The Black Canyon trail I had done 2 years ago at the MTBR Arizona Spring Fling has grown (65 miles) and is expected to be 85 miles when complete. I really liked the trail because you could ride it without worry about breaking your arm falling in a bunch of rocks. I decided to start from the southern area where I had finished 2 years ago on Table Mesa Rd. I had wanted to ride south for a bit then back north to the Black Canyon Trail head parking lot and back. I didn’t see the trail going south off of Table Mesa Rd. I ended up going on an ATV trail that dead ended, but got back to the trail I knew. I went north and was amazed at the amount of spring vegetation and the wild flowers in bloom. The biggest disappointment in the ride was the middle river crossing. With the winter rain Arizona had gotten, the river had become wider and the crossing just). I had another first on my trip after the earthquake—an encounter with a rattlesnake. I have experienced snakes on trails, usually as they slither away, and one or two times I’ve bunny hopped over them. I came around a bend and was about to do a dip in the trail when I saw a snake curled up in a striking stance. I held up and when I did I heard the telltale rattle. I backed off and threw some rocks to scare it away, but I still heard the rattle when I tried to ride on through the dip. The snake was under a bush hiding, but when I threw more rocks he eventually went on his merry way.
By the time I got back to the Black Canyon parking lot I was already tired—but I was only a little over half way done. I then went back and took the western option. I got a little confused and the river was really washed out. I had to walk around in the sand to figure out where to pick up the trail. I ended the day with my first long mountain bike ride of the year.
- The southern trail continues, but you can see it a lot better coming from the north, not coming from the southern trail head.
- The gates on the eastern trail were a little annoying, mostly because I was very tired. Not sure why they are needed.
- I do like this trail, but I was amazed yet again, how slow your avg. speed is because of all the turning.
- Next time I do the trail I might start even farther south and just ride to the river and back.