Crown King is a high mountain town at an elevation of 1.765m (5,790ft) above the sea level, located in Yavapai County, Arizona, in United States. Much of the road to the town uses an old railroad bed running across desert, over gold mines, and through forest.
Nestled in the pine forest of the Majestic Southern Bradshaw Mountains, the winding road to the town is called Crown King Road (Forest 259 Road). Starting from Interstate 17, the road is 44.9km (27.9 miles) long. It’s a long dirt road. A high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle is required. Most of this route is easy to moderate; however, there are a few difficult places that will challenge stock vehicles. It 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.
The road follows an abandoned railroad bed for most of the drive. Do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. This is a challenging four-wheel-drive route but is also a great historical tour. On the way you’ll notice signs of recent wild fires and mud slides that followed. Along the way, you’ll pass several abandoned mines, collapsing cabins and ghost towns. The town was named after the Crowned King mine, but the name was shortened to Crown King in 1888. The road is usually open even after a snow. The town is home to the historic Crown King Saloon & Café, the oldest continuously operated Saloon in the state of Arizona and has been open for 110 years.
Pic: Carl Chapman