Off-Road Trails – Northwestern Arizona, Part 2

Apr. 16, 2013 By Jim Brightly, KF7SCT
 

Northwestern Arizona Trails, Part 2 Cont.


One of the few technical obstacles on the Sleeping Princess trail can hang you up if you’re not paying close attention.

Sleeping Princess
This is another trail that takes off from SR68; however, this time we’re going north instead of south from the highway. And it’s on the west side of Union Pass instead of east of the pass as the other trails have been, and there’s a bit of pavement on which you can start your journey. Plus, I hate to sound redundant, but this is another favorite of mine. It is also not recommended to travel this trail during the summer because temperatures are regularly above 100°.

If you chose to take the Bob Miller Extension—see text—you’ll soon discover this drop-off.

Turn north off SR68 on Old Kingman Road (this is the old grade). You’ll see the Katharine Mine over your hood, which was huge gold producer in its time (Louis L’Amour, the noted author, worked there as a teenager). About 0.3-mile in turn left on the trail. After 2 miles, take the right turn and watch for a less-traveled trail to the right (about a mile and half). The Vega book warns against attempting this route, so be prepared to a very technical trail from this point on (rated 3, depending on weather and trail deterioration).

As you can see—it’s a doozy! On the way down you become very happy that you have seat belts and a roll bar.

The doozy drop-off puts you into a narrow ravine with just one way out.

Within a mile or so you’ll drop down into a shallow arroyo and see a minor trail come in from the left—this is where you’ll rejoin Sleeping Princess if you decide to take the Bob Miller Extension (rated 4) just ahead. About a half mile on a second track goes to the left. If you’re prepared for a hair-raising almost vertical drop down a slide into a narrow canyon with a very tight left turn at the bottom of the slide, take this left. This is known as the Bob Miller Extension and it contains several steep dry waterfalls, some stair steps, and some off-camber sections.

Northwestern Arizona Trails - Part 1

The way out involves more rock and more off-camber lines.

Once past the drop-off and off-camber lines, you can start climbing back up to the Sleeping Princess trail.

Once you come out again on Sleeping Princess, you can either turn right and return to SR68 or turn left and continue on up to the top of the ridge for an excellent lunch spot. This is another in-and-out trail, not a drive-through.

Marty’s Bronco is able to climb out when it’s dry. Can you imagine climbing this rock face when it’s wet and slick?

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