Black Canyon City Dog Track: A Study in Urban Decay
The Black Canyon City Dog Track, from the outside.
Photos by E. Groves
The Black Canyon City Dog Track, about 40 miles north of Phoenix, is both a mecca for squatters and urban explorers and a fascinating study in decay. This massive property has been falling into rapid disrepair since the late 1980s, and remains one of the most accessible abandoned sites in the Valley.
Up until recently, the property was highly visible from the I-17 freeway, just past Anthem. That's because the building had the words "DOG TRACK" painted in big, block orange letters on the south side of the building. The "T" fell off at some point, so it read "DOG RACK" until somebody painted a black "C" on the building and it read "DOG CRACK." Now, the entire thing's been painted over. The dog track's still visible from the corner of Coldwater Canyon and Maggie Mine Roads, where people sometimes park and walk onto the property to explore.
Outside, piles of trash and building refuse bake in the sun next to random, blistered pleather chairs. A vulture circles over a section of the old race track, now covered in soft desert dirt and weeds. And large bushes have sprouted through cracks in the concrete.
And to think, the Black Canyon City Dog Track was once one family's big dream.
A view of the stadium seats, from the outside looking in.
What has materialized inside the building is about three inches of pigeon crap, which crunches underfoot along with myriad broken tiles, glass, mold, and unrecognizable charred things.
The track where the dogs used to race, as it looks today.
The interior is covered in crappy graffiti, including a few spray-painted penises, the word "Money" in bubble letters, the phrase "D.I.Y. or Die," and a couple swastikas. The building's been almost completely stripped of all electrical wiring, especially anything copper.
A pile of busted stadium chairs inside the building.
But what struck us the most was that -- despite the dangers (like stepping on rusty nails or broken glass, having some part of the creaking building fall, and possibly encountering a territorial squatter or zombie) -- nobody seemed to notice or care that we were in there. And after walking around for almost 40 minutes, it was evident that nobody has cared about this building for a very, very long time.
The Black Canyon City Dog Track is located off the I-17, just outside Maricopa County. Click here for GPS directions.
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