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Bumble Bee to Government Spring - BCT, AZ

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151 12 0
Guide 12 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Black Canyon
2.2 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 6.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,561 feet
Elevation Gain 500 feet
Accumulated Gain 750 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.6
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
12  2018-04-07
Black Canyon Trail -Bumblebee - Spring Valley
12  2018-03-31
BCT - Black Canyon City to Bumblebee
15  2018-03-23 kingsnake
74  2018-02-03
Gloriana Mine to Hidden Treasure - BCT
31  2017-03-03
BCT Day 1
20  2016-01-01
Black Canyon Trail to Home - Part 2
4  2015-02-13 muskybankr
7  2010-12-14 MEWhiteman
Author MEWhiteman
author avatar Guides 40
Routes 91
Photos 790
Trips 351 map ( 2,703 miles )
Age 75 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:12am - 6:34pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Ups and Downs
by MEWhiteman

Overview: The Black Canyon Trail is a historic trail which when completed will run from Carefree Highway in Phoenix to north of AZ69 in Mayer, about 78 miles. This section runs from just south of Bumble Bee to Government Spring on Crown King Road at the junction with Yavapai County 179. It gradually climbs to its high point over 3 miles and then follows the ups and downs of the terrain to its endpoint. It is easy hiking on a newly maintained trail (as of Dec 2010) and provides many distant views of the Bradshaws, the Mazatzals and areas between. There are numerous mines in the area with the largest being the Hidden Treasure Mine near the north end.

Hike: From the south trailhead it is a short easy bushwack to the trail. I placed a cairn at the north side of the parking area indicating a clear area to walk down into a wash. Cross this wash. I placed another cairn at a pile of rocks (N34 11.838 W112 09.674) where there is a spring. Walk along the right side of this small wash that ends at the spring. In a short distance you'll be able to cross the small wash to the left and reach the trail. You can pick up the trail anywhere along the west side of the small wash so you don't have to be too precise. Pick the easiest path.

On reaching the trail turn right. In about .1 miles after reaching the trail, the trail intersects with a two track coming in from the left. Turn right, the trail shortly becomes single track again. Follow the single track up and down and all around enjoying the views and desert vegetation. You'll cross a dirt road at 1.3 miles (N34 12.606 W112 09.518). Continue on the single track. We spotted a building across the valley and wondered whether is was a mine, a home, or a cabin. It had a good road leading to it. You'll cross another dirt track at about 4.3 miles (N34 14.402 W112 10.281) and a third dirt track at about 4.6 miles (N34 14.618 W112 10.383). Soon you'll be able to spot your destination at Government Spring by the large, old water tank in the distance. At 6.08 miles you reach a dirt road (N34 15.296 W112 10.530). From here the trail goes right, crosses Crown King Road and reaches parking at Government Spring. The spring itself is on the south side of the corrals (N34 15.307 W112 10.466) and drains into a tank where some large trees are.

If you go left on the dirt road reached at 6.08 miles, it will take you to the Hidden Treasure Mine. There are two large holes here so don't get too close, but it is an interesting place to explore. Northeast of the mine itself appears to be some ruins of water collection and containment constructions. Again, more to explore.

This ends this segment. We did it as an out & back but it can be done one way or as a leg of a longer hike. It was a nice hike!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2010-12-15 MEWhiteman

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    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
    Bumble Bee to Government Spring - BCT
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    I had planned to hike Black Canyon Trail segment #9, from Bumble Bee to Government Spring, and segment #10 on to the ghost town of Cordes, last week. At this time of year, the BCT segments north of Black Canyon City are awash in spring flowers.

    The last time I hiked from Bumble Bee to Government Spring, seven years ago, I had a topo, but no GPS. Just past the mine claim gate, I went left when I shoulda taken a right toin at Albuquerque. I mean, split right. I ended up a gulch, unsure exactly where I was. I eventually managed to get myself back on the Black Canyon Trail.

    You are not lost unless you both don’t know where you are and don’t know how to get to where you want to be.

    The BCT was damp from light rain last night. Temperatures have also been increasing. So, once the sun was fully up, illuminating the various washes and spurs, I was hoping to enjoy some quality flora.

    The first color I saw was an orange Aravaipa Running trail ribbon.

    Four miles north of Bumble Bee, I turned up a wash to do a wee bit of mine exploring. The topo indicated a vertical shaft, but I did not find it, nor any evidence of past human presence other than a man made retaining wall paralleling the wash. Near the end of the wall, there was a thin metal plate across the wall. I could not pull it out, or peer past it. I wonder if it was covering an adit?

    Finally, two thirds of the way into my hike, I spotted a flower, a yellow wiry lotus. And … that was it. One flower all day long. 😕

    Due to the lack of flowers, I called it quits at the oasis, rather than continue on Black Canyon Trail segment #10 to Cordes. Not only did I avoid the subsequent Sunset Point brush fire, but my wife & I had time to stop at historical Rock Springs Cafe for lunch and a slice of their best-in-Arizona pie. 🤗🥧

    Hike Video: [ youtube video ]

    One. Just one.
    Bumble Bee to Government Spring - BCT
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    Gloriana Mine to Hidden Treasure - BCT
    My fourth section of the Black Canyon Trail starts at the Gloriana Mine trailhead and heads northbound to finish at the Hidden Treasure trailhead.

    I won't lie, this section of the Black Canyon Trail was a real grind. The scenery throughout this 11 miles was a mix of burn area, some great views of the Bradshaws again, a decent climb, and a rather blah 3 mile finish. However it was a warm clear day with a little bit of a breeze at the end to help ease the brutal sun coming down.

    My brother-in-law joined me again for this next section, as I think I got him hooked on doing the entire BCT. Since I'm sticking with the northbound approach to this entire trail, we started out at the Gloriana Mine trailhead from the south side of Crown King Rd and headed north through more of the burn area that we came through at the finish of the previous section. This part is about 4 miles to the south side of the town of Bumble Bee, and old mining and stagecoach town that only has a few old homes left. After this first 4 miles of half-burnt trail, we descend back down to Crown King Rd and take a break under the bridge that goes over Bumble Bee Creek. Every time I've been down to this spot, there's always at least a 2-4' wide flow of clear water in the creekbed. This day also had water. We took a little break in the shade before heading up the next 4 miles of uphill.

    After a rest under the bridge, we headed towards the only significant ascent of the day - an approximate 700' ascent over the next 4 miles. The grade was very manageable and the scenery in this part was the best of the entire section. We could see Sunset Point directly to the east, and had views of the Bradshaws to the west. The desert flora was healthy throughout, and the mix of geology kept it interesting. The trail continues to be in excellent shape.

    As we approach the top of the ascent, we pass through some granite hoodoos reddish soil. Orange-colored quartz, some with crystals, were scattered around one area. I found a loose small cluster of orange crystals growing out of a dark colored rock, just laying 2' off-trail.

    At the top of the climb, we had a nice breeze coming through so we sat for a few, rehydrated, ate a snack, and started our descent.

    This is where things get ugly. It was a warm day and the descent back down to Crown King Rd to get to the Hidden Treasure trailhead was very exposed. This last 3 miles seemed to go on forever. The lower we hiked, the uglier it got. The last mile or so was a very overused and overgrazed area that had some scrappy vegetation, lots of quad tracks, and spent shotgun and bullet casings all around. A very anti-climactic finish to this section.

    Hidden Treasure trailhead is officially on the south side of Crown King road, directly across from another parking area next to a large old rusty water tank. I've passed this tank many times on my trips up to the town of Crown King, and had always wondered why I saw cars parked there on many occasions. I chose to park next to the tank when we staged my truck that morning, and I had no issues.

    All-in-all, this is probably my least-favorite section of the Black Canyon Trail thus far. Looking north to the next section that takes you to Highway 69 near Mayer, I'm excited to make yet another climb and hopefully get to a more interesting part of this trail to wrap it up.

    Saw 17 mountain bikers and 2 trail runners on this section.
    Bumble Bee to Government Spring - BCT
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    Black Canyon Trail -- Bumble Bee to Government Springs

    Directions: North on I-17 to exit 248. North on Crown King Road / County 59. Go about 2 miles to intersection. Turn right / north on Crown King Road. Go three miles to trailhead, just past bridge, and before Bumble Bee. For a less confusing hike, continue through Bumble Bee. Just past the town, on the left, is a major jeep trail. Start there instead.


    Time out: 09:25 a.m. Weather: Sunny, slightly breezy, upper 40s. Trailhead, and the first mile or so, jeep trail, obvious and well-marked with brown trail posts. You will cross a mine-claim fence to stay on the trail. Make sure you close the gate behind you. Just past the fence, the jeep trail splits. Left dead ends in about 100-200m. Right, not sure. Trail actually continues as a single track between the two jeep trails. I continued up the single track, until I came to a small mound. Trail split left and right. Not sure which way to go, followed white ribbon to left. Wrong answer. Trail petered out. Continued up arroyo, hoping to hit the jeep trail which is on the map. Didn't. Decided to bail east, hoping to either cross the hiking trail or, failing that, Crown King Road. Had to cut across two ridges, so I am pretty sure I was up American Gulch. Hit the jeep trail right next to the abadoned mine at Hill 2875. Turned south a few hundred meters, finding Black Canyon Trail. If you are also travelling without a GPS, I recommend getting your drop-off in Bumble Bee, then hiking up the jeep trail to Black Canyon Trail, rather than hiking from the formal trailhead south of town. After that, hike was very straight forward, and marked by blue ribbons. Smooth, fast single track, if you are on a MTB. Nice views of snowy peaks. Trail mostly dry, though slightly muddy in spots from snow four days prior. Ground clear of snow. Meet your pickup near large metal water tank near corral, at split in road. (After hike, take right of split through Cordes -- not Cordes Junction -- to I-17.) Time In: 12:15 p.m. Duration: 2h 50m. Hike time, minus breaks and being lost: 2h 10m. Distance 9.9 km. Pace: 4.57 km/h.


    Spring Valley Weather:,%20az&wuSelect=WEATHER
    Black Canyon Trail Coalition:
    Rock Springs Cafe:

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    Directions: To the south end of trail - Take I-17 North to to exit 248 for Bumble Bee, Crown King and Horsethief Basin. Zero your trip odometer at the end of the ramp. Turn left onto Crown King Rd. Follow this road 5.0 miles (N34 11.671 W112 09.593) to a dirt road on the left before you pass the yellow "Welcome to Bumble Bee" sign. Turn left here, then bear right. Follow this dirt trail about .15 miles then bear left to waypoint N34 11.810 W112 09.658 a short distance further where the road circles around some trees and park. This is not an official trailhead but there is room for several cars.

    To the north end of the trail - Continue 5.2 miles past the south end of trail parking to a large rusty water tank and parking on the right (N34 15.305 W112 10.511). This is Government Spring and is just before a junction with Yavapai County 179.
    page created by MEWhiteman on Dec 15 2010 1:10 pm
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