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Located northwest of Lake Pleasant and traversing through three different life zones and multiple biomes, Backway to Crown King is a thrilling off-road adventure that offers a unique perspective on Arizona's rugged and beautiful landscape. This extremely popular 4-wheel drive trail is known for its challenging terrain, steep inclines, and narrow shelf roads. Obstacles, mines, and great views await as you climb from the Sonora Desert into the Prescott National Forest.
Backway to Crown King is a point-to-point off-road trail ascending 5,000 vertical feet over a 25-mile trek. The trail begins as an easy, hard-packed dirt road following along the northern borders of the Lake Pleasant Regional Park. As you trek through the open desert landscape, you'll pass through several secluded residential areas.
After turning onto the Crown King Trail at Waypoint 7, drivers begin to encounter rocky and bumpy sections, with several steep grades and multiple optional obstacles to test vehicle limitations on. The trail continues to make its way up the Bradshaw Foothills providing breathtaking views of nearby mountains and valleys. Drivers will pass through the Transition Life Zone and encounter fields of scrub brush and juniper trees.
At Waypoint 20, the road becomes a true 4-wheel drive trail with boulder-filled creek crossings, narrow shelf roads, steep rocky ledge climbs, and blind corners. Difficulty varies yearly based on road maintenance, weather, and use. Many obstacles along the way can damage any vehicle.
As you climb into the Ponderosa Pine forest, winter snow can make travel impassable. The road once again levels off and becomes an easy, hard-packed dirt road as your journey ends near the old mining town of Crown King.
Expect this trail to be an all-day affair, as it can take 3-5 hours to complete just the Backway portion. The return back to town can take an additional couple of hours.
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