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Backway to Crown King

3 Reviews
Location Crown King, AZ
Rating Difficult,
Length 25.3mi
Time 5hrs

Vehicle Types


Popular, challenging offroad adventure to historic Crown King.

Popular and challenging 4-wheel-drive route with lots of history. We’ve driven this trail many times over the past 20 years, and each time trail conditions were different. On our last drive, we even found a newly routed section through a challenging rocky creek around active mining. non-street-legal vehicles are allowed on roads inside Prescott National Forest. You should be street legal to ride on Cow Creek Road, but we saw several ATVs that were not. Fines are possible.


Trail Ratings Defined

Most of the trail is maintained, but a good rain can make it more difficult. Very steep and rocky in spots, with one obstacle you can’t bypass. Some short sections of narrow shelf road. Skid plates recommended.






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Current Conditions

(928) 443-8000Prescott N.F., Bradshaw R.D.

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Submitted by Keith
Great trail, but very rough. The bypass at an active mine is literally down a boulder stream channel. The weather was still pretty warm with most of the ride being south of the Prescott NF, which is where there are ponderosa pine trees. We went during the week and were surprised that all of the stores in Crown King were closed when we were there for lunch. The only store open was the gas station which only had to go sandwiches and some frozen food you could microwave. Not very tasty. It is not safe to ride this trail by yourself.


Rate this trail on a scale of 1 to 5.


MAS says

This trail is a Phoenix classic. That said, it is a trail of two faces. On the bright side, the lower half, until the riverbed, offers 6-7 great optional challenges for people who want to test themselves and their rigs in serious terrain. On a different note, driving the entirety of the trail gets one to experience the landscape change from Sonoran Desert to Pine forest. On the downside, the trail is overcrowded, at least on weekends, and while there were only a couple of actual challenges in Fall 2018, the trail was simply not fun for me to drive, unlike trails such as Broken Arrow or Red Rock Powerline. It was a "meh" experience on the whole, partly because of the length to fun ratio. I think it deserves 3 stars on account of its positive features, but it is very low on my list of trails to re-drive. Then, again, others really love the trail, so opinions will vary.

AC says

Took my KLR650 through this trail at the beginning of 2020. I WOULD NOT recommend this trail on a heavy bike unless you are very experienced with it. It was quite a challenge and the size of the rocks had us getting off our bikes semi-frequently to tag team some sections. Also, was very busy with SxS and jeep enthusiasts. We were the only bikes on the trail that day so I'd say this is geared towards 4 wheel vehicles more than dirtbikes/dual sports. Was it worth the challenge? Maybe. Will I ride it again? No.

Tom says

Long and rocky trail. Hard on tires! I recommend a group or at least a spotter! It is not that hard, but there are places! Quite a chunk follows the rocky creek, like the picture in the book. Do not go when flooded. However they relocated the worst rocks so it is bumpy, but not that hard technically. Most of the rest is pretty easy, I was surprised that big part of the road is quite wide. Navigation is easy, just follow the most used road from CK rock to Bradshaw City. Then right and then left. Apparently is very busy on weekends and the drunks are the worst problem. There are few crosses on the sides. We went on Wednesday and did not met ANYBODY. I kind of counted on potential help from the strangers, but we made it OK alone. It is easier for ATV than for cars as some of the obstacles are quite narrow., ATV fits just right, car not necessary! There are many optional obstacles, for everybody, depending on your skills. Pick and choose what fits your fancy. The main route is not that hard. The only really hard non-optional obstacle is pictured in the book as "Obstacle with large embedded rock." It is actually harder then the picture suggests as there are deep ruts in front and back, dug by all the cars trying to go over it (ATV's just fit in between). The rock is covered by deep scratches! The road partially collapsed behind the rocks. Chances of getting stuck there is good! Skills, spotter, big wheels and lockers needed. It is marked on the route, right before Oro Belle. The views are exceptional, the rip was quite a fun! Deserves 5*! 6/15/22
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