The Blackrock Phoenix Loop Trail is a 2.8 mile roundtrip hike from the Blackrock Trailhead using the Blackrock and Phoenix trails, along with a .2 mile segment of the Bursage Loop Trail. This is fairly easy hike, good for both beginning hikers and families. The Blackrock Trailhead lies at 2,559 feet in elevation, and the hike ascends to 2,894 feet at the highest point on the trail after 1.3 miles (at Waypoint 14). In addition to the hike described below, both the Blackrock and the Phoenix Trails can be used to connect from the Blackrock Trailhead in The Canyons neighborhood with Anthem area trails including the Anthem East Trail, the McCullough Hills Trail, the Bursage Loop Trail and the Mushroom Loop Trail.
Before attempting to hike the Blackrock Phoenix Loop Trail, make sure that you are prepared and are following the guidelines for hiker safety.
The Blackrock Trail
The Blackrock Trail is an .6 mile unofficial social trail leading from the Blackrock Trailhead, and there are a number of additional social trails that intersect with the Blackrock Trail in this area. Most of the desert area in-between The Canyons to the north, the Sunridge Heights neighborhoods to the west and the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area to the south is owned by the City of Henderson and is subject to a conservation easement. The City has plans to further develop the trail system in this area when funding becomes available. Most of the Blackrock Trail is within this conservation easement.
The Phoenix Trail
The Blackrock Phoenix Loop Trail makes a counterclockwise loop around the Phoenix Trail, using a .2 mile portion of the Bursage Loop Trail. With the exception of a .5 mile eastern portion of the trail leading north from the Bursage Loop Trail that was developed by the City of Henderson, the Phoenix Trail is an unofficial social trail. While not an official trail name, the Phoenix Trail, as can be seen from the map below, is shaped like a phoenix, hence the name. Most of the Phoenix Trail lies within the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area.
The Blackrock Phoenix Loop Trail Map
The Blackrock Phoenix Loop Trail Waypoint Map
Waypoint 1 – The Blackrock Trailhead (N 35.98971° W 115.07931°)
The Blackrock Trailhead is located at the intersection of Canyon Heights Drive and Vestar Place in the Canyons neighborhood. “Blackrock” is not the official name for this trailhead, and the large Blackrock sign next to the trailhead is for the adjacent Blackrock community and not the trailhead. The main trail leading from the trailhead is a .2 mile gravel path that was constructed as part of The Canyons development. Follow this path until the end.
Waypoint 2 – Follow Dirt Trail on the Right Down to the Wash (N 35.98771° W 115.07705°)
At the end of the gravel path, you will see a dirt trail on the right. Take this trail down to the wash. The area around the wash has a number of intersecting trails. Look for the big rock pictured below (Waypoint 3). The Waypoints are fairly close together on this part of the trail in order to lead to the easiest and most direct path.
Waypoint 3 – Cross the Wash (N 35.98710° W 115.07675°)
You will see several trails crossing the wash that have been created by hikers and mountain bikers over the years. The paths leading out of the south side of the wash can be steep and eroded, so be careful of your footing. If you cross at the big boulder pictured above, you will see a path leading out of the wash head of you, which is the location of Waypoint 4.
Waypoint 4 – Turn Right (West) After Exiting the Wash (N 35.98691° W 115.07710°)
After you climbed up the embankment on the south side of the wash, you will find a fairly defined east-west trail. Turn right and head west on this trail. Over the next quarter mile you will find a number of intersecting trails that lead to the various communities around the trail. Most of these communities are gated, so you will only find a locked gate at the end of these trails. The Blackrock Trail generally heads southwest to the left (east) of the communities that you see ahead to your right, so you will want to make sure that the houses stay to the right of you. If you see houses on the left, then you have taken the wrong path. Waypoint 5 is only 75 feet away from Waypoint 4, so soon after you leave the wash you will be taking
Waypoint 5 – Take the Left Fork in the Trail (N 35.98677° W 115.07733°)
After just 75 feet on the trail from Waypoint 4, you will see a fork in the trail. Take the left fork to head southwest. The trail heading west along the wash eventually turns northwest, so if you are heading northwest you have likely missed this turn.
Waypoint 6 – Trail Junction, Continue Southwest on the Trail (N 35.98658° W 115.07755°)
In just 100 feet past Waypoint 5 you will find another trail junction. Continue on the trail heading southwest and up the incline. Remember that you are going to want to eventually be to the left (east) of the houses ahead of you.
Waypoint 7 – Pass Trail on Your Right (N 35.98628° W 115.07797°)
Continuing southwest on the trail, you will see another trail to the right that leads northwest towards the wash. After you pass this trail, the Blackrock Trail turns southeast and into a ravine. The houses should be on your right after passing this point.
Waypoint 8 – Take Left Fork (N 35.98592° W 115.07768°)
In 160 feet you will arrive at a fork in the trail. Take the left fork, which will lead you onto the east side of the ravine. The right fork leads to the community on your right, but continues on heading south on the west side of the ravine.
Waypoint 9 – Cross the Wash (N 35.98507° W 115.07714°)
After traveling a short while on the east side of the ravine, the trail will lead you into a small wash and cross over to the west side of the ravine. The trail then continues south towards the Phoenix Trail.
Waypoint 10 – Enter the Sloan Canyon NCA (N 35.98398° W 115.07677°)
Soon you will see a fence with a small boundary marker indicating that you are entering the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. The fence is meant to keep you on the trail, and the BLM is trying to restore some of the areas that have been disturbed over the years.
Waypoint 11 – The Blackrock Trail Ends, Turn Right (West) onto the Phoenix Trail (N 35.98363° W 115.07664°)
After traveling .6 miles from the Blackrock Trailhead, and just 145 feet after entering the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, the Blackrock Trail intersects with the Phoenix Trail. Turn right (west) here to take the counterclockwise loop around the Phoenix Trail. This .5 mile section of the Phoenix Trail will immediately turn northwest before turning back west and then south on a ridge above and to the east of Anthem Hills Park.
You may notice that the Phoenix Trail is better defined than the Blackrock Trail, and it appears that measures have been taken on the trail to prevent trail erosion. This is likely been done through and excellent program done in partnership with the Friends of Sloan Canyon, the NV Energy Foundation, the BLM and the Great Basin Institute that supports recently discharged military veterans seeking career opportunities in natural resource management. The recruits are trained to become part of the Nevada Conservation Corps and assigned to details performing trail repairs, signage installation, and other on-site work at Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. Over the years I have seen several members of this program performing trail improvements on the trails in the Anthem area. The work performed has been excellent, and the trail conditions in this area have improved greatly by the hard work done by veterans in this program. Normally, the members in this program are wearing green clothing. If you somebody doing trail work in the Anthem area wearing green, please make sure that you thank them for their hard work and their service to our country.
Waypoint 12 – Rock Pile (N 35.98094° W 115.07526°)
As you head south on the trail you will begin to see Anthem Hills Park to your right. At Waypoint 12 you will see a small pike of black volcanic rocks to the right of the trail. The trail is pretty well defined in this area and easy to follow. You will also notice that the trail is taking you toward the power lines ahead of you. Portions of the Anthem East and the McCullough Hills Trails run along these power lines.
Waypoint 13 – Turn Left onto the Bursage Loop Trail (N 35.97975° W 115.07318°)
After traveling 1.1 miles from the Blackrock Trailhead (.5 miles on the Phoenix Trail), you will reach the Bursage Loop Trail at the end of this segment of the Phoenix Trail. Turn left to head northeast for .2 miles to reach the next segment of the Phoenix Trail. The entire Bursage Loop Trail is a 1.3 mile loop that was built by the City of Henderson as an offshoot of the Anthem East Trail.
If you wanted to try a longer hike, adding the Bursage Loop Trail to this hike would make for a 3.73 roundtrip hike from the Blackrock Trailhead. To do this, you would turn right at this point towards the utility road along the power lines, where you would turn left to take the McCullough Hills Trail, and then turn onto the Bursage Loop Trail, which will eventually take you to Waypoint 14.
Waypoint 14 – Turn Left onto the East Segment of the Phoenix Trail (N 35.98043° W 115.07038°)
After traveling just .2 miles on the Bursage Loop Trail, and 1.3 miles from the Blackrock Trailhead, you will see two brown trail markers ahead of you indicating a trail junction. Turn left here to take the Phoenix Loop Trail north. This point is also the highest point on the hike, at 2,894 feet. This segment of the trail was built by the City of Henderson. From both the signage and the maps provided by the City it is unclear what this trail segment was supposed to be named. When I first hiked this segment of the trail nearly 10 years ago, the trail ended in .3 miles at small roundabout at Waypoint 15, which is also the north boundary of the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. At some point, the Phoenix Trail was created to go beyond this point.
Waypoint 15 – Pass the Small Roundabout and Continue on the Trail (N 35.98403° W 115.07130°)
After .3 miles after turning off of the Bursage Loop Trail, and 1.6 miles from the Blackrock Trailhead, you will see a small roundabout in the trail. The trail used to end here, and this marks the end of the trail maintained by the City of Henderson. The north point of the small roundabout also marks Waypoint 15, and it is also the north boundary of the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. The trail will continue north for a short distance until it turns southwest to complete the “east wing” of the phoenix, taking you back into the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. From this point, you will travel .6 miles on the Phoenix Trail before turning back on the Blackrock Trail to return to the Blackrock Trailhead.
Waypoint 16 – Pass the Trail Junction on the Right (N 35.98298° W 115.07177°)
Just before you complete the “east wing” of the phoenix, you will see a trail intersecting with the Phoenix Trail on the right. Continue straight on the trail past this trail. The trail to the right is a small and pretty rough social trail that leads down to the wash near the Blackrock Trailhead, but I would not recommend using this trail (the BLM appears to have tried to fence off the trail at the Sloan Canyon NCA boundary). Shortly after Waypoint 16, the trail will turn west, and later north, to complete the head portion of the Phoenix Trail.
Waypoint 17 – Cross the Small Wash (N 35.98253° W 115.07397°)
After completing the head of the Phoenix, the trial turns west at a small wash. Cross this wash and head west on the trail.
Waypoint 18 – Take the Trail North Towards the Blackrock Trail (N 35.98224° W 115.07471°)
After heading west for a short period, the trail will turn to the north at a small wash at Waypoint 18. From here you only have .15 miles remaining on the Phoenix Trail before you turn onto the Blackrock Trail at Waypoint 11 and retrace your steps back to the Blackrock Trailhead.
Back to Waypoint 11 – Turn onto the Blackrock Trail to Return to the Blackrock Trailhead (N 35.98363° W 115.07664°)
After traveling 2.2 miles from the Blackrock Trailhead, you will have completed the entire Phoenix Trail, and the trail reconnects with the Blackrock Trail on the right. Turn right onto the Blackrock Trail and retrace your steps back to the Blackrock Trailhead.
You can use Waypoints 10 to 1 to help retrace your steps. Below are some photos of the Waypoints looking north to show you how you will see them on your return trip to the trailhead.
The End – The Blackrock Trailhead
After reaching the north side of the wash, follow the trail up the hill leading to the gravel path to the Blackrock Trailhead. When you reach the trailhead you have completed the 2.8 mile Blackrock Phoenix Loop Trail.