Towers Mountain/Del Pasco Mine Loop
Climb along a scenic loop that leaves from downtown Crown King travels to Towers Mountain Lookout and past the historic Del Pasco and Crown King Mines. Coast your way back down into Crown King after a fun but short trail.
Where to go:
This trail starts and ends in Crown King, Arizona. Stage in Bumble Bee, Prescott, or at Lake Pleasant and travel to Crown King via Crown King Road, Senator Highway, or the Backway to Crown King first.
From downtown Crown King, head east towards the main road. Just before crossing over the bridge over Poland Creek, turn left onto a smaller road. Follow this north and after a couple hundred feet, stay left on Towers Mountain Road. You could go straight, but overall, it is easier to complete the loop by doing Towers Mountain first. Towers Mountain road snakes through tight forests as it climbs past many residential areas. Use caution around the many blind turns and stay on the main trail by following marked signs avoiding private driveways. Make an important left at 1.3 miles and stay right at 1.8 miles as the trail gets out into the open. This is a very scenic section but with a recent snowfall, can be difficult. Use caution if you attempt this trail in snow – it can be done (we did it in winter of 2015) but be extra careful. The trail continues to climb as it turns north.
Around 3.5 miles, you can begin to see the communication towers on top of Towers Mountain off to the left. At 3.8 miles, you’ll reach a 4-way intersection. Take a left to continue to the lookout. Straight dead ends shortly up ahead, and to the right is where you will be going the lookout. F.R. 52C, as its now referred to continues to quickly climb. At 4.8 you’ll reach the top of Towers Mountain where you can stop at a variety of places. Our favorite is off to the left right before a log cabin. This offers you an incredible view of the entire southern half of the Bradshaws. On a clear day, Lake Pleasant, the Cardinals Stadium, Downtown Phoenix, and Wickenburg are all visible. The communication towers are pretty neat to look at too but are privately owned so stay off. Be careful in the winter as the wind usually causes ice to fall off of these towers.
When you’re done at the top of Towers Mountain up at 7,628 feet, continue downhill back to the 4-way intersection now at 5.8 miles. Continue straight to continue to the Del Pasco Mine. This trail (F.R. 92) gets significantly more difficult. A recent fire has caused roads to be rerouted – trails are narrow and steep in some sections. More capable vehicles can continue but if you’re unsure, you should continue back down Towers Mountain towards Crown King. The trail to Del Pasco climbs up a hill as it gets rockier. Route finding becomes difficult in this section so pay close attention. As you pass more communications towers, stay to the right as the trail goes downhill. At the bottom of the hill, stay left as the trail enters a small drainage. Follow this as it turns right downhill. The turnoff for the Del Pasco mine is just after 6.6 miles on the left. The 0.2 mile spur trail isn’t well traveled and after the recent fire we found it blocked by a down tree. If the tree is still down you can hike in 1/4 of a mile. At the Del Pasco is an old school bus, a small conveyor belt and rock tumbler and a dump truck. There used to be a couple of buildings on the site but those have since collapsed. The Del Pasco is a relatively remote site and it’s neat to check out while you’re here.
When you’re done at the Del Pasco, continue back to the main trail and turn left. The trail climbs up a moderate hill and is rerouted up and over where the old road used to go. At 7.9 miles, the rerouted road rejoins the main trail near the Gladiator Mine (private property) and turns right to go downhill. From this point on, the hill remains a steady down grade and with careful turning and braking, you can literally coast all the way down (about 3 miles). Just before 8.3 miles, off to the right is the former site of the War Eagle Mine. The mine has since filled in but used to exist right off the road. The trail passes a large and distinct house at 8.5 miles as it turns right. There is a sharp left turn at 9.6 miles where the Crown King mine (site) is straight ahead. The road is closed and you can’t see much from the gate. The trail continues in a southerly direction and continues past more houses. The trail rejoins Towers Mountain Road at 11.0 miles just a few hundred feet from downtown. Continue back to the main road in downtown Crown King.
Notes & Trail Ratings:
The first half of the trail from Crown King to the top of Towers Mountain is fairly easy most of the year. As long as there is no snow on the ground, almost any high-clearance vehicle can make it. Things obviously change with snow. Past Towers Mountain, the trail gets narrower and rougher around Del Pasco Mine. The downhill route back into Crown King is a pretty long and consistent hill which is why we chose to complete it downhill, not uphill. The whole loop is rated a ‘5’ because of the sections around the Del Pasco Mine. This trail is perfect for OHVs but is also suitable for high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicles. Allow 1-3 hours to complete the 11 mile whole loop, with time for stops.