Car Camping in Crown King
The beginning of summer in Phoenix, AZ means getting the fuck out of Phoenix as much as possible for the next few months. That's why my girlfriend and I decided to head to Crown King.
I had never known that Crown King was a camping destination but a friend of mine, can't remember which one, said it was a great place to spend a weekend. Then I started to hear from other friends about their Crown King experiences and they were all positive; so Friday afternoon we loaded up the Subie and headed north up the I-17 to get the fuck outta dodge and the fuck away from 100 degree temps.
Just shy of an hour outside of Phoenix you hit the exit for Bumble Bee/ Crown King where you head to the bottom of a canyon and meet up with nothing but dirt roads for miles. First you travel through some farm land that can be seen from the Sunset Point look out until you start to climb back up into Cleator. A better person than I would stop and have a drink in Cleator but being as how it was out first time headed out this way, we wanted to find out camp spot so we drove past the bar, waved at the locals and kept trekking on to the Prescott National Forest.
Not too much further down the road, we came upon a Subie that had passed us earlier; they had a flat tire but forgot their lug wrench. Luckily I had mine and was able to help get them back on the road. Then we kept driving until we got to Crown King. There are a few bars and restaurants in Crown King but we passed those too so we could find a camp spot. After some searching, we found a dispersed camping spot and set up camp.
e stayed at our camp spot for the rest of the day hanging solar lights, making chili dogs and building a fire to snuggle up next to. Unfortunately, not too much later we found out that a fire restriction was set in place and we had to put out the fire. Good thing we had those solar lights. We slept in the tent but kept the rain fly off so we could see the stars. It was a beautiful night.
The next day we made our way further down the rocky dirt roads to a body of water that had group camp sites near by. The pond was best for fishing but the camp site had a restroom that was a site for sore bowels. This is where we got some gravel grinding done to explore the area. There was a recreation site hidden in the area with basketball and tennis courts. We also ran into the folks who got the flat tire who were now on bikes exploring as well. Yes, their bike tires were all devoid of flats!
After the gravel grind, we headed back to camp and set up the hammock. While my lady rested I got out the shovel and started carving some lines through the nearby woods and made a short little trail. A few more days there and I probabaly would have put Crown King on the MTB maps!
fter a couple hours of trail building, we tried our hand at a Dutch oven pizza! Without the fire, we had to make due with using the propane stove. It gets really hot, really fast so the bottom got a little burnt but otherwise the pizza was fantastic!
We then pounded some beers and headed to the tent! Sunday morning we got up early, made breakfast burritos, and decided to not waste any time before packing up. We were ready to head home. Crown King is about as far south as the Prescott National Forest goes so it was pretty warm during the days. While it's not a great summer get away it's a cool place with good amenities nearby. I have yet to check out the local bars but hope to on future trips!
Finally, all trips up north wouldn't be complete without a trip to Desert Donuts! This place has nothing but cake donuts! They're fresh and warm and they don't put on any toppings until you order them. That means you can get them customized any way you want! I always end up getting a donut with some sort of chocolate and peanut butter toppings. Delicious!