Video: Discovering The Black Canyon Trail

Apr 15, 2015
by Rocky Mountain Bicycles  
Views: 17,049    Faves: 101    Comments: 13


For some, adventure is defined by harrowing near-death experiences. For me, having the intent to adventure is what defines it—even just getting away from civilization for a short while. And with that in mind we organized a trip to Arizona’s Sonoran Desert for an overland bikepacking trip early this spring: three self-supported days on the Black Canyon Trail’s 80 miles of secluded singletrack.

Discovering The Black Canyon Trail

The roll-call included Olympian Andreas Hestler, shiny new tattooed freerider Geoff Gulevich, renowned filmmaker Brian Vernor, Rocky Mountain product guy Alex Cogger, and washed up old freerider Yours Truly. Our goals were to escape the Pacific Northwest’s winter weather and to test Alex’s fancy new bike design.

bigquotesUltimately we probably did pack too heavy, but there are the necessities of course: coffee, chocolate, down, wool, and whisky. - Wade Simmons

We fumbled with our gear for hours in the parking lot of a Prescott motel the night before departure, packing and re-packing, adding and discarding. Ultimately we probably did pack too heavy, but there are the necessities of course: coffee, chocolate, down, wool, and whisky. Fully loaded, our steeds probably tipped the scales at 45+ lbs, and I was less and less sure that this was going to be fun.

Discovering The Black Canyon Trail

There was something liberating in the first few pedal strokes that next morning leaving our drop-off zone, an innocent abandon of responsibility and order that comes with an uncertain weather forecast and only a vague itinerary. Fortunately, the overland bikes performed just as Alex had promised. It was evident in those first few miles that having our houses and kitchens packed along with us wasn’t going to keep us from having fun. It might have been the combination of increased overall mass and over-sized tires, but whatever it was we were having a blast absolutely ripping up the desert terrain on these fully loaded pack-horses—skids, drifts, airs, and all.

Discovering The Black Canyon Trail
Discovering The Black Canyon Trail
Discovering The Black Canyon Trail

bigquotesBetween the bullet-holes in everything and the buck-naked rider we ran into on day three, it was clear this trip was about getting weird in the desert. - Wade Simmons

The Black Canyon Trail runs roughly 80 miles North to South. Beginning on a high plateau, it winds through rolling grasslands before descending into a landscape of Saguaros, Chollas, and other Sonoran Desert flora. We were treated to chilly nights and frosty desert mornings, but once that sun rose, layers were peeled and we had to contend with the steady, relentless heat of the day. The landscape we encountered was fully alien to us, full of incredibly beautiful things just waiting to stab you the moment you stray from the trail. Between the bullet-holes in everything and the buck-naked rider we ran into on day three, it was clear this trip was about getting weird in the desert.

Discovering The Black Canyon Trail
Discovering The Black Canyon Trail
Discovering The Black Canyon Trail

We had been modest in planning our daily mileage expectations, allowing for explorations up various drainages, relaxed lunches by the Agua Fria river, and the necessary sessioning of worthy trail features. Each night however, our camp spot was reached a little later than expected, assembling tents and cooking dinner by the light of our headlamps.

Discovering The Black Canyon Trail
Discovering The Black Canyon Trail
Discovering The Black Canyon Trail

bigquotesThe best adventures are the ones that inspire future adventures. - Wade Simmons

Black Canyon Trail image
Discovering The Black Canyon Trail

Grizzled old-timers and keyboard adventurers alike might be disappointed by the lack of hardship we encountered—water wasn’t hard to come by, we ate enough, the bikes worked flawlessly, and the dire weather forecast never materialized. But for us, the trip was a complete success. We had a blast, it was an insight into new possibilities, and the best adventures are the ones that inspire future adventures.

_______

Words by Wade Simmons
Photography by Margus Riga
Film by Brian Vernor
Produced by Brian Park
Music by Brandon O'Connell
Featuring the Rocky Mountain Sherpa
Ridden by Wade Simmons, Geoff Gulevich, Brian Vernor, Alex Cogger, & Andreas Hestler

Presented by Rocky Mountain Bicycles, Manitou, & Pinkbike.
Supported by Overland Journal, Arc'teryx, Porcelain Rocket, Exped, & Defy Products.
Thanks to Scott Struve, Luke Musselman, Julian Coffey, Christophe Noel, Jo Salamon, Scott Felter, Benoit Deshayes, & Paul Breedlove.


MENTIONS: @RockyMountainBicycles / @ManitouSF / @wadevsimmons / @Margus / @Gulevich87



Posted In:
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33 Comments

  • 21 1
 All these backpacking trips are awesome! We could all use a break from all the smartphones and internet stuff that follows us around all day everyday now in our pockets. Definitely something I want to try out. Camping with the homies at night and shredding with them during the day. Sounds like a pretty unbeatable trip!
  • 5 0
 @kylemcnulty23 get after it! Bike adventures are the best adventures!
  • 1 0
 Check out hermosa tours! (hermosatours.net i think). They do a black canyon bikepacking trip and a bunch of trips all around colorado. The guys are awesome, my buddy and I try to do pickup groups with them at least once a year. They pack in all your gear, food, beer, etc.. and you just crank out 30-40miles a day. it's a blast!
  • 10 0
 My favorite part about Rocky Mountain videos: those folks always look like they're having the genuine time of their lives. This is the kind of spirit I want to see in people who design and build bikes, and it's probably why I feel like a kid every time I throw a leg over my Rocky.

Keep it up, RM! And thanks for all the joy!
  • 6 0
 rocky mountain keep their sponsored rider, this is the way to go we all know that gully, tippie, hestler and simmonds ride RM bike for life
  • 3 0
 Our organization just did a weekend trip out there recently and it was a great time. It took volunteers years to sculpt these trails and I say thank you as well! Visit or camp at Bumblebee Ranch if you head that way..great folks! Rocky Mountain did a great job of showcasing the area..can't believe I missed Gully and Wade!!!
  • 4 1
 I visited Phoenix a couple of weeks ago and rode Black Canyon with some of the locals. Good times! Great climbs followed by as many fantastic descents. Nothing crazy, just fun and beautiful. Lot's of incentive to stay on the trails. You'll come ripping around a corner and a big fat cactus will be right there laughing at you. I spent a lot of time pulling cactus needles out of my fingers! If you visit Phoenix, I recommend the ride! Stoked to see @RockyMountainBicycles help the trail and builders get some well deserved attention.
  • 5 0
 Jumping Cholla are no joke, I think I still have those little cactus bastards in my hands and feet from growing up in Phx.
  • 7 1
 That looked like shit ton of fun.
  • 2 0
 A group of us from E-town were in Sedona at the Red Agave Resort and realized that we were next door to the Rocky Mountain lads. They were very cool and super friendly especially when they found out that we were from Canada. We also spent a day at Black Canyon and it was one of many highlights of the trip. I have two Rocky Mountain bikes so it's good to know that I'm supporting an adventurous and progressive bike company. I like drinking beer and I don't care if people abstain or not, but if I was filming a bike trip video with my friends, there will be beer drinking. Simple as that.
  • 2 0
 Good to run into you guys down there! Always nice to grab a beer-or-other-non-alcoholic-beverage with some Canucks abroad.
  • 4 0
 subliminal 27.5+ promo vid
  • 2 0
 Come on Rocky I got a final 12 hours after and stop putting awesomeness on PB
  • 3 0
 BCT!!!!! Awesome that the RM Crew visited Prescott, and rode the BCT!
  • 6 0
 You guys have some awesome trails down there! Really impressed with the volunteer efforts that made the BCT happen.
  • 2 0
 We are very fortunate to have all these trail networks in Arizona...From Flagstaff to Sedona/C. Wood to Prescott, BCT, Phoenix, Tuscon. And at some point down the road the future plan is to connect the BCT trail right into our Prescott trails.
  • 2 0
 Rode BCT last October, was awesome! Thanks for the video guys, brought all the great memories back.
  • 2 0
 Nice work dudes! That looked awesome.
  • 20 23
 the amount of emphasis on drinking and beers is ridiculous, you'll probably down vote me, but i care about the sport, drinking isn't a sport unless you ask a frat star. I could care less about your IPA's and shit and would rather have my videos consist of bike riding. i get it, establishing environment and shit. a camp fire and cracking beers and some BBQ and those rip off MRE's could do for that, don't need so much of it. Rant over.
  • 8 3
 You mean to say 'couldn't care less'... .
  • 6 5
 As a non drinker I strongly support your post. I am in a group and sometimes I dislike the drinking culture part of the sport. I don't think it is necessary to have a drink after a ride in order to enjoy and be able to say "oh what a great time" actually is when I have the least cravings for a beer, out in the wild.

Darn, I wish I could communicate better to make more emphasis in what I am trying to say... darn!
  • 2 3
 As a (moderate) drinker I support your post TFreeman.
  • 6 3
 "Would rather have my videos consist of bike riding" well this isn't your video, they were just sharing their experiences. This was a video documenting their trip, not a video full of bangers with whips all day. Having a few post ride brews was just a part of their experience. Their successful mountain bike athletes not alcoholics. Tippie is sober and everybody loves him, nobody gives a hoot whether he drinks or not. These guys were riding all day everyday, not getting completely slammed. Yes alcohol might be a part of the mountain bike culture, but nobody's pressuring you guys to drink and if they are, then you prolly should stop talking to them.
  • 3 1
 exactly @MDRipper they spent 3 FULL DAYS ON TRAILS!!! they should have LOAAADS of footage of trail riding, great scenery shots and all that greatness. i'm saying there is much more to their trip than the bars the stopped at.
  • 2 0
 I do agree that there was a lot of filler clips and three days does sound like a lot of time, but filming riding on a trip like this takes a lot of time and effort, especially if the guy filming is riding with them. I tried filming myself riding on some trails that i made and it took prolly two weeks to get about a minutes worth of footage that i thought was somewhat worth watching (still not really that good). I think the video could have been a bit shorter, but the video still made me wana go on a ride like this someday, with or without the booze.
  • 1 4
 ALL OF THIS IS A GREATER BICYCLE INDUSTRY ILLUMINATI MOVEMENT TO CHANGE THE FACE OF MOUNTAIN BIKING AS YOU KNOW IT AND MAKE MORE $$$$$. IN TWO YEARS ALL THE FAT ALCOHOLIC DADS ACROSS AMERICA WILL BE TRADING IN GOLF CLUBS FOR 29 AND 27.5 PLUS BIKES. THIS WILL RESULT IN THE DESTRUCTION OF YOUR TECHY SINGLE TRACK TURNING INTO IMBA FLOW TRAIL BLAH BLAH FOUR FOOT WIDE PAVEMENT SMOOTH. THESE "PLUS SIZE RIDERS" WILL BE SLOW AND INEXPERIENCED AND STOP YOU FROM TRIPLING THE FEW "ROLLERS" THAT DO EXSIST ON THESE SAID FLOW TRAILS. KILL YOUR COMPUTER AND JUST RIDE YOUR BIKE THE WAY YOU ALWAYS HAVE.
www.pinkbike.com/photo/12011648 THIS IS THE NEW FACE OF MOUNTAIN BIKING ACCORDING TO ROCKY, TREK, BLAH, SURLY WAS DOING ALL THIS SHIT 5 YEARS AGO, BLAH.
  • 3 0
 A big part of the "filler" content was to show the unique culture this trail flows through.
  • 3 0
 Not sure what video you watched but I saw quite a bit of actual riding footage. If this isn't your cup of tea, there are tons of "sick edits" out there with non-stop smash cuts of brown pow slashes and slow mo whips set to horrible EDM. I found this to be refreshing break from the aforementioned dreck.
  • 1 0
 Great video! Really enjoyed it!
  • 1 0
 Man I miss BCT. Probably the best trail I ever rode while in Phoenix area.
  • 4 6
 Multi day bike trips are the shit. Best part is you don't even need a weird wannabe fat bike to do them!
  • 2 3
 Why 27.5+ Why..... Frown I'm perfectly happy with my now old school 2.2 tires
  • 16 2
 And there's nothing wrong with your 2.2 tires! We're not going to go down the path of saying a new wheel size is a magic bullet for all things—27.5+ is awesome in certain applications, but it isn't going to be for everyone and our "regular" bikes aren't going anywhere.

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