On this ride, get an amazing view from a high mountain trail and see mining remains of the DeSoto Mine. Vertical shafts drop into the mountain at the end of the trail; use caution.
The best staging for this trail would probably be at the same place for the Crown King Rd. Stage in Bumble Bee and then ride Crown King Rd. to mile marker 15. When you see a ‘Truck Crossing’ sign, take your next right. Continue right at 0.4 miles through the Yavapai County Pit. It is okay even though the signs say otherwise (its only part of the trail). At one mile, the trail begins to get rocky and tippy. At 1¼ miles after a switchback and getting bounced around, you ride through a tippy, rocky section. At 1.57 miles, you come to a gate. The Bureau of Land Management says that you are allowed to go through any unlocked gates as long as you shut it after you pass through it. The next part of the trip (up until the main entrance to the mine) is significantly easier. Continue to the right at 2.7 miles past a corral and a water tank. Notice the pipeline near the corral; this leads all the way up to the mine. Stop, if you want at 3.5 miles to get some good pictures of the trail below. Also, if you stop, you can check out the mine tailings and remnants from the tram as well as some of the remnants of the town here (there isn’t much). Remnants of the tramway include the wheels used to move it and poles used to hold the lines. Looking down, you can see Crown King Road and just past that, you see where former Middleton stood. Middleton was where the tram hauled the ore and where it was crushed and then transported back up to where it sits today. Continuing on uphill you quickly come to the main entrance of the DeSoto Mine at 3.65 miles. Cool air blows out year round as it comes in from the shafts at the top of the mountain. More tailings and foundations remain near the entrance of the mine. The bottom of the mine is full of water possibly to keep people out or maybe just because the pipes still work. Notice the pipe here that leads down to the corral you passed earlier. The trail forks at 3.85 miles. To the left is the easy way to get to the next part. To the right is the much harder way (probably used by pack mules) to the next part as well as access to the trail that leads to Senator Highway. Some people say there is a road block preventing you from continuing up the path to the main shafts of the DeSoto Mine (which is on private property), however, there are no signs and the dirt road block, is no longer effective. If you wish, continue on this trail to the top, climb one of the two hills and then ascend the switchbacks at 4.15 miles. Once at 4.4 miles, the trail ends. The top provide great views and offers exploration. 2 vertical shafts are on the north side of the trail. Use extreme caution when exploring and climbing in this area, there are numerous dangers in this area! At this point turn around and go back down the trail carefully. If you would rather not ‘trespass’ continue on the designated DeSoto Trail which will become eventually to hard for a quad. The designated trail can be reached by turning right at a large brown water tank.
Overall this is a great historic trip but takes some time to get there. We made it from the top of the mountain to Bumble Bee in about 45 minutes but it will take longer depending on how fast you go. This full trail is recommended for only quads or dirt bikes. The whole trip is about 38 miles and should take about 3-4 hours depending how much you want to explore. The trail (as of October 2009) is very rocky condition.
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