Trail Information


The Black Canyon Trail began as a prehistoric Native American pathway linking local settlements together and providing a way to travel long distances. The trail follows a route that has been used since the 1600s for the movement of livestock and people. The designation of the trail traces its roots to 1919, when the Department of the Interior officially established the route as a livestock driveway. It was used mainly by valley woolgrowers to herd sheep to and from their summer range in the Bradshaw Mountains and the Black Hills. The Espil family herded the last sheep on the southern part of the trail in 1974.  North of Highway 69, the trail corridor is still used to herd sheep annually.

The Black Canyon Stock Driveway was dedicated on January 3, 1969 as the Black Canyon Trails Area. It included the area encompassing the completed and proposed Black Canyon Trail. In the Phoenix Resource Management Plan, the Black Canyon Trails Area is identified for a cooperative recreation management agreement with Maricopa and Yavapai counties in the year of 1987. On May 14, 1987, the Bureau of Land Management entered into a cooperative recreation management agreement with Maricopa and Yavapai Counties for the management and development of the Black Canyon Trail. The designated trail corridor extends from Highway 74 in Maricopa County, crosses Highway 69 in Yavapai County and eventually reaches the Prescott National Forest.

The Black Canyon Trail corridor contains approximately 4,000 acres. 13.3 miles of the Maricopa county segment of the Black Canyon Trail were mtn bike 2 completed in 1992. The Yavapai County segment of the trail was projected for completion by the end of December 1994, but budget and manpower constraints curtailed activities. As of October 1992 the only completed facility on the trail was the trailhead in Maricopa County. The trailhead is named for Mr. Emery Henderson, who has spent the last twenty-five years working towards the establishment of the Black Canyon Trail. This award winning trailhead facility was conceived as a village of structures reminiscent of an old mining camp. The trailhead provides an information kiosk, picnic area, shade ramadas, restroom, and parking. A variety of vehicle types can be accommodated at the trailhead, including horse trailers. The project was designed to provide accessibility to all. The design for the facility won an energy conservation award for the use of solar power and a self-composting toilet, as well as recognition for its architectural design.

In 1992, the Arizona State Committee on Trails, through the Governor of Arizona, nominated the Black Canyon Trail for the Secretary of the Interior’s Enjoy Outdoors America Initiative. The trail was nominated as an outstanding example of partnerships in recreation management on the public lands. The trail is a part of the Arizona State Trails System, and is included in the State Trails Guide.


For more information, please visit the Bureau of Land Management and The Black Canyon Trail Coalition



Big Bug Trailhead
The Big Bug Trailhead has a large gravel parking area with ample room for several trailers. A vault toilet is maintained by volunteers. Please help keep it clean. Camping is not allowed. From Interstate 17, either direction: take exit 262 (Hwy 69) north toward Prescott, AZ. Proceed approximately 4.2 miles to the driveway entrance on the west side of the highway. There is no signage on the highway identifying the trailhead, so be sure to watch your odometer.
Black Canyon City Trailhead
The Black Canyon City Trailhead has ample parking space for cars and vehicles with trailers, and a restroom. The restroom is maintained by volunteers. Please help keep it clean. Bring your own drinking water as the water in the restroom is not suitable for drinking. No camping is allowed. 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. GPS coordinates, using NAD27 Datum: N34º 3.140’ W112º 9.048’
Doe Peak Access
Note: This is not a trailhead and the access road is not maintained beyond 43rd Ave. Low clearance vehicles should not attempt the last fifteen hundred feet. This road is on Arizona State Land and an annual use permit is required to be on Arizona State Lands. It is highly recommended that a permit be obtained prior to entering Arizona State Lands. Permits may be obtained from the Arizona State Land Office in Phoenix at 602-364-2753, or from the Bureau of Land Management at 602-417-9300. From I-17: 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. GPS coordinates, using NAD27 Datum: N33º 55.074’ W112º 09.841’
Emery Henderson Trailhead
This is a developed facility with paved parking, including several pull-through parking spaces for vehicles with trailers. There are covered picnic tables (ramadas), restrooms, information kiosk and railings to tether horses. From Interstate 17: Take exit 232, turn west on New River Road, drive approximately 3.3 miles, look for sign on the right, turn right into Emery Henderson driveway. GPS coordinates, using NAD27 datum: N33º 52.772’ W112º 10.760’
Glorianna Trailhead
The Glorianna Trailhead has a parking area that will accommodate a small number of trailers. No facilities available and no camping allowed. From I-17 either direction, take exit 248 (Bumble Bee, Crown King) and proceed approximately 1/2 mile to the trailhead on the left.
Table Mesa Road Trailhead
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: N33º 59.076’ W112º 10.063’