|Typically Open:||Year Round|
(EASY - MODERATE)
|Highest Elevation:||1986 feet|
|Duration:||About 1 hour 30 minutes|
|Shape of Trail:||Straight Through|
|Best Direction to Travel:||N/A|
|Nearest Town:||Black Canyon City|
|Nearest Town w/ Services:||Black Canyon City|
|Official Road Name:||9982|
|Management Agency:||Bureau of Land Management|
|District:||Table Mesa Recreation Area|
Today this dirt trail gives access to private property and the Black Canyon hiking trail, but also leads you south to a very skinny, winding, and hilly off-road trail; not too different from how it's was described in the 1930's (https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=kBwOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=vn0DAAAAIBAJ&pg=6746%2C1194561). Old maps also show it continued through parts of today's Table Mesa Recreation Area (likely AZCO Mine Road (https://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1572-azco-mine-road)), and a town call Gillett that is now a section of private property in the same area, near the Agua Fria River. Old Black Canyon Highway is one of the more difficult paths into the Table Mesa Recreation Area with the most challenging part consists of sharp switchbacks on a narrow trail surrounded by cliffs, making it unsuitable for larger trucks and trailers.
Rutted and/or rocky road. No shelves. Rocks up to 12" and water crossings up to 12" with possible currents. Passable mud. Moderate grades to 15 degrees. 6" holes. Side hill to 20 degrees. 4WD required. No width problems.Read more about our rating system
|Fall:||Can be wet from Monsoons|
|Winter:||Occasional wet conditions|
Old Black Canyon Highway trail goes right alongside Interstate 17 as it heads north to south between Black Canyon City and Table Mesa Recreation Area. This spot is right next to the southbound entrance to I-17 on the south end of Black Canyon City (technically in the minuscule town of Rock Springs) and provides plenty of room for staging. There are also some parking areas to the west of the trail intended for use by hikers.
Turn right (west) at this pole to continue down BLM trail 9982. The original Black Canyon Highway likely continued straight ahead, but It's likely best to stay on the marked BLM trail.
Just west of the well-marked turn from Old Black Canyon Highway, onto BLM trail 9982, is a relatively small obstacle. This slight curve has some rocks on it, that any vehicle with decent clearance can easily drive over to give their suspension a little warm up.
Less than a mile from the Old Black Canyon Highway trailhead, you'll find a section full of small hills and washes. If you have poor approach and departure angles on your rig you may find your bumpers a bit scratched up. Good ground clearance is also helpful.
Making up about a third of a mile along the trail, this dry river bed is not difficult to drive through as long as your tires can handle the sand. Avoid this area if there is any heavy rain close by or uphill (north) of this area, as it has the potential to turn into a very lively river. To the left is likely the original Black Canyon Highway, but the trail may only be suitable for ATV's and leads you into private land.
Continuing south on the trail requires taking a sharp left (east) turn into an area of very skinny, winding, steep hills and switchbacks. Passing someone coming from the other direction, turning around, or reversing beyond this point will not be an easy task. Some maps also show the possibility of heading right (west) - further down the wash - leading you into the Little Squaw Creek to the Agua Fria River along a trail named Twister; which also connects to the western trailhead for Rock Bottom (these are all part of the Table Mesa Recreation Area). This direction is likely also the original Black Canyon Highway route as it would take you to the town of Gillette; a town that now only exists as private property but once serviced the Tip Top silver mine.
There are two hills in this area that are not only narrow but also very steep and slanted, giving some exhilarating off-camber excitement. The peaks are also sharp, making it difficult to see what's ahead as you crest, until dropping sharply down the other side.
This is the northern end of a set of very tight and sharp switchbacks. A wide and/or long wheelbase vehicle could likely find this area very dangerous with the likelihood of falling off the cliffs on the side of the trail, thus the higher trail rating as avoiding this area is not optional. As you can see from the pictures, it's easy to sustain damage through this section as there are tight areas next to rocks and cliffs where a wider vehicle or protruding side-step will get caught up and damaged. Running into the Saguaro cacti is also not advised as they are protected with its blooms being the [Arizona State Flower](http://azgolfhomes.com/12-facts-about-the-saguaro-cactus-the-sonoran-deserts-most-famous-plant-arizona/).
From here south is private land, and the warning signs make it clear they expect you to stay on the trail.
This is the southern end of the very tight and sharp switchbacks. A wide and/or long wheelbase vehicle could likely find this area very dangerous with the likelihood of falling off the cliffs on the side of the trail.
This steep hill is covered in rocks, but nothing big or difficult. The most challenging part of this hill is squeezing between the large [Saguaro cacti](http://cronkitezine.asu.edu/spring2010/arizonalaws/nativeplants.html) that are prevalent throughout the Black Canyon area. This is also the southern end of the narrow trail section.
This is the eastern end of the Rock Bottom Trail which follows the Little Squaw Creek to the west.
At this intersection, it's easy to keep heading straight ahead (south), but if you are looking for a camping area, make an almost u-turn to the left and head northwest. From here north is private land, and the warning signs make it clear they expect you to stay on the trail.
9982 turns to the left (west) at this intersection. Continuing straight is un-marked, but will take you onto private land and indirectly towards Moores Gulch Rd.
This is one of the many dispersed camping areas within the Table Mesa Recreation Area. It can also be used as a staging area.
The 9999 trail heads northwest and southeast as one of the main roads through the Table Mesa Recreation Area while the 9982 trail heads northeast towards the Old Black Canyon Highway.
Starting Point: Black Canyon City