Crown King Road

4.2/5 (20 reviews)
In 1863 the Bradshaw brothers, William and Isaac, came to Arizona from the declining goldfields of California. By 1864 they found gold in the forbidding mountains that would eventually bear their family name. Miners and prospectors flocked to the area despite the ruggedness of the mountains and th...Read More
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Highlights of Crown King Road

Altitude Category IconAltitude
Camping Category IconCamping
Desert Category IconDesert
Forest Category IconForest
Ghost Town Category IconGhost Town
Iconic Category IconIconic
Mine Category IconMine
Mud Category IconMud
Overland Category IconOverland
Scenic Category IconScenic
Highest Elevation
5783 ft
Shape of Trail
Straight Through
Typically Open
Year Round
Best Direction
North
Official Trail Name
59
Nearest Town
Black Canyon City
Nearest Services
Black Canyon City
Management Agency
Prescott National Forest
District
Bradshaw Ranger District

Overview

In 1863 the Bradshaw brothers, William and Isaac, came to Arizona from the declining goldfields of California. By 1864 they found gold in the forbidding mountains that would eventually bear their family name. Miners and prospectors flocked to the area despite the ruggedness of the mountains and the fierceness of the Yavapai natives, that still claimed the lands as their home. William, more an entrepreneur than a miner, laid out the Bradshaw Trail and started a ferry across the Colorado River at Ehrenburg, charging unsuccessful California miners a nice fee for access to the new goldfields of Arizona. Mines like Senator, Tip Top, Blue Bell, Tiger, and Ora Belle began highly profitable operations. Rod McKinnon located gold in July 1875 deeper into the Bradshaws than any find to date. The resulting Crowned King Mine became the largest operation in the Bradshaws and spawned the bustling town of Crown King. Crown King got its post office in 1888. Electricity and the telephone arrived in 1897, both still a rarity in Arizona. The Saloon was moved from Oro Belle board by board in 1906 and reassembled on the present site, which was at the time beside two Chinese Restaurants and the feed store. The upstairs featured seven cribs where the town's soiled doves practiced the world's oldest profession. It is now Arizona's longest-operating saloon. The historic photos lining the walls of the bar serve as a museum of sorts. The Bradshaw Mountain Railroad, a true feat of engineering, reached Crown King in 1904 via switchbacks and tall trestles. The railroad ceased operation in 1926 after the mines played out and most of the population left. The rail bed was converted into the scenic Crown King Road with its dual ghost towns of Bumble Bee and Cleator. Today there's only sporadic mining in the Bradshaws. But Crown King has become its jewel. With roughly a hundred full-time residents and perhaps a thousand that have cabins and summer homes atop the mountains, Crown King's population swells every weekend as offroaders and adventurers come to the mountaintop town for a taste of Arizona history. The Magic Bridge transports visitors from the desert below to the towering pines and cool breezes of Crown King. The saloon has live music most weekends. The general store sells a lot more t-shirts than mining pans these days. Campsites near town are filled with happy campers. Even with most of the gold gone, the mountains of the Bradshaw brothers remain full of treasures. Drive on up the iconic Crown King Road and see what you can discover.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Guide Overview
25 Waypoints
77 Trail Photos
1 Trail Concerns
20 Community Reviews
1 Video
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