John and I have traveled a lot of the back roads of Arizona. But this road trip was a first for us. We took the back road between Prescott and Crown King, called Senator’s Highway. There are many ways to get to Crown King, some easier (via the freeway), some harder, like the nasty notorious back road – which I hope never to take again!
Senator’s Highway is the old stagecoach route built in the late 1800’s. It was the road that connected the many mineral mines like Bode Mine, Bradshaw Mine, and Crowned King mine.
Arizona actually had 4 capitol cities before settling on Phoenix as it’s permanent capitol. Back in 1864, Prescott was it’s capitol…. then in 1867 it moved to Tucson… in 1879 back to Prescott… until finally moving between Prescott & Tucson to Phoenix in 1889. The old Senator’s Highway connects Prescott all the way to Phoenix.
This old two track stage coach road is a seemingly endless meandering, incessant switchback of a road. It took us 5 hours to get all of the 37 miles between Prescott and Crown King, and that was in our modern vehicle. There’s a story that airplanes overhead can see the road at night because of all the glittering glass left over from the broken booze bottles that passengers would throw overboard when they would get liquored up for the tortuous trip.
Not only does it host gorgeous views and grand vistas, it is also home to one of the oldest still standing stage coach stops, Palace Station. Palace Station is still used by the Forest Service as quarters – off limits to the public.
While it was a slow going road, it was well graded and a beautiful drive, well worth the trip… and a wonderful day’s adventure.