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5:17 AM Thu, Nov. 15th

Getting there: The rugged route to Castle Hot Springs

Wild burros are a common sight along the primitive dirt road into Castle Hot Springs. Signs alert drivers about the possibility of burros on Castle Hot Springs Road, near Lake Pleasant. (Cindy Barks/Courier)

Wild burros are a common sight along the primitive dirt road into Castle Hot Springs. Signs alert drivers about the possibility of burros on Castle Hot Springs Road, near Lake Pleasant. (Cindy Barks/Courier)

For visitors to the historic Castle Hot Springs, part of the adventure is getting there.

Located in southern Yavapai County, the historic resort lies along a primitive dirt road, seven miles from the nearest pavement.

Steve Sampson, director of national sales for Westroc Hospitality, says the company plans to reopen the historic resort in October. Guests will be informed of the rugged terrain when they make their reservations, he said, and a resort vehicle will be available to transport them along the seven miles of dirt road.

For those venturing out on their own, signs along the way warn that the road is primitive with curves and steep sections.

Also prominent along the way are signs cautioning about the existence of wild burros. Sampson, who drives to the resort often, said he sees burros along the road on nearly every trip.

According to information from Arizona Game and Fish, the burros were reintroduced to the area by the Spaniards centuries ago. Although not managed as wildlife by the Game and Fish, the burros are considered “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West” under the Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

The route also offers plenty of views of desert terrain, with towering saguaros, prickly cholla, and flowering hedgehogs crowding the road. At spots along the route, the desert views give way to the blue waters of the nearby Lake Pleasant.

Castle Hot Springs is located about 94 miles from Prescott. The fastest route is via Highway 69, Interstate 17, the Carefree Highway (Highway 74), and Castle Hot Springs Road.

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