There are several ways to get to Crown King. The one we heard about, and rode was from the north end of Lake Pleasant, near the 4 lane ramp entrance.
We had heard several people talk about this run, and had been wanting to do it ourselves. We had a general idea of how to get there, but none of us had ever ridden the road between Lake Pleasant and Crown King. We got some GPS coordinates from some good people over at nevermind. The route we got pretty much followed the road. We had to edit some of the waypoints out to make it compatible with our eTrex Legend.
AnyWho, we put in about a mile north of the Lake Pleasant Rd Tee (not sure if this is the correct name, its the road that runs along side lake Pleasant to the west). From this point you have to drive over Castle Creek bridge. We started about 12:30, and followed the road to Crown King. We were worried about getting lost, but as it turned out the road is so used, there isn't a whole lot of problems figuring out which way to go at intersections. There were a couple of places that were questionable, but it was usually marked somehow showing which way to go. We didn't realize it, but a lot of the road going to CK is on private land, It's our guess the people along the road are getting tired of giving directions to lost people, and just decided to mark the road.
When we started out, I was kind of concerned that the whole trip was going to be on a graded dirt road, and there was not going to be any challenge. I could not have been more wrong. About 8 to 10 miles from where we started the road (I use that term loosely) got pretty challenging. I would definitely consider this run to be for intermediate riders, although some other Arizona Extreme Sports Team members say its a confident beginner trail. I invited a couple of non-riding friends to go along and use my second bike. I was glad that they turned me down, I don't think anyone just starting out would be able to make the run on two-wheels. I would say that a confident beginner on a quad would have no problems. There are some steep sections. This is one of those trails, on a bike, where you are busy the whole time looking for where your front tire is going, and the only time you have for site seeing is when you stop to take a break.
We passed a lot of 4 wheel drive trucks/jeeps, I would think twice if I was going to try this in a truck/jeep. Once you get up into the mountain sections of the trial/road it is definitely a one lane thing. One side mountain the other side cliff. I would hate to have to back up 500/600 feet to get to a spot where I could let someone by, at certain sections I would guess this to be almost impossible.
It took us 2.5 hrs on our bikes to go from where we put in at Lake Pleasant to the Mill Restaurant (I think that was the name of the place) in CK. They have excellent sandwiches. The Rubin is better than Famous Sams, or so they claim. I have never had Famous Sams Rubin, but theirs was pretty good. The prices are kind of high, but for being back in the middle of no where, I guess it gets expensive trucking goods in.
The last 7 miles or so of the trail are EXCELLENT. Once you get up that high you are in the tall pines, and its nice and cool. This was my first trip to Crown King and I was surprised.
We had an excellent time and would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of going, don't worry about getting lost, the road is marked pretty good. It's a great trail ride!
Here are the GPS waypoints marking the route we took.
The format used here is in EasyGPS format. Click here to get EasyGPS (its free)
Here is a map of the route we took.
You will need Adobe Acrobat reader. You can get it here
Here are the Pictures of our experience.