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Forums › Reviews › Arizona Trail Reviews › Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King to Prescott) - 2.0
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Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King to Prescott) - 2.0
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tibaal89
Trail to Destruction
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Joined: Nov 29, 2007
Posts: 5571
Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:41 pm    Post subject: Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King to Prescott) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Synopsis
Senator highway is a beautiful, easy going trail which runs from Crown King to Prescott. Here, Crown King was reached via the Bumblebee Road. It may also be reached via the "Back Road," which itself warrants a trail review. The entire trip is very scenic and features diverse landscape. During the winter time, a trip after some rainfall might reveal mud and/or snow!

Difficulty
This trail is about getting outside, taking it easy, enjoying the scenery, and having a good time with people. Any reasonable vehicle will be fine... just try not to be demoralized when you see a Scion xB out there.

The trail has been rated a 2.0 for it's general smoothness and lack of obstacles. There is no danger of pin-striping. Weather conditions may make the trail a 2.5 or above as muddiness might render 2WD a bit less than useful.

Length
The full run as outlined below is over 60 miles. At a comfortable pace, it was run in about 4 hours. Leave in the morning, and have lunch in Prescott!

Location
Take I-17 north to Exit 248 Bumblebee Road. It will turn to dirt, and that's about it. There are a few turns along the first part of Bumblebee, but signs will point you to Crown King. There are also turns in Crown King itself. Check out the attached GPS file for clarification.

Aerial of the trail:


This is sort of the big picture of the area. (taken from AZOD - Arizona Outdoorsman)


Pictures
Spectacular views!



Spot the FJ's!


Not your typical AZ nature scene...



This was really funny to see... props to this guy!


Previous AZFJ Runs to this Trail
12/2/2007

GPS Track
Below is a Google Earth .kml track of the trail. The tree cover makes the accuracy on the order of a few hundred feet in some areas, but that is more than sufficient for trail finding here. Also, I'm guessing that is responsible for why I was supposedly going 142.2mph at one point... I think I would have remembered that...

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Last edited by tibaal89 on Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:14 pm; edited 6 times in total
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Itanius
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Joined: Nov 30, 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King -> Prescott) - 2.0 Reply with quote

tibaal89 wrote:
Synopsis
Any reasonable vehicle will be fine... just try not to be demoralized when you see a Scion xB out there.

Now that was funny! Laughing


Nice review, Mike!

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Mr_R2FJ
Obstacle Crusher
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Location: Phoenix

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King -> Prescott) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Great review! You can see our photo gallery here:
Old Senator Highway

I would give this a 2.5 rating at least this time of year. It's not an obstacle course, but 4x4 could be necessary in areas. Old senator highway is not maintained and can be in several states depending on the weather. In our trip we saw a good section of mud, several river crossings (maybe 1' max deep), light snow/ice, and small fallen trees. There will be patches that you swear are maintained (and probably are) and those that probably haven't been touched in years.

If you're going to do this, really make an effort to do it after a good rainfall. You'll be thanking yourself for the extra fun and scenery.


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tibaal89
Trail to Destruction
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Joined: Nov 29, 2007
Posts: 5571
Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King -> Prescott) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Good point about the weather, will update post.

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Mr_R2FJ
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King -> Prescott) - 2.0 Reply with quote

If it's in the middle of the summer with no water, then the trail is probably uneventful, but since I've never drivin it before that I can't comment there.

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Itanius
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King -> Prescott) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Mr_R2FJ wrote:
If it's in the middle of the summer with no water, then the trail is probably uneventful, but since I've never drivin it before that I can't comment there.

Except that big boulder on the trail. It's close to a nice little cliff (~20' drop to a creek bed), but there's just enough clearance to get by safely in the FJ. Larger vehicles may have a more difficult time passing, I would think.

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Mr_R2FJ
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King -> Prescott) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Itanius wrote:
Mr_R2FJ wrote:
If it's in the middle of the summer with no water, then the trail is probably uneventful, but since I've never drivin it before that I can't comment there.

Except that big boulder on the trail. It's close to a nice little cliff (~20' drop to a creek bed), but there's just enough clearance to get by safely in the FJ. Larger vehicles may have a more difficult time passing, I would think.

Good point. I wish we would of got a picture of that. It could turn into a rather impossible obstacle if it moved any further.

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drw_683
Dusty Truck
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Joined: Nov 30, 2007
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Location: Central PHX

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:57 am    Post subject: Re: Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King -> Prescott) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Many years ago I drove an Escort wagon on this loop. It was slow/careful going in some places and I do not remember much water. Although we did stop for lunch and a brief snow flurry blew through. It's probably changed a bit in the last 10 yrs and after seeing the pictures from last weekend I can hardly wait to run the loop again.

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azfjcrusin
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Posts: 402

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King to Prescott) - 2.0 Reply with quote

We did this trail this weekend with the quads. The snow certainly made it interesting. Funny enough 2wd quads don't like deep snow very much.....but we made it. Multiple stream crossings. We're considering taking the trucks up next weekend. Anyone else insterested possibly?



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desertchameleon
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Joined: Jan 31, 2011
Posts: 71
Location: Avondale, AZ

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:59 am    Post subject: Re: Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King to Prescott) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Right now I would not classify this as a "scenic route". I ran the Bumble Bee to Prescott route yesterday thinking it would be a perfect off road trip to get the girlfriend acclimated to back country trips. BB to Crown King is exactly what I was hoping for. But it look 5 hours to get from from CK to pavement.

Old Senators Highway between CK and Prescott has large segments that clearly haven't been touched in years (not complaining!). Given the nature of unpaved, shelf trails weaving through peaks, this could just be the effect of a few rain and snow run offs. The performance of the FJ and even just a little skill behind the wheel will get you through this though. For the most part you are dealing with a one lane dirt shelf road carving through the peaks and valleys of the Bradshaws. When you are out there, consider the lack of modern day machinery when this railway was constructed and the feat of engineering and construction it was for its time! Forest Service does clear the trees, or at least cut them enough for their vehicle to pass! You will run into many washed out areas that don't allow sloppy tire placement. The toughest obstacle on this run is just northwest of the Goodwin Townsite (aka the intersection of the trail to/from Mayer). This is also where the snow and ice really kicked in. There was a significant step up that was heavily washed out, and to make matters worse 90% of the trail from that intersection on was on the north face of the peaks. At this time of year that means not much sun to melt the snow and ice during the day. So this step up also was ice covered from run off that was refrozen. I was able to find a path where the left tires were in mud and the right were on ice. Like we all know, the FJ is a champ when it comes to this and the reason why we don't drive Jeeps. I'd like to see this area without the thick ice. Since this was my first run on this trail I don't know what was below. Most of the switchbacks from this point forward were snow and ice covered (8-12" deep). It gets a little tense when you slide into the turn... The worst was a very narrow segment that was slopped towards the drop off. Feeling my baby slide and catch was freaky. I'm not sure you can even rate this on the 1-5 scale, it's just not smart to do! But at this point we were buried in the Bradshaws and I wasn't about to sleep out there! So I spent the next few miles in 4lo averaging 3-5 miles an hour.

Note that there is no way a Scion was getting through this trail yesterday, and doubt it could do it without the snow. Could it get from BB to CK, yep! But they will be going home the way they came in. I ran this trip solo, but would advise against that if there is any snow or ice.

After hitting Crown King at 2:00pm, we finally pulled into Prescott's Red Lobster around 7:15pm (aka nice dinner to try and earn some brownie points back!). Our waiter added insult to injury by asking her how her day was... So on my receipt he thought it would be funny to give me directions home. I still elected to give him a monetary tip... Evil or Very Mad

A day later I can say "Damn! That was fun!", but it wasn't cool seeing the temperature drop fast. It was 36 degrees when we found the first sign of civilization (a beautiful home buried in the woods I should add!), not long before all of the water would turn to ice.

I wasn't able to get many pictures from CK to Prescott because we lost day light a few hours in, my rig is complete with off road lighting, and we were WAY behind schedule. She wasn't in the mood to take pictures either...
BUT! Here is what I have!
Enjoy! Very Happy
picasaweb.google.com/1...dSjyPKoLQ#
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FatRat
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King to Prescott) - 2.0 Reply with quote

I can second the condition of the CK to Prescott Old Senator Highway. Sewerratt and I ran it a couple of months ago. It surly isn't in the same condition that it was a few years ago when I ran it in a 2wd RAV4. It is a LOT more washed out than I remember. It wasn't anything the FJ couldn't handle in its sleep though. At least from CK to the Mayor turn off. We got to the large step and decided to turn around and head out Mayor (really it was the passengers that decided that). So I can't talk about what is beyond that. I was planning on running it again this summer, after the snow melt, all the way to Prescott. This used to be a road that you could make good time on. I think my wife and I did it in the RAV4 in like 2 or 3 hours. This past time we left CK at about 3:00pm and made the Mayor turn off at around 6:30 or 7:00pm.

DesertChameleon- On this trip we did see a lowered Honda heading to CK from the north. We were absolutely amazed that he had made it as far as he did. We ran into him about 2 or 3 miles out of CK. We have no idea weather he came from Prescott or from Mayor. But after seeing that I wouldn't be surprised at all to see a Scion xB out there. Not sure why they would but it wouldn't surprise me.
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desertchameleon
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King to Prescott) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Fat_Rat wrote:
DesertChameleon- On this trip we did see a lowered Honda heading to CK from the north. We were absolutely amazed that he had made it as far as he did. We ran into him about 2 or 3 miles out of CK. We have no idea weather he came from Prescott or from Mayor. But after seeing that I wouldn't be surprised at all to see a Scion xB out there. Not sure why they would but it wouldn't surprise me.

Funny you say that because we ran into a Honda Pilot headed south into CK. They had to have come from Mayer because they didn't have the clearance to come down the iced step. The Pilot or even a Scion driven by a savvy driver could do the rest of it if they got out and cleared the fallen rocks. I can't speak for the Mayer turn off, but wish I would have gone that way last night. All of the streams/run offs higher up between the Mayer turnoff and Prescott were deep and flowing pretty good from the snow melt. I'd join a run to go back in a heartbeat without the snow and after a dry spell. I'd love to see what I did with day light.
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FatRat
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King to Prescott) - 2.0 Reply with quote

desertchameleon wrote:
Fat_Rat wrote:
DesertChameleon- On this trip we did see a lowered Honda heading to CK from the north. We were absolutely amazed that he had made it as far as he did. We ran into him about 2 or 3 miles out of CK. We have no idea weather he came from Prescott or from Mayor. But after seeing that I wouldn't be surprised at all to see a Scion xB out there. Not sure why they would but it wouldn't surprise me.

Funny you say that because we ran into a Honda Pilot headed south into CK. They had to have come from Mayer because they didn't have the clearance to come down the iced step. The Pilot or even a Scion driven by a savvy driver could do the rest of it if they got out and cleared the fallen rocks. I can't speak for the Mayer turn off, but wish I would have gone that way last night. All of the streams/run offs higher up between the Mayer turnoff and Prescott were deep and flowing pretty good from the snow melt. I'd join a run to go back in a heartbeat without the snow and after a dry spell. I'd love to see what I did with day light.


Yea, the Honda we saw was an Accord I think. I was all of maybe 4 inches off the ground. We think we actually found part of his car on one of the switchbacks. We were laughing all the way home about that.

The Mayor way is stupid easy. There are a couple streams that direction and I imagine they would be about the same that you saw the other way. There are houses and ranches on the Mayor road so they keep it nicely greaded.

I will post when I go again so you know. It will probably be in a couple of months or so.
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SMURFYA
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:00 am    Post subject: Re: Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King to Prescott) - 2.0 Reply with quote

My cabin is on senator highway in a little valley called pineflat I've been doing the crown king run all my life mostly on atvs. There's a lot of cool stuff up there besides CK lots of old mineing equipment and a couple caves not to far from my cabin. I'm hoping to do the back way to crown king this weekend and stay the night at my cabin.

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Jimbolio
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:25 am    Post subject: Re: Senator Hwy via Bumblebee (Crown King to Prescott) - 2.0 Reply with quote

SMURFYA wrote:
My cabin is on senator highway in a little valley called pineflat I've been doing the crown king run all my life mostly on atvs. There's a lot of cool stuff up there besides CK lots of old mineing equipment and a couple caves not to far from my cabin. I'm hoping to do the back way to crown king this weekend and stay the night at my cabin.

Is there room for Camping up there Smurfya?

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