Phoenix to Crown King (AZ)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Zeid, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. Zeid

    Zeid Adventurer

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    I personally think this is a must ride for anyone within a day's distance, but that's just me and what do I know? It's an awesome trail, but beware, if you are scared of heights there are some high points with dropoffs where the trail can get down to one lane. In my opinion it's not that terrible though, a lot less nerve racking than the Apache Trail and a lot safer feeling. It is definitely a fun ride, a great trail with a lot of diversity through a lot of interesting scenery and very well maintained although it gets rough enough in parts to stay interesting. All in all, just a great fun ride. It takes about an hour to an hour and a half getting up there and some how a little less getting down. It's supposedly about 30 miles of trail off of I-17 to get to Crown King. I forget which exit it is but it's about 25 miles north of the 101 when you leave Phoenix. You take the "Bumblebee/Crown King" exit and follow the twisty paved road that soon turns to dirt. It's pretty strait forward and there are signs letting you know which way to go at the few forks in the road. You can access it from Bloody Basin road as well but that trail supposedly isn't nearly as interesting so I didn't bother with it.

    Crown King Arizona is a tiny, old western town quite literally up in the mountains between a bunch of peaks filled with big pine trees. You get the sense of stepping back in time when you get there, especially since the only way to the town is via about 30 miles worth of trails. They have a couple of nice restaurants, cafe and a general store. Good food is easy to find here and there are a couple of very quaint little bed&breakfast / motels as well, although be warned, while there is gas available at the general store they only have 87 and 89 octane, no 91 or above.

    I would have taken more pictures but started the ride a little bit too late in the afternoon, so I didn't have as much time to stop and snap as I would have liked. I'm sure many others have ridden this and posted it but this was my experience. Don't forget to get your "I Survived the Ride to Crown King" sticker for your panniers at the General Store.

    P.S... Watch out for the cows.

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    #1
  2. Psycho18th

    Psycho18th Been here awhile

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    Good pics. Thanks for the report. Crown King is definitely a nice destination, especially when it starts heating up in the valley. It will be 15-20 degrees cooler up there in the pines. For a big bike, have you continued along the Senator highway through to Prescott from there? If not, you may want to check it out if you have more time next time.
    Psycho
    #2
  3. Zeid

    Zeid Adventurer

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    Sounds fun, how tough is the route? Is it about the same as what you deal with going up from I-17? If I'm by myself it's not a big deal but with Mrs. Zeid I try to keep it decent to good condition trails.
    #3
  4. dandyrider

    dandyrider You Ride? I Ride

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    I am going to do that ride the next time I am in Prescott. Thanks for the report.
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  5. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Been here awhile

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    I attempted to drive to Crown King in my SUV once. I made it no further than the watering hole in Cleator. That was the grumpiest bar tender I had ever met. My kids loved him.
    #5
  6. Zeid

    Zeid Adventurer

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    You're welcome!

    And the grumpy bartender in Cleator, is that the little hole in the wall right after the split leading to Meyer?
    #6
  7. eaglescan

    eaglescan Borrego rocks

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    I did the Senator on my X challenge alone, and it was lots of rocks and very remote feeling. It took me 1.5 hrs, to do the first 17 miles and never stopped once for pictures. Once it started the downhill part , I split off to Pine Flats and Mayer. That was easy.I remember a sign right out of CK, this road not maintained, they should have said EVER!! Anyways, everyone rides different and has their own level of danger
    #7
  8. Zeid

    Zeid Adventurer

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    Thanks for the info, much appreciated. I'll look for a little less "challenging" for now. I've done some super dangerous riding and am at a point in my life right now where I just like the enjoyable stuff through pretty scenery.
    #8
  9. EsconDeasy

    EsconDeasy Ectomorph

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    I rode the Senator from CK to Prescott on my Tiger with Anakees. If you have moderate skill on the bike, it won't be a problem
    #9
  10. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Been here awhile

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    Yes. Cleator is at the turn off to Meyer. The smooth road goes to Meyer. The rough road leads to Crown King.
    #10
  11. xdac

    xdac n00b

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    The fun way is from lake pleasant. Most of t he sections have been graded now, so not as challenging
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  12. Zeid

    Zeid Adventurer

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    Really? I heard that route was advanced mode. They've graded it? Any googlemaps images of the route?
    #12
  13. Psycho18th

    Psycho18th Been here awhile

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    Last time I rode down that route, it was pretty smoothed out. Nothing like an actual road, but much easier than it had been in the past. You end up face to face with side by sides and kwads flying up the route now, so way too dangerous. I personally stick to the really gnarly Singletrack routes, or the road itself to avoid the head on collisions.
    Psycho
    #13
  14. DurtKlod

    DurtKlod Long timer

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    Zeid,
    That is a fun easy ride.

    The back way to Crown King from Lake Pleasant... yes, most of the really hard stuff has been smoothed out but it would still be a prety challenging ride on a bike of that size. Not saying it couldn't be done, but I think you'd be in over your head, especially two up.

    Senator Highway... It's been about a couple of years since I've ridden Senator but at that time, it too had been "smoothed out". Based on how it was two years ago, you could do it... probably even two up. It's no picnic on a 1200 but it could be done if you took your time.

    Sounds like the ride you need to take is from Cave Creek through 7 springs to Bloody Basin and then out to I-17 just below Cordes Junction. Not as easy as the front way up to Crown King but still pretty easy on a bike like yours.
    #14
  15. Zeid

    Zeid Adventurer

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    Thanks for the advice. I actually have already done the Senator Highway two up at that :evil It was tricky and stressful but mainly because I had the wrong tire pressure when I did it. I've wanted to do it again.
    #15
  16. motocityktm

    motocityktm Been here awhile

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    The "back" way is pretty much a road with a few tough sections, I took my wife tow up on our 1190 the Sunday after Christmas and it was a nice ride, doable 2 up on the big bike. Happy to set that ride up again for any interested.
    #16
  17. motocityktm

    motocityktm Been here awhile

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    Here are some shots from the "back way" 2 up on our 1190. The biggest issue we had with the ride was dodging RZR traffic coming down otherwise only had one minor almost tip over...oh and a kidney stone reared it's ugly head just after lunch so that was a long ride home! Yes, it does take some experience and a properly set up bike but very fun ride for the big bikes.

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    #17
  18. Zeid

    Zeid Adventurer

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    Love the way you've got that KTM set up, looks very nice.
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  19. jenkkimike

    jenkkimike Been here awhile

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    I rode from Phoenix to Crown King on my father's Yamaha XT600 last winter. It's a great ride and I recommend it to anyone who happens to be in the area. It was amazing to go from 80 degrees surrounded by palm trees and cacti in Phoenix to 40 degrees, snow and pine trees in a matter of a couple hours!
    #19
  20. Psycho18th

    Psycho18th Been here awhile

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    Just did seven springs with some other inmates last week, but went onto fr16 down to the verde. Seven springs seemed very big bike friendly. Haven't done bloody basin, but if it's like seven springs that would be a nice route. Fr16 was definitely more DRZ oriented.
    Psycho
    #20