Trail has the reputation of being the least impressive part of the whole thing - but the views actually didn't disappoint especially as we got further north. I'll admit that the first few miles before Emery Henderson trailhead (about mile 7) were flat and pretty basic, but necessary.

    We set off from Bob Bentley trailhead and quickly move north through the "boring" section. Flat desert somewhat next to a dirt road that had little to look at except the views of the mountains and mesas in the distance. We saw some oddities, like a dying saguaro cactus that was oozing some sort of black sludge from a wound. We crossed an intersection of the Maricopa Trail, and started seeing more signage for the Black Canyon Trail. I must say that the BCT is VERY well signed along the way, including at every junction we came across. The trial surface was in great shape as well.

    Once we came across the Emery Henderson trailhead, it was easy to see why many start their BCT hike here as well. Skip the boring part and get right down to business. I must mention that the trailhead is very well-developed with a large parking lot, quality pit toilets, and even shaded canopies for parking a couple of RVs. We took a quick water and snack break here before pushing on. For some reason I didn't take a picture here. Not long after EH, we came to the junction for the Boyscout Loop, which is a fork in the trail that re-merges after 1.2 miles regardless if you take the east or west arm. We went left as we had read that the trail followed along a higher ridge instead of down in a network of washes. The views on the east section were well worth it.

    The trek from Emery Henderson to Table Mesa was a quality section of sonoran desert wilderness. Quality trail surface, rolling drainages, forests of saguar cacti, Doe Spring (which had water and lots of trees around it just off trail), and terrific views of the Bradshaws to our west. I would say that the last 3-4 miles was probably the best as the trail wound through at least a dozen washes and arroyos, up and over small ridges, past a large mine, and dropped us off right at the Table Mesa trailhead where our shuttle car awaited us. With lots of room for at least a dozen vehicles, the Table Mesa trailhead is a great staging point for section hiking this part of the Black Canyon Trail.

    Just over 36,000 steps since we started, it was time to head home.
    Boy Scout Loop from Emery Henderson TH - BCT
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Well I don't see my self doing this hike again :gun: . This was the second most boring hike I have ever done. :tt: It might be a better hike in the spring. but not this time of the year.
    Boy Scout Loop from Emery Henderson TH - BCT
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Nice afternoon to be on the BCT. Had never done the complete Boy Scout Loop. Lots of horses and cowgirls on the trail today. A few mountain biker, too. Never saw another hiker. Part of the trail are pretty boring, others fairly nice. The BCT gets a lot more interesting further up north. Maybe this is the year to do the whole thing.

    Big lesson (re)learned today was to drink your water bottle down a bit before adding the ZipFizz. I like the Zip. But it needs room to Fizz, or it will Fizz all over you.
    Boy Scout Loop from Emery Henderson TH - BCT
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Fun little hike. The mile stretch of road before the loop is little boring and unneccessary in my opinion as there is a clear alternate route. I am sure there must be a reason so we did keep to the trail. Our legs aren't quite seasoned yet so we almost decided to skip the loop and head back but very glad we didn't. The loop is very beautiful with several chances for inspiring views.
    I think we'll prolly be back, the main objective was to get an idea of what the terrain might be for the nearby Plane Crash hike. I am hoping Wendi will let me do that one.
    Didn't mind the gun fire but I know that puts Wendi on edge. No animal sightings but a variety of tracks. Saw two...three seperate individuals on bikes, and a group in a 4x4. Found an unshot day-glow clay. All but that one mile stretch of the hike is classic desert hiking.
    Boy Scout Loop from Emery Henderson TH - BCT
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    BCT #2, Boy Scout Loop via Emery Henderson TH

    Directions: North I-17, exit 232. West New River Rd. ~3.4 miles to TH. Gate is left open, so you can get in before sunrise.

    Report: Time out 5:14 a.m. I actually started at 5:05, but could not find the trail gate, and had to remove an early cholla ball. So, got started in earnest a few minutes later. The vegetation is more mixed north of the road than south of it. Just after starting, crossed El Paso Gas Pipeline Rd., which is more like a slightly rocky runway. (It is that wide.) No pipeline in evidence, so it must be buried. BCT #2 starts out single track, and continues that way for just under three miles, as it crosses, and recrosses, a wash. About 1.6 miles in, the trail crosses a small, informal, firing range. Just after that, the trail climbs a bit as it curls east around a small hill. On the north edge of the hill, the trail turns north, crossing yet another wash, then intersecting with several jeep trails at the 2.85 mile mark.

    I took the right/northeast jeep trail, which parallels a long ridge, some distance east. The trail turned east, and at the base of the long ridge, at the 3.7 mile mark, split. The right split goes up the ridge and is an extension of Gasline Rd. (Which is not the same as the earlier El Paso Gas Pipleline Rd.) At the top of the ridge is very dense patch of broken glass. Probably hundreds of bottles worth. If you want to start BCT #3 from the south end, this would be your start point. Back at the bottom of the ridge, take the left split north. At the 4.0 mile mark the trail again splits. Left does the Boy Scout Loop clockwise; right does it counterclockwise. (There's a sign there with a map.) I went right.

    The trail changes back to single track, crosses a wash in a one-sided canyon, then begins climbing the east side of Hill 2575. (There is no elevation indicated on the topo, but contour lines are 50 feet, and as the Army taught me, you take half about the final contour to give a close estimate of elevation.) As you draw west of Hill 2325 you will cross a barbwire fence, with a closed gate. The fence continues well east and west. Up until I crossed a saddle at about the 4.9 mile mark, the whole way to this point, I could still hear freeway traffic, even though I-17 is 3+ miles away. At about 5.5 miles the trail splits again. Right is north up BCT #3, left continues southwest along BCT #2. Just west of the split, the trail peaks out at 2309 feet. (Emery Henderson TH is 1876 feet.)

    A few hundred yards later, BCT #2 returns to (very rugged) jeep trail and begins descending. You can see Anthem -- and even the trailhead! -- from that point, without binoculars. At the 6.1 mile mark, the jeep trail splits west and south. West goes towards Bonnie Bell mine, and is alternate to the main loop. South is the formal way. I went south, re-crossing the fence I had seen earlier. There was no gate there, nor at any of several trail crossings further west. Just past the fence, I turned west, between two small hills. I was looking for a mine. First I found a PVC pipe sticking up out of the ground. I figured it might be a vent, but did not feel any air. 330 degrees north of the vent, about 150 yards, on the spine of a small ridge, are the two mine shafts. Both are filled with debris, though there are several rather recent claim markers of some sort. (One a metal disk, another a barcoded stake.)

    Going cross country here was not difficult at all, but I could tell my energy was starting to drop, so I went north off the ridgeline, to the west jeep trail I had split from a bit earlier. I continued west on that jeep trail, crossing the ungated fence several more times. At N33.928666 W-112.181045, where the jeep trail heads south to meet up with the main trail is a *HUGE* informal firing range. A good 300 yards, maybe more if you include the slope north of the trail. Last week, on BCT #1 Figure 8 Loop, west of the federal prison, I saw thousands of shot shells, but they were spread along the trail. This week, just west of Bonnie Bell mine, I saw many times more expended shells, and all concentrated within a 100 yard square: .22 long rifle, .357 magnum, 7.62 x 39 (someone was popping AK rounds), 7.62 x 51, 9mm and, of course, shot shells. And beer cans, because nothing says "redneck" like playing with guns when you are drunk.

    I began a desultory search for the nearby Bonnie Bell mine, but was continuing to wear down, so quickly called it off and headed south down the jeep trail. About a mile south of the firing range, I reconnected to the main BCT #2 trail. Rinse, wash, repeat back to the trailhead. (With ever decreasing speed.)

    Overall, the jeep trail parts are enh, but the single track parts are okay. Probably better for fast mountain biking, as I encountered four groups. I am on holiday the next week, so today was the first hike of five over the next nine days. (I plan on going out every other day.)

    Time In: 10:05 a.m. Duration: 4h 51m. Hike time, minus breaks, exploring, GPS/map reading, etc.: 3h 58m. Distance: 12.03 mi. Pace: 3.03 mph. 1166 AEG.
    Boy Scout Loop from Emery Henderson TH - BCT
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    This was a nice day to do this hike. I am surprized that no one has found it or had reported hiking it. We started out and it was a little bit rainy looking but since this trail is south of the Bradshaw's at least the part we were going to try. There was some sprinkles as we started down the trail. Just as we had started 4 people on Mountain bikes came down the trail finishing up their ride. Then one other couple was coming off the trail. There was 5 of us on the trail and started to see what it was like. There is all kinds cacti along the way and would be interesting in some spots with either a mountain bike or a horse as the trail weaves thru the cholla cacti. We followed the trail back and forth across roads. We hiked along a ridge with a nice view point. And followed the dry creek. At one point we followed a road for awhile and came across a boy scout troup cleaning up from their camping trip. Then we went on the trail as we found a nice place next to the creek to have a lunch break. Then decided to go on and do the Boy Scout loop. The trail is nice but climbs a little bit at this point and takes a little bit more energy than the first part. A few flowers started showing up as the sun was trying to come out of the clouds. We got to the top of the loop and followed it around to the west. This trail has some ups and downs and rough spots. After coming back to the junction we followed the trail back to the trailhead. Now need to do some more exploring of this really nice bunch of trails.

    Permit $$
    AZ State Land Recreational Permits are available for an individual ($15.00), or a family limited to two adults and children under the age of 18 ($20.00).

    Land Parcel Map

    Map Drive
    Info is below 'Directions to trail'

    To hike
    Southern Trailhead: With the Arizona State Land permit in possession, take exit 232, turn west on New River Road, drive approximately .1 mile to 42nd Ave (sign is on the right). You can park here if you wish, it is one mile to the trail, or drive part way. Vandalism is possible anywhere, so exercise judgment. Drive north on 42nd Ave, the road bends left, then continue straight for approximately .6 mile to the intersection, a gas pipeline easement. You should not drive further with a low clearance vehicle. Continue straight on the same road for .4 mile (rough and rutted) to the next intersection, where you must park your vehicle. The Black Canyon Trail is at the bottom of this short hill, to the right, and is non-motorized.

    Note: Only the above access requires a State Land Permit. The following (which includes this hike) does not require any permit.

    Emery Henderson Trailhead: From Interstate 17: Take exit 232, turn west on New River Road which is all paved road, drive approximately 3.3 miles, look for sign on the right, turn right into Emery Henderson driveway.

    Table Mesa Trailhead: Trailhead signs are occasionally vandalized and removed, so it will be necessary to check your odometer and watch carefully for the side road to the right. From Interstate 17: Take exit 236 (Table Mesa Rd), turn west then north on the frontage road, drive approximately 1.65 miles to the "Y" and bear left, drive approximately 1.38 miles and look for the side road on the right. Turn onto this road and the trailhead is immediately to the left.

    Black Canyon Trailhead: From Interstate 17, either direction; take exit 242 (Black Canyon City and Rock Springs), turn west, proceed to stop sign, turn north (right) on the frontage road, drive about 300 ft to the first road on the left, Warner Rd, and turn left. Drive about 1300 ft to the first cross road, turn right and proceed to the parking area on the right near the end of the road, about 400 ft dirt road at the end.
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