One of my greatest joys this winter season has been the growth and participation at our Black Canyon Training Runs. I first set foot on the Black Canyon Trail back in 2010 after learning about this point to point mostly single track trail paralleling the Interstate 17 which runs North from Phoenix towards Flagstaff.
I didn’t know a whole lot about the trail other than it was known as a mountain bikers paradise. The first few runs on the trail were with my brother Nick, James Bonnett (on a bike at the time) and Boone Ebel. Over the course of several runs (and with very little map information available) we pieced together more than 60 68 miles of the trail.
It was always my dream to build an ultra on this classic course and the 100 kilometer distance seemed to be a perfect fit from the 69 highway down to the Anthem area. A chance meeting with Keith Jones, a Black Canyon Trail Coalition board member on one of those early runs helped facilitate the birth of the run.
Since almost no runner had been on the trail and knew where to go, I organized three training runs prior to the inaugural event in hopes that by race day at least some runners would be familiar with the course. The first few runs were small (maybe 20 people) but over time have grown up!
We’ve had between 80 and 90 runners join us for the first two training runs this winter and it is truly amazing to see the enthusiasm and enjoyment out of this trail. I don’t think a weekend goes by now without me catching someone posting on Facebook some photos or video from a recent training run on the Black Canyon Trail.
If you are curious about this amazing trail or looking for a long run, come out and join us for our final training run of the season Sunday, January 15, 2017. Meet at the Emery Henderson Trailhead and carpool up to Black Canyon City for a run along the final 24.5 mile section. If you only want to go part way, you can alternatively start or finish at Table Mesa Trailhead.
RSVP and coordinate carpools with this Facebook event: Facebook RSVP
Here are the nitty gritty details on the run:
We’ll be carpooling from the finish line of the run at Emery Henderson Traihead to the start of the run at Black Canyon City Trailhead.
Schedule: Please meet at the Emery Henderson Trailhead at 7:00am to carpool together up to the Black Canyon City Trailhead.
Cost: This is a completely free run and anyone who can run the distance is welcome to attend.
Aid: We may have aid along the route if we get someone to host an aid station. Aravaipa will supply the water and food, we just need someone to staff it. Aid if it happens will be at Table Mesa Road ~13 miles in.
Directions to Emery Henderson Trailhead (where we meet at 7am)
1. From Phoenix, head north on the I-17
2. Exit #232 towards New River
3. Head West (left) for 3.1 miles and turn right into Emery Henderson Trailhead
Directions from Emery Henderson to Black Canyon City Trailhead
1. Head back to I-17 and turn North
2. Go 10 miles and take exit #242 towards Black Canyon City
3. Turn left onto Velda Rose Road and go 0.2 miles
4. Turn right onto Old Black Canyon Hwy and immediately turn left onto Warner Road.
5. Follow Warner Road for 0.2 miles to the trailhead
Trail maps are below for those of you who would like to preview the route and / or carry a map: