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Table Mesa Rd to Boy Scout Loop - BCT, AZ

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Guide 13 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Black Canyon
3.1 of 5 by 7
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 12 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,934 feet
Elevation Gain 525 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,604 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 20.02
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
8  2019-04-08 rcorfman
16  2018-12-22
BCT - Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa
9  2018-12-22
BCT - Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa
13  2018-12-01
Indian Mesa Ruins
13  2018-03-10
Lake Pleasant / Black Canyon Trail / Gillette
29  2017-12-30
Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa TH - BCT
33  2017-11-12
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36  2017-11-11
FT. Tule Trifecta: Cabin - Ruins - Petroglyphs
Page 1,  2
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   Feb, Jan, Dec, Mar → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:33pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Gradual Scouting
by MEWhiteman

This is a description of a section of the Black Canyon Trail (BCT) that runs from Table Mesa Road south to the northern end of the Boy Scout Loop. Descriptions of other sections of this trail are on site. They are Little Pan Loop from Table Mesa Road which is directly north of this section, and Boy Scout Loop via Emery Henderson T(railhead) which is directly south of this section. This trail is single track with the exception of one small section and is easy to follow. There have been several re-routes, but the new trail is obvious. This is a longer hike at 12 miles but the climbing is gradual and is generally up and down.

Hike: Beginning from the parking lot the trail sign on the west side indicates the beginning of a link trail to the BCT itself. After about 50 yds you come to a T intersection with BCT trail signs. Turn left. Shortly you'll cross Table Mesa Road and will be able to see the parking lot back up the road to your left. Cross the road diagonally to the left and continue on the trail at the sign. At about 1.25 miles you come to a gravel road. Turn left here. You'll see a sign for the BCT on the right after about 50 yds. Turn right at the sign. At about 1.6 mi a major reroute begins. Turn right here to stay on the trail. You can see where the old trail went (straight ahead) with sticks and stones covering the trail, but stick to the new trail to the right. There is one additional confusing place at about 5.5 mi (N33 56.702 W112 09.635). After going through a wash you come to a jeep trail straight ahead. You want to bear left on the single track with a BCT sign just before the jeep trail. At about 6.0 you will see a sign indicating you are at the northern end of the Boy Scout Loop (N33 56.201 W112 09.844). This was my turn around point.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2009-04-15 MEWhiteman
    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
    Table Mesa Rd to Boy Scout Loop - BCT
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    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.
    Table Mesa Rd to Boy Scout Loop - BCT
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Directions: North I-17, exit 232, west New River Rd. After you cross under I-17, and drive up the small rise, take the very first right, 43rd Ave., which is dirt. About 100 yards up the road, turn left (west), along the southern edge of the housing area. Another 1/4 mile will bring you to El Paso Gas Pipeline Rd., which is about as far as you should go with low clearance two-wheel drive.


    Time out: 0502. Doing Table Mesa Rd to Boy Scout Loop (BCT #3) backwards, as a one-way, with shuttle (a very loving wife). From Gas Pipeline Rd. hiked .4 miles to the Glassy Knoll, where unlike Dealey Plaza there is obviously expended ammo (and many shot up bottles). At the bottom of the knoll is BCT #2. Turned north up the west segment of the Boy Scout Loop. (The only part of the hike where I could not hear semis on I-17.) At 1.4 miles total distance came to the gateless fence. At 1.8 miles, still on jeep trail, came to a gully that even a high clearance 4WD might have trouble with. Just past that, the trail finally turned to single track, and at 2.1 miles I reached the northern tip of the Boy Scout Loop, which is also the southern terminus of BCT #3. Took a break to apply sun screen, as the sun was finally starting to light up some of the nearby hill tops. The trail was very smooth to this point.

    I proceeded along the west side of Hill 2605, where the trail surface had become rocky (but still not bad). The first of two highpoints on the trail is 2435 feet, in the saddle between Hill 2605 and Hill 2802. Trail smoothed out on the descent. At 2.9 miles a jeep trail splits to the left; stay right. I crossed a series of three close, very lush washes. No sign of water, but still very healthy vegetation: mesquite, palo verde, and a very thick cluster of saguaro. As I began climbing out of the washes, at 3.4 miles, there was an unsigned split in the trail. Stay right. Proceed northeast from Hill 2519 towards Hill 2508. Immediately west of Hill 2508 is the halfway point, 4.1 miles. Somewhere in there I realized my right knee felt twingey. I did not twist it, roll it, crack it, strain it, blow it out, or anything else. It suddenly felt ... not right. I was halfway, and in any case my pickup was ahead of me, so I kept going.

    Just past the halfway point, a mountain biker came up behind me and stopped for a short chat. Nice guy. At 4.7 miles, crossed another jeep trail. Was taking notes, when a pair of mountain bikers, coming south, stopped to see if I was okay. Fine, thanx, just taking notes. :-) Climbed up to the second high point of the hike, 2455 feet, at 5.1 miles, in the saddle northeast of Hill 2647. Could actually see I-17 from the saddle. Could also hear, at 7 a.m., heavy gunfire coming from north, or north northeast, of the saddle. Could have been semiauto, but the interval between shots was too smooth, so I'm guessing it was full auto. Probably AK rounds, as it sounded too heavy for an M-16 type weapon.

    Headed down into the valley, where the terrain changed from desert to scrub grass. One thing I've noticed about the Black Canyon Trail, is that rather than hey-diddle-diddle straight up the middle, when crossing washes, or going up hills, it tends to wiggle around contours, especially at washes, which really minimizes the climbs. Just before I got to the high tension lines, took a left onto a jeep trail, then a quick right back onto BCT #3. At that point could still hear heavy gun fire, now to my right (east), so I'm guessing the shooters were somewhere between Hill 2176 and Hill 2290, just north of the mining claim. (You can see a mobile home, at the claim site, from the trail.) Crossed the high tension line at 7.1 miles, or about a mile from the Table Mesa trailhead. A half mile from the trailhead, BCT #3, parallels a small wash that is littered with shot up debris and (mostly) shot gun shells.

    Arrived at the trailhead to find no pickup. Luckily there is cell phone reception, so was able to contact my wife, who was maybe a quarter mile east. Changed shirts, socks and shoes, then started driving east on Table Mesa Rd. About a half mile east of the trailhead, saw some signs and maps up on a board. Pulled into the area to look at them. Got out of the car and ... HOLY FREAKING PUMPKIN! The sand area was riddle with hundreds of screws and nails. Checked the tires. Did not see anything. Basically walked the car back onto the road, a foot at a time, picking up screws as we went. Awful. Seriously, if you see those signs, STAY ON THE ROAD!

    Finished the morning off with breakfast at the Rock Springs Cafe. Exitted the cafe. Tires still inflated. Knee tightening up. By night time, and this morning, barely mobile.

    Time In: 0828. Duration: 3h 26m. Hike time, minus breaks, map reading, etc.: 2h 49m. Distance: 8.25 miles. Pace: 2.93 mph. AEG: 881 feet.
    Table Mesa Rd to Boy Scout Loop - BCT
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    I was a little concerned just after starting out on this hike what with all the shooting going on. Seems this is a very popular area for those folks who like to muck up the desert by shooting at junk (paint cans, VCRs etc) then leaving their trash behind. What a mess! Anyway, once I got past all that this hike isn't too bad. Not a whole lot of interesting scenery out here and you're always reminded that civilization is not too far away with noise from planes, helicopters and the ever present ATVs. Beats holding down a couch watching TV though. :)

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    Table Mesa Road Trailhead (from Black Canyon Trail website) This is presently an undeveloped trailhead with limited parking. However there is ample parking within easy walking distance a short way up the side road. 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.

    GPS coordinates, using NAD27 datum: N33? 59.076' W112? 10.063'
    page created by MEWhiteman on Apr 15 2009 5:26 pm
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