57 Miles

3997 feet


A+ Views

Crown King Road/Senator Highway Overview

The Crown King Road/Senator Highway off road drive is beautiful and has varying levels of difficulty. Sections of the road are wide maintained gravel roads, suitable for passenger cars (Crown King Road and Forest Road 67) and other areas are quite rutty and bumpy requiring a high clearance vehicle (Senator Highway). 

Map & Elevation Profile

Total distance: 56.68 mi
Max elevation: 6638 ft
Min elevation: 2481 ft
Total time: 04:41:46

Maps & Resources for Crown King Road/Senator Highway

Check out these useful maps and resources:

crown king road senator highway off road drive nat geo map 858

Nat geo #858

Bradshaw Mountains. A great map to have lying around for this drive (affiliate link).

bloody basin road arizona road atlas thumbnail

Arizona Road Atlas

You will be out in locations without cell signal and might need to look at a map. Plus can you ever have enough maps (affiliate link)?

What’s our vehicle?

We have a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4×4 edition. It has 9.3 inches of ground clearance and moderate all-terrain tires (no air suspension or any extra ground clearance).

Crown King Road/Senator Highway Off-Road Rating & Road Condition

We started from the Bumble Bee exit (248) I17, drove to Crown King via Crown King Road, onto a section of the Senator Highway, and then back out on Forest Road 67 towards Mayer. You can think of this drive as having 3 sections:

 1. Crown King Road: Easy

This is a wide, well-maintained gravel road. There are a couple of narrow sections with hairpin turns and low visibility as you climb into the mountains. A passenger car should have no trouble getting to Crown King.

2. Senator Highway: Moderate

High clearance vehicles definitely required! Right out the gate from Crown King it gets rocky, sandy, and rutty. As you descend down the Senator Highway it gets narrow and steep. As we were descending, it really started to rain. I was glad we didn’t need to pass anyone. On this steep section the ruts were deep. The section up towards FR 67 has some rocky areas and streambeds to cross but is no problem for a high clearance vehicle.

3. Forest Road 67: Easy

 Very well maintained, wide gravel road. Anything can drive on this! 


First Aid Kit

Store a first aid kit in your car. Add tweezers because this is AZ and there are cacti everywhere. A blanket/sleeping bag is also a good idea if you need to sleep in your car. 

Lots of Water

It’s pretty hot around here and you never know if you will get stuck for a while. Keep a large of amount of water in your car. Calculate the amount of water you need and then double it.

Full Spare Tire, Tire pump & repair kit

You could get a flat and will need the tools to fix it. You don’t want to drive out on a doughnut. 

Drive Notes

We learned about this drive in the Arizona backroad book.

This was the first weekend of monsoon season and as we drove north on I17, there were a lot of rain clouds. After passing Cleator (which is a really cute old Western town), a big rain cloud appeared and this began what would be a lot more rain. It didn’t even cross my mind to bring rain gear. This was a big takeaway for us: when going to the mountains be prepared for all kinds of weather. Living in Phoenix has made us soft. It never rains and we never think about rain gear anymore!

The climb up to Crown King is probably the best section of the drive in terms of views. It’s so scenic!

The town of Crown King is like a Jeep Wrangler commercial. There were fancy Wranglers everywhere! Clearly this is where all the cool Jeep people go to hang out.

Senator Highway Section

As we left Crown King and started on the Senator Highway, the rain really started. I was a tiny bit worried because this section is pretty sandy, rocky, full of deep ruts, and gets steep. It’s also one vehicle wide in many areas but luckily we didn’t need to pass anyone. We took it slow and made it to the bottom without any problems. By the time we made it to the bottom, it was pouring. Large puddles were forming and small streams were running off the road. The temperature also dropped down to 65f!

We continued north on the Senator Highway and this section was mostly flat with rocky sections here and there. On the map, you can a portion that looks like switchbacks. This is a zig-zaggy portion along a hill edge. It has minimal elevation, is 1.5 vehicles wide, and has great views of mountains with trees on them.

FR 67 is a wide gravel road to take you right on out to 69 and the I17.

So, was it worth it?

The Crown King Road/Senator Highway is great! There are tons of great views and options for camping and exploring. I can definitely see us going back and doing the entire Senator Highway! It had a very different feel than Bloody Basin Road.

Hiking Opportunities

On the Senator Highway, you pass a horse corral and an entrance for the Arrastra trail (#275). Next time, I would definitely stop there to walk around. We did stop at a little pullout on FR 67 and walked up a small mountain. Beautiful views in all directions!

Total distance: 0.42 mi
Max elevation: 5644 ft
Min elevation: 5429 ft
Total time: 00:16:46

Photos that will Make you Want to go there:

Get more inspired to get outside:

PCT Trail Journal Day 37: Messenger Flats Campground to Mile 415.1

15.692762 feet up2421 feet down Mile 415.1 (the best campsite!)381.66 hours 7 minutes🌞Getting pizza delivered to the fire station👉Chatting with NOBOs is a great way to get the intel on the trailMay 18, 2023 PCT Trail Journal: Day 37 Messenger Flats Campground To Mile...

PCT Trail Journal: Day 36 Mile 440.2 to Messenger Flats Campground

10.243802 feet up699 feet down Messenger Flats Campground366.35 hours 9 minutes🌞Completing the up and ice cream trail magic👉I like not being rushed in the morningMay 17, 2023 PCT Trail Journal: Day 36 Mile 440.2 Messenger Flats Campground Day 36 on the PCT from Mile...

PCT Trail Summary: Week 5 Mile 549.0 to 49ers Saloon

PCT Trail Summary: Week 5 Mile 540.0 to 49ers Saloon Dates Hiked May 8 - May 14, 202396.012,460 feet up16,067 feet down38 Hours 21 Minutes💛Being warm again 💛Surviving the aqueduct and hiking it when it was cold(er) 💛Getting a trail family and them motivating me! 💛 So...

PCT Trail Summary Week 4: Walker Pass to Mile 549.0

PCT Trail Summary: Week  4 Walker Pass to Mile 549.0 Dates Hiked May 1 - May 7, 202397.1 19,527 feet up18,593 feet down36 Hours 04 Minutes💛The views, wildflowers, & Joshua Trees 💛Other hikers 💛Rest day in TehachapiFinally making it to Tehachapi and getting warm. I...

PCT Trail Journal Day 35: Vasquez Rocks to Mile 440.2

13.652323 feet up2172 feet down Mile 440.2356.16 hours 21 minutes🌞Coffee from the grocery store. And watching a tortoise eating salad for breakfast👉My new insoles seem pretty ok. May 16, 2023 PCT Trail Journal: Day 35 Vasquez Rocks to Mile 440.2 Day 35 on the PCT from...

PCT Trail Journal Days 33 & 34: Accidental Double Zero in Serenity Oasis & 49ers Saloon

00Serenity Oasis & 49ers Saloon342.90 minutes🌞Margaritas & chilling at the mobile 2 Foot adventures👉My feet didn't hurt at all today. Probably because I wasn't hiking. 👉Be careful when cutting insoles. You don't want to grab the wrong foot. May 14 & 15,...

PCT Trail Journal Day 32: Mile 471.4 to Serenity Oasis

16.032464 feet up3524 feet downSerenity Oasis342.96 hours 53 minutes🌞Getting to Serenity Oasis and margaritas!👉It's getting hot out! Going to have to start taking siestas during the dayMay 13, 2023 PCT Trail Journal: Day 31 Mile 471.4 to Serenity Oasis Day 31 on the...

PCT Trail Journal Day 31: Lake Hughes Road to Mile 471.4

14.872303 feet up1644 feet downMile 471.4326.2 5 hours 50 minutes🌞Late start (9:45 am), ice cream from the Green Valley Market and a long break👉Poisonous plants suckMay 12, 2023 PCT Trail Journal: Day 31 Lake Hughes Road to Mile 471.4 Mentally day 31 from Lake Hughes...

PCT Trail Journal Day 30: Bear Camp to Lake Hughes Road

19.261722 feet up4068 feet downLake Hughes Road312.07 hours 38 minutes🌞Chilling by the beautiful stream at the end of the day👉I need shorter mileage days. Today didn't feel good.May 11, 2023 PCT Trail Journal: Day 30 Bear Camp to Lake Hughes Road Let me start by...

PCT Trail Journal Day 29: Hikertown to Bear Camp

13.663937 feet up1591 feet downBear Camp (Mile 504.6)293.05 hours 59 minutes🌞Getting breakfast at Neenach market and getting up that huge hill👉Going uphill is hardMay 10, 2023  PCT Trail Journal: Day 29 Hikertown to Bear Camp On day 29 of the PCT, I slept until about...