Black Canyon OHV Trail

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4.6/5 (9 reviews)
Black Canyon City, Arizona (Yavapai County)
Last Updated: 06/08/2023
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Trail Information


Altitude Category Icon Altitude
Desert Category Icon Desert
Scenic Category Icon Scenic
Water Category Icon Water

Trekking between the Table Mesa Recreation Area and Black Canyon City, west of I-17, Black Canyon OHV Trail is a scenic, rocky, and narrow 4x4 trail that follows an ancient pack trail over steep rolling hills and deep dry river beds through thick and thriving high desert vegetation. This trail provides a great mix of challenges and views and is a fantastic adventure-filled day when combined with AZCO Mine Trail.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Black Canyon OHV Route, also known as the Backway to Black Canyon City, is a straight-through, two-way trail that parallels the Black Canyon Trail's hiking network. The trail begins in the Table Mesa Recreation area on the south and ends in the northern residential areas of Black Canyon City. The southern half of the trail is not difficult as you drive on slightly rough dirt through gentle curves and hills. However, the trail is skinny in spots, only one vehicle wide in areas where passing cannot be accomplished. Always look far ahead for oncoming traffic, and make mental notes of pull-out opportunities.

Before you reach the mid-way point, north of Slate Creek, the trail becomes extremely rocky with large rocks, loose dirt, tighter turns, and steep hills. The rock garden in this section is unavoidable and will require a good spotter, a good line choice, and a highly capable vehicle with larger, aggressive tires. The rough terrain you encounter throughout this trail keeps your speeds extremely low; thus, this 9-mile-long route can take several hours.

Trail Reviews

4.6/5 (10)
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Rated 5/5
Visited: 02/25/2024
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

Based on the rock garden obstacle at waypoint 11 alone, I am going to rate this harder than a 5. This one obstacle makes this trail a 6 minimum, maybe even a 7. If you have smaller than 35" tires you are going to struggle at this waypoint without help. I ran the trail from north to south, so maybe that made it harder coming down instead of going up. Aside from that, great trail. Very peaceful start from the north, but ending up in the shooting range at the south entrance and seeing all of the trash everywhere left me disappointed in the end.
Trail Review: Black Canyon OHV Trail - Jason
Trail Review: Black Canyon OHV Trail - Jason
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Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/23/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Was a very fun trail. Took us about 3 hours, in two IFS vehicles with minimal lifts. There are a few spots with rocks that will get you hung up if you don’t pick a great line. As stated before there is one section that can get pretty scary with IFS, get ready to 3 wheel hard. Expect pinstripes in a full size suv, quite a lot of brush in tight spots.
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Rated 4/5
Visited: 06/19/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Fun trail that gets quite rocky in sections. The desert looks pretty dry and brown right now but I imagine it is an amazing trail with amazing views in the spring. Pin-stripey, 12-24" boulders.
This trail guide's difficulty was changed on 03/23/2023
Visited: 11/18/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Well I Have to say this is a beautiful trail and would be real good trail to bring out friends that are newish to 4x4 wheeling. Now I would have to say that the trail for the most part is easy. The area between way point 14-15 is more difficult then the trail rating of 3. The steep angle of the trail and the large boulders that high center your rig are concerning. There are 3 hard areas inside way point 14-15 that will hang up rig and make this trail harder then noted. I also ran this trail south to north alone and that might have also given me a little more anxiety about the difficulty of the area. All in all a great trail and a must do to see the views. I would say running this trail from North to south would make the treble spots easer with gravity on your side.

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