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Carefree, Arizona, United States

Backway to Crown King 4x4 Trail

Steep climb goes from desert to cooler mountains

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 (2 votes, 1 review)
Difficulty: Difficult
Length: 34 miles / 55 km
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
Overview: This is a challenging four-wheel-drive route but is also a great historical tour. Your trip will be greatly enhanced if you learn a little about the area before you go. A book I’ve found most helpful is Crown King and the Southern Bradshaws: A Complete History by Bruce M. Wilson. It explains the history and development of the mines and mining towns with pictures from the past. Knowing how things looked back then will help you understand what remains today. Located in Prescott National Forest. For current conditions call Bradshaw Ranger District (928) 443-8000


Difficult. Most of this route is easy to moderate; however, there are a few difficult places that will challenge stock vehicles. The road has gotten worse over the years, especially the steepest part in the last four miles. Erosion has exposed more rocks and deep ruts have formed. Aggressive stock vehicles with good articulation can get up this trail but they may need to stack rocks or be helped with a tow strap.

This trail is one of 100 trails from the book, Guide to Arizona Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails (2nd Edition), by Charles Wells & Matt Peterson, and is available at

Tips: This is a very popular trail on the weekends. Drive carefully and watch for ATVs and dirt bikes. Take plenty of water and sun protection.

Trail conditions can change without notice. FunTreks, Inc. and its owner and employees are not responsible for injury, death, or vehicle damage as a result of using this guide. The content of this guide is the property of FunTreks, Inc. and is made available to the user pursuant to EveryTrail’s Terms of Service (

Points of Interest


Start Here

Follow paved road north

Right on Cow Creek Road

Follow tracklog north as paved road changes to dirt. Turn right on Cow Creek Road.

Large Staging Area on Right

Unlicensed vehicles should unload here.

Road on Right Goes to Humbug Dam

Stay left on main road. Road on right goes to Humbug Dam, an interesting historic structure.

Champie Road

Continue north where Champie Road joins on left.

"CK" Rock

Look for rock on right painted with large "CK" letters indicating turn to Crown King. You'll continue north on easy road for a while across private land before trail enters the Prescott National Forest, where conditions gradually get more difficult.

Forest Road 192

Make an important right turn uphill at switchback on Forest Road 192.

Oro Belle Mine

Pass Oro Belle Mine as trail turns north through townsite. Note remains of various structures. You'll soon turn left across a very rocky dry creek and begin climbing a steep, narrow shelf road with difficult spots in places.

Senator Highway

You intersect with major dirt road called Senator Highway #52. The town of Crown King is to the right. Road changes to County Road 52, on which unlicensed vehicles are technically not legal. Many take their chances to reach Crown King, but expect a ticket if you run into a ranger.

Crown King

Turn left into town of Crown King, where you'll find the popular Crown King General Store and several eating places. The last time we were there, gas was still available, however, there was talk for a while that they might stop selling gas. Licensed vehicles can continue on County Road 52 all the way out to Interstate 17. Unlicensed need to turn around and return the way they came.
Pictures in this guide taken by: FunTreks, FunTreks, Inc.

Copyright 2011 FunTreks, Inc
Fun drive, has a little bit everything (wish the creeks had some water through). Dirt road until the last few miles, sharp turns, ground clearance a must. Nice views of Lake Pleasant early on.
Visited on Jul 06, 2013

by akapty on Jul 09, 2013

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