Hike of the Week: Russian Well near Mayer

Matthew JohnsonMarch 31, 2023
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Black Canyon National Recreation Trail: Russian Well Segment, Prescott National Forest

The Black Canyon National Recreation Trail is quietly expanding its northern reach. Efforts to extend the 80+-mile historic route that stretches from Phoenix to the outskirts of Prescott are taking shape in the Verde Ranger District of Prescott National Forest.

One new stretch to try is the Russian Well segment northeast of the town of Mayer.  Situated in stunning back country of rolling hills, washes and scrubby rangeland, this remote stretch of trail is also packed with relics of the area’s past. It’s a starkly beautiful, curious place with multiple personalities.

  • LENGTH: 7.1-mile round trip as described here
  • RATING: moderate
  • ELEVATION: 4,189 – 4,517 feet
  • BEST SEASON: October – April
  • FACILITIES: none


  • From Phoenix go north on Interstate 17 to the Orme/Dugas Road exit 268 north of Cordes Junction.
  • Turn left at the bottom of the offramp and follow Orme Road (County Road 169) 7.1 miles to the trailhead on the left.
  • There’s a Black Canyon Trail sign at the entrance to a large dirt lot.
  • Hike begins at the trail post at the south side of the lot.
  • Roads are maintained dirt suitable for all vehicles.

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