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Black Canyon City TH to Gloriana Mine TH - BCT, AZ
mini location map2018-01-27
36 by photographer avatarMudhole
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Black Canyon City TH to Gloriana Mine TH - BCT, AZ 
Black Canyon City TH to Gloriana Mine TH - BCT, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 27 2018
Hiking14.06 Miles 2,266 AEG
Hiking14.06 Miles   8 Hrs      1.76 mph
2,266 ft AEG10 LBS Pack
1st trip
My third northbound section of the Black Canyon Trail was another one-day trip from Black Canyon City Trailhead just behind Rock Springs, AZ and finishing at the Gloriana Mine Trailhead on Crown King Road just south of Bumble Bee. My brother-in-law Todd joined me on this next passage, looking to hit his single-day personal record for mileage in one hike. We shuttled my truck to the Gloriana Mine trailhead and drove back down to the Black Canyon City trailhead to get started at just after 8am.

The first climb out of the Black Canyon City trailhead takes you up to the east for about a mile and tops out at the T-junction in the actual trail itself. That's where you either make a right and head north, or left to go south. Right we go, and the views start paying off now that we're on high ground.

Within 3 miles of the trialhead, we descend down into the Agua Fria river canyon to make one crossing. A little route finding with the help of some colored ribbons on the brush leads us to an easy log crossing at a shady pool. We cross to the north side and take a break in the shade to enjoy this little oasis, knowing that the rest of the trail ahead is going to be much more exposed.

After the Agua Fria river, we climb back out of that canyon and start the usual ups-and-downs through the various desert drainages and small canyons. The trail quality itself is still very high quality, as it has been for the first 35 southernmost miles.

In this middle section, there is an old grave about a dozen yards off trail to the west. It's very visible due to the white quartz that marks it. No signage or names on anything, but there are a few old trail gifts left behind.

We spot some various mine tailing piles on the hills all around, and investigate one that was just west of the trail. The tailings were chalky grey, and behind them was a small rocky canyon that was overgrown with Palo Verde trees that were hiding a small mineshaft. It was about 2' tall and about 3' wide, just big enough to scoot through on your stomach if you so desired. I decided not to tempt the Hanta Virus gods that day and stayed out of it.

Moving along, we have intermittent views of Black Canyon City downhill to our east. At one point we drop quite close to the town as we cross the actual Black Canyon drainage, where we stop for lunch in the limited shade. An older couple was day hiking up the canyon, and they were the only other hikers we saw all day with the exception of a couple of trail runners.

Having studied the elevation profile beforehand, I knew we had our biggest climb at the 10 mile mark. The ascent goes up the west side of a rising valley, up and over a saddle to a second smaller climb before leveling out on its way to the finishing trailhead. The day was warming up pretty good by now, so we started the big climb.

Up we went, and quickly. I had pictured this climb as a 3 mile gradual ascent, but it was more like 1/2 mile of stairmaster. We pushed through it and took a much-needed rest at the top where there was a small saddle that gave view to the next climb. Hydrated again, we knocked out the next climb and were rewarded with a huge valley view below and the Bradshaws to our left.

I had read that there was a burn area near the end of this section, and I was actually very interested to see it. I find them fascinatingly beautiful, and not ugly as others might think. Remember that this is the natural cycle of nature, giving way to new life as areas such as this recover in a few years.

To get the chance to walk through a piece of terrain that was recently scorched by fire is rather unique. I've seen plenty of old burn areas that are recovering, but not one quite as fresh as this. The views in this area were not-of-this-world, that's for sure. Exposed red soil, fresh ashes still on the topsoil, an eerie silence to it all, and dead vegetation that somewhat resembles its original self. I could have spent hours here, but we were tired and ready to finish this section.

Not long after the burn area, we come around a system of winding drainages to see the parking lot at Gloriana Mine trailhead. It's always a moment of excitement to see your vehicle waiting there for you and knowing what you've just accomplished. We jump in my truck and head back to Rock Springs Cafe for a celebration beer and some gluttonous comfort food.
"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clean away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." - John Muir
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