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matt@expaz

Crown King and Minnehaha to Wagoner

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A friend and I went up the back way to Crown King on Friday, camped along Senator Hwy, then went down to Minnehaha and out through Wagoner. I have to admit I was a little dissapointed in the trip up to Crown King. This was my first trip up there and after years of people telling me how difficult it was, we found most of the road had been recently bladed. I was sort of looking forward to the challenge. Don't get me wrong, I loved the trip. The area was awesome. It was high-clearance 2WD to Kentuck's Cabin, then it got a little rocky from there to Oro Belle Mine (but I would rate it an easy 2.5 out of 5). It was bladed from Oro Belle to Crown King and was very easy again. There are the optional bypasses along the first portion of the trail that can be done if you want a challenge, but all of these are optional. The road to Minnehaha (from Senator Hwy north) was also bladed and 2WD almost the entire trip to Wagoner. There's a short, rocky area about 1/2 way to Wagoner that I would rate a 2 out of 5. Very scenic though. For everyone who doesn't have a lift kit, over-sized tires and lockers and have been wanting to do this trip, now is the time. It should be passable by most stock 4WD trucks. This trail changes quickly, so in another month or two, it may be challenging again. Here's some photos:

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Great trip report and pictures. We will have to venture there soon. As for the difficulty of the trail (or lack thereof), I believe there maybe another trail elsewhere that is the heavy rock crawling area and due to it being so close to the Crown King area the users have called it such. My two cents:D

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This was definitely the back way into Crown King. My friend who went with me had done it many times before (about 10 years ago). We tracked it with GPS coordinates from the AZ Backcountry Adventures book. There are the optional bypasses that you can choose to do, but you don't have to. Some of these look very challenging. And the blading looks very recent. You could see some of the damage they repaired from some huge washouts that looked a few years old.

 

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I believe there maybe another trail elsewhere that is the heavy rock crawling area and due to it being so close to the Crown King area the users have called it such. My two cents:D

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By the way, no pics of Cat-dog?

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I have done the back way to crown king for years. I used to (about ten years ago) own a 83 cj7 with a Chevy 350 and one ton axles. Ran 40 inch tires. Depending on what the weather did it used to be a fun trail for that rig. The last couple years it seems they want the side by sides to be able to get up there and spend there money. The last trip I took up there in my current jeep I never put it in four wheel drive. I still like the run but miss the challenge. Gret pics and trip report.

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Yeah too bad, but still plan to get up there this summer.

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Unfortunately, Cat-dog couldn't go on this trip. She was really sad. Next time! Even without the challenges, it's worth the trip.

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the backway to crown king has never really been a major challenge, even when you go up just after a major rain storm. In the past few years its seems they are wanting to make it a dirt road. the grader has been keeping about 2/3 of the the road bladed flat. The Oro Bell area is the one section of trail that changes the most. Ever since they relocated the road out of the creek bed it has remained an easier section. For now there are some "bypasses", which are actually remnants of the original trail, are about the only real excitement. There are some side trails out in the area that lead to some of the smaller mines that don't get a lot of traffic and they will have some obstacles. Great trail for taking the out of town visitors on when the weather is nice. Nothing like stopping at the general store for some fresh made fudge for the trip home.

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The real constant blading started about 7 years ago when land was the big thing. Investors and owners wanted access to their lands for prospective buyers. Oro Bell keeps getting trampled. The big storm about 10 years ago washed out the old trail as it passed through Oro Bell. Now the trail has been rerouted up through the site. It breaks my heart to see people drive up and over some of the remaining wood structures there.

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As I read your trip report it looks like you went all the way up to CK and then back around on the Senator to the road to Minnehaha. You can also cut straight over from the back road to CK and come out at the Button Mine which is where the dozer picture looks like... Although the last time I saw the dozer it was in a lot better shape than it looks now. There also used to be an old dump tuck and a massive portable diesel generator at the Button, which was quite a site by itself. I am sure the troglodytes have managed to vandalize it more since I visited it.

 

If you go wayyyyy back down to the turn off for the back way to CK - where the rock is with "CK" painted on it (or at least it was about 8 years ago), you can keep on the "main" road instead of taking the back way. Traveling further, there is another back way up but instead of dropping you off at the Senator you end up on the Minnehaha Road itself.

 

I did that Road one summer after a big monsoon and there were numerous scary (and very full) water crossings to make. Plus out in the middle of nowhere are those massive ranches with little sections of paved road !!

 

I stopped doing the back way up quite a while ago. Toooo much traffic; it was like a freeway and then there was always the inevitable moron with a totally preventable break down who would end up blocking traffic. Like the Suburban (!) with TWO flat tires and no spares. Talk about "out to lunch!!"

 

Oro Belle is sad because it is literally being trampled into history, like a lot of great old places in this state.

 

I found out a long time ago that just because people can buy a 4x4 doesn't mean that they can drive any better off road than on.... then there's the whole manners thing....

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