Some days I miss the snowy, cold days of Colorado, but not right now. Our weather has been perfect! With the comfortable temps, we have been exploring more hiking trails nearby. I thought when we got on the I-17 north we would be driving for over an hour, but we weren’t heading to the hills; we took the exit for Black Canyon City or exist 242. We were looking for the Black Canyon National Recreational Trail, and it wasn’t hard to find at all.
After taking the exit, turn left or west. You will immediately come to a stop sign where you need to turn right or north. You’ll be on the frontage road but not for long. The first left will be Warner Road, and you’ll see a sign for the trail head. Note: The road is dirt at this point and is bumpy, but any car can manage. You will only be on it for minutes until you reach the parking lot. Parking is free. It has a human restroom, but it was closed the day we were there. Humans need to plan accordingly.
As for me, my kind are welcome as are horses and bicycles. The trail head is marked with a sign, and you will follow it to the fork in the road. Go left for the Black Canyon trail, but if you want to hike toward Mayer, go right. You’ll come to a gate where you enter. Bikes have a special metal bridge built for them to ride over. Please shut the gate behind you as it keeps the cows in. We didn’t see any roaming, but we encountered their “plops.”
Mom and I were astounded at how quickly the scenery blew our minds. It’s a combination of Aqua Fria and Spur Cross Ranch with groves of huge Saguaro Cactus. How many times had we driven right by this place and didn’t know it was here? Thank you Ginger Haan for sending us the article from Arizona Highways Magazine. Apparently, the trail was established in the 1960s and goes some 80 miles. I knew my folks wouldn’t make me go that far, so I excitedly pressed on.
You will hear the traffic from I-17 only until you cross the river. Speaking of, water was still flowing, so I was able to swim. Oh man, did that feel good! A lot of folks hike to this spot and turn around. If you do, that would be a three-mile loop. That’s the good news with this trail – you hike as far as you want. The grade is very mild, so you might want to go further like we did.
Shortly after the creek, you will come to another “Y” and will need to decide what you seek. Heading to the left will bring you to a quiet canyon between two hills. You won’t have great views, but you are truly out in the wilderness. The signage actually points you toward the left, but you can go to the right. This will take you up into the Bradshaw Mountains with incredible views. We followed the official trail to the left and continued on through incredible terrain for another 30 minutes.
The stream was calling me back, so we turned around and headed back to the watering hole where we ate our lunch. We weren’t alone and met some nice humans and their dog, Harley. What a cutie! He was much smaller than me but had a big heart. They were from Anthem and were hiking back out to have lunch there. We wondered if they would be stopping at the Rock Springs Café for pie. They said ‘No way.” Mom laughed and said, “Because the pie sucks, right?” They agreed. That being said, if you haven’t been, it might be worth checking out. Just don’t expect homemade, yummy, to-die-for pie. It is fair at best, but the location is convenient.
Anyway, we sat for quite a spell on a rock by the water before making the trek back to the car. All in all, we went about five miles. Again, you can make this as long or short as you like. Whatever you do, you will be amazed at the scenery and how easy this trail head is to get to. Over the holidays, give it a try! We’ll be back to try the other direction. Maybe we’ll see you. Happy trails.
Hi! I am Kumaito (Kuma for short), a multi-tan Shiba Inu. My breed is one of the oldest and purest from Japan. I personally was born in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, moved to Friendswood, Texas, and now call Phoenix, Arizona home. I enjoy running or hiking almost every day with my mom, chasing rabbits out of my neighborhood, playing with toys, pestering my brother Edmond, eating, napping … well, I love just about everything and everyone!
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, business consultant, executive coach, behavioral-wellness expert, and author of eight published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
Enjoy my blog at https://www.lorrainebosse-smith.com/category/kuma/ and be sure to follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kumathedog?ref=hl and Instagram: kumaitothedog
Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!