“A scenic loop that tours the eastern slopes of Black Mountain and valley over a nice variety of desert terrain.
— Reid Litchfield
This five-mile (almost) loop can be accessed from the southern tip of the 601 Trail via the Jeep Road (500 Trail) that heads towards the power lines. Counter-clockwise travel will have you climb up the lower reaches of Black Mountain’s east slope. This is followed by a long sweeping descent back into the valley, and finally a climb back up to the point where you connect back to the 500 Trail.
There is about a 100-200 yard section on which the trail joins Quo Vadis Jeep Trail before picking up the singletrack on the right side of the road again (just before the last climb to the ’summit’). The climbs are moderate but sustained at the beginning and the end with a well-graded downhill in between.
The trail becomes less obvious and somewhat sandy when you enter the wash and head back towards the starting point. Watch for stacked rocks to mark the singletrack and keep you out of the wash.
This run offers fantastic views of Black Mountain, solitude and an amazing variety of terrain. Its primary challenge relates to the amount of climbing you do to get there and its distance from the start of the 601 Trail. You’re still five-plus miles from home when you finish the 701 Trail Loop so make sure you have water and a snack.