Nearing the End
Overview: The Black Canyon Trail (BCT) is recognized as a National Recreational Trail and when complete, will meander 78 miles from Carefree Highway (AZ74) north to about 8 miles north of Mayer. There are a number of hike descriptions on this website covering various segments of this trail. This description covers the trail from Antelope Creek Road near Spring Valley north to where the trail crosses Old Sycamore Road north of SR69. The hike is a single track and maintains an elevation between 4,000 to 4,200 feet. It is rolling terrain with the trail following the contours of this hills making for easy hiking. The town of Spring Valley is near and visible for much of the hike as is SR69 as you approach and leave it. The vegetation is mostly grasses, low shrubs, pickly pear cactus and juniper. Its a pleasant hike - pretty easy, not long, cooler than Phoenix.
Hike: At 0.00 miles (N34 20.517 W112 11.238) begin the hike at Antelope Creek Road heading roughly north. There is a sign at the road and some cairns further in. At 0.77 miles (N34 20.934 W112 10.951) cross under double power lines and over dirt service road (just a two track). At 0.90 miles (N34 21.012 W112 10.855) go through a big green gate after crossing the gas pipeline and a wash. Notice the large cairn with bones scattered about just before the gate. At 1.13 miles you begin to get distant views of the town of Spring Valley to the SE. At 1.57 miles pass a pile of rocks with a cross on the N side of the trail. I wonder what happened here? At 1.61 miles enjoy a view of Spring Valley and SR69. At 2.39 miles get a distant view of the rectangular tunnel under SR69 which is where the trail crosses. Look hard if you don't see it right away as it is partially hidden. At 2.45 miles begin paralleling a fence. At 2.53 miles (N34 21.709 W112 10.541) turn right to follow the wash just past the end of the fence. There were no signs or cairns here at the time I did this hike. At 2.58 miles pass a sign on the right reading "Campamento Para Los Pastores" and also Spring Valley Orchards. It translates to "a camping place for shepherds" which is appropriate as the Black Canyon Trail was used to herd sheep between summer and winter grazing areas. This spot must have been one of the camping spots just south of SR69. Also the fenced area is an old orchard which doesn't appear to be in use any more. At 2.61 miles (N34 21.701 W112 10.460) turn left into small wash leading to the tunnel under SR69 which you can't see from here. If you come to a round culvert under SR69 you've gone too far and should turn back to the small wash. At 2.65 miles (N34 21.732 W112 10.470) enter rectangular tunnel under SR69. It is 7 to 8 feet high and about as wide with room for the sheep that used to go through here. There are many birds nests along the junction of the walls and ceiling. You're GPS will lose signal here but should reacquire it at the other end. Continue in the wash after exiting the tunnel. At 2.76 miles (N34 21.792 W112 10.461) pass through a gate. At 3.39 miles (N34 22.210 W112 10.347) this segment ends at Old Sycamore Road. I did not see any signs or cairns at this point when I did the hike. The trail appears to cross and continue north but gets faint shortly after passing through another gate. There is parking about .16 miles SE on Old Sycamore Road (up the hill) where another dirt road goes right. There is a pulloff just after turning onto this other dirt road.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
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.