TMRA Pipeline Trail
Black Canyon City, Arizona (Maricopa) Technical Rating: 4-7
Last Updated: 10-16-2017
Black Canyon City
Table Mesa Area, Old Black Canyon Highway, Table Mesa Road - West, Little Pan Mine Road, Southern Pipeline Trail, Northern Pipeline
BLM / Table Mesa Recreation Area
TMRA Pipeline Trail Highlights
Officially known as El Paso Gas Pipeline Rd., this off-road trail goes north to south through the eastern portion of Table Mesa Recreation Area. The trail is also a route for the El Paso Gas Pipeline and fiber cables that are also buried along the route. This is a great trail for overland adventures but also has some challenging obstacles along the way. If you are ever in the Table Mesa Recreation Area and don't want to head too far north to find more technical trails, you'll want to check this one out.
Technical rating: (4-7) Easy-Moderate
Rocks frequent and large, 12" and may exceed hub height. Holes frequent or deep (12"). Shelves to 9". Mud 8" deep and may be present on uphill sections. Grades to 25 degrees and sidehill to 30 degrees. Water crossings to 18" and may have strong currents. 1-1/2 vehicles wide. 4WD required. Driver experience helpful.
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Directions to Trailhead
You can also enter from the south off BLM 9999 Trail via BLM 9993 trail. From 9993 south the Pipeline Trail is closed - due to irresponsible users - until you get south of the mine. See the Access Issues below for more details.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates:
34° 0' 15.41"N
112° 8' 34.69"W
GPS Exchange File:
The trail is fairly straight with some hills. One hill, near the southern end, has a particularly challenging line which gives the trail the higher rating. All major obstacles have a bypass, making it possible to do in almost any stock 4x4 vehicle, while still offering some fun challenges for built off-road vehicles.
1: Pipeline & Moores Gulch Rd. (0.4mi)
At this intersection, you'll turn south onto Pipeline Trail. Moores Gulch Rd. continues east to an underpass with I-17 and then the northern portion of Pipeline trail.
If your heading north on Pipeline make a left onto Moores Gulch to head towards TMRA 9999 Trail.
2: North Hill (0.4mi)
This is a non-technical moderately steep hill. Most important to note is the pressure release valve for the gas pipeline that you'll want to avoid as damaging it could cause a gas leak. You can also get a nice view of the southern portion of Moores Gulch at the top of this hill.
3: 9991 Intersection (0.7mi)
Continue straight to stay on Pipeline Trail. The trail to the west is TMRA 9991 Trail, however parts of it are designated for vehicles 60" or less in width.
4: Rutted Road (0.9mi)
These ruts are on the side of the road, so they are an optional obstacle you can play in if you like.
5: Rutted hill (1.0mi)
This rutted hill isn't too difficult if you choose your path carefully, or you can make it more difficult by driving in the ruts.
6: Hill Top (1.2mi)
This is the top of the big fun hill just to the south. There are four paths you can take to get down (or up). Straight ahead, as you head for the shortest path down the hill, is the most challenging part of the Pipeline Trail with large steps and loose dirt on the left, and a less challenging but still technical option on the right. To the west is the easiest but longest way, and to the east is a moderately steep, loose dirt, but a relatively smooth option.
7: Hill Bottom (1.4mi)
From the bottom of the hill, you can see more clearly the challenges of the hill and each option to take back up to the top.
8: 9993 Iintersection (1.5mi)
Pipeline trail continues straight south from here but is closed beyond this section, so you need to turn east onto TMRA 9993 Trail to head back out to TMRA 9999 Trail. See "Access Issues" below for more details about the closure.
9: 9993 & 9999 Intersection (1.9mi)
This is the southern access trail to Pipeline Trail within the BLM's Table Mesa Recreation Area. Last time I was here, it appeared to be miss-labeled as 9992 which is the designated trail number for Pipeline Trail but doesn't match with the BLM's map that labels it as 9993.
This Trail is now partially closed for a couple of reasons. In talking with a BLM ranger, he told me that they were having problems with people shooting off the tops of the pressure relief valves along the trail, as well as shooting towards the I-17 freeway. This led the part of the trail being closed where there are relief values near Table Mesa Road. This is poorly marked with a small shot-up sign just south of the 9993 intersections and blocked along Table Mesa Road with boulders that ATV driver like to go around.
The section on State Trust Land near the mining operation - southwest of Table Mesa Road - is also closed due to the mine expanding; which is unfortunate as there is a very fun hill climb in that area, as well as Chalk Hill. This has also resulted in Raw Deal being closed.
For more details about what trails are officially open on BLM land in the Table Mesa Recreation Area, check the PDF linked to below.
Camping and Lodging
There are plenty of primitive camping areas within the Table Mesa Recreation Area where you can set up a tent for the night or just enjoy a campfire for a while. You can even use the campfire ring as an obstacle to practice with your custom built RC rock crawler as depicted in the picture.
For more details see the BLM's web page.
You can also find plenty of hotel choices half-an-hour to the south in the Northern Phoenix area. There's also the Mountain Breeze Motel within Black Canyon City.