Campgrounds near Jerome, Arizona - a great RV Destination!
Hi, Michelle from “Rollin’ On TV.” Laurie’s behind the camera. Today’s story is about a unique small town at the top of Mingus Mountain. This is Route 89A. It goes up the mountain, lots of curves, twists, turns, switchbacks, not really recommended for big RVs. If you’re going north and your destination is Sedona or Flagstaff, you definitely want to bypass this mountain and take Route 17.
It’s a beautiful road. Motorcyclists love it, small campers can get up there. There’s one primary road that goes through Jerome and that’s Route 89A. From the North, you’re leaving Prescott Valley, Arizona, to go to Jerome. From the South, you’re leaving Cottonwood and we’ll show you that in a bit.
The closest RV full-hookup campground in Prescott Valley is the Fairgrounds RV Park. And if you enjoy live horse racing, Arizona Downs adjoins the Fairground RV Park.
Heading towards Jerome, we enter the Prescott National Forest and then the Mingus Recreation Area. In this recreation area there are several camping possibilities. On the left you’ll find Potato Patch. There’s 28 sites and 12 of those sites have 30-amp electric. And it’s designed for RVs with a max of 40 feet. On the right is Mingus Mountain Campground, and they have 19 trailer/RV electric hookups for $14 a night. Potato Patch is $18 a night.
We’re at the top of Mingus Mountain in the Mingus Campground area. This is part of the Prescott National Forest. And now we’re going to go on to the town of Jerome. We start going down in elevation a little bit.
We’re overlooking the beautiful valley of Verde Valley. In Verde Valley is Cottonwood, Sedona, Jerome. There are seven towns included in Verde Valley. Before we show you Jerome, let’s pause and take a look at what it’s like coming up from the Cottonwood side, 89A South.
Cottonwood has an altitude of 3300 feet so it’s lower than Prescott Valley or Jerome and is warmer. There are many, many campgrounds in Cottonwood. Cottonwood to Jerome is only eight miles and it’s a very easily traveled road. If you wanted to bring your big RV up here, we’re going to show you a couple of spots that you’d be able to maneuver in. One of the nice things about coming up this way is you get to see Jerome as you’re entering it.
Just as you pull into the area, notice this old sign on the right. Stop and learn a little bit about Jerome. It was incorporated in 1899 and it sits on Cleopatra Hill. It’s a great spot for that photo of Jerome. And there’s room for your RV to pull over.
Next, on your right, look for the Jerome State Historic Park. There’s a decent-sized parking lot. The Jerome State Historic Park reveals the story of the city of Jerome while preserving the historic Douglas Mansion. The Douglas Mansion has been a landmark in Jerome since 1916 when James S. Douglas built it on the hill just above his Little Daisy Mine. Inside, you’re able to watch a 28-minute video on the history of Jerome mining. It’s very entertaining and narrated by one of the famous ghosts.
This is one of my favorite exhibits. It’s a 3D model of the Jerome mines. There were about 100 miles of mining tunnels beneath the city. In 1912 James S. Douglas purchased and began development of the Little Daisy Mine.
Now let’s continue up the road. Notice, we’re coming into a parking lot and it says: “RV, tour bus, and more parking” straight ahead. If you continue, you come to this parking lot where there is plenty of room and it’s day use only and it’s about a half a mile to walk back to town. Continue on about a half a mile and you reach the Gold King Mine.
When visiting Jerome, there are many things to see, do, experience. Two of the out-of-the-norm things that we enjoy doing and bringing guests to see when they visit are the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town and primitive off-roading. Let’s give you a taste of both of them. Right across the way from the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town is a primitive road. Primitive roads are plentiful in Arizona. A primitive road is generally well graded, dirt, no guard rails, so if you’re afraid of heights, it might not be for you. Phenomenal views. Do bring a full tank of gas, drinking water, picnic lunch. You may be up there all day and just having a blast. So be prepared.
Arizona state law provides that a primitive road is a public roadway that is not a state or county highway and was open to the public before June 1975. There are 255 miles designated as primitive road in Arizona, and they are partially maintained.
Next, we head into the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town. Notice the large parking lot for RVs on the left. The Gold King Mine is rich in history and experiences. It’s fun for adults and kids, as you’ll see. You enter through this historic building into a unique shopping experience and that’s where you pay your admission and enter. This tiny area is actually its own town called Haines, Arizona. And now, let’s meet Steve Ploof, our guide.
Steve: This is the actual mine shaft right here. So these wheels would have sat up here on the head train above the hole, 1270 feet. This is the shaft where they thought they were gonna find copper and hit gold.
When kids come in here, what do they gravitate to? What do they enjoy seeing? Steve: The petting zoo. That’s my pig. So we let all the children come in. We try to keep our pens real clean.
This is a 1928 Studebaker. Don Robertson hand built this car. It’s out of a 1928 but there’s different components. The motor’s courtesy of the first school bus that the City of Prescott, Arizona, had, and it’s a straight eight-cylinder. They needed a bus with a lot of power. So he got the motor somehow, the ’28 Studebaker frame. Now, this is the Amazing Car. We believe that this is the oldest Studebaker car in the world. Out of the 260 made, there are three in existence that we know of. And this is 009. The Royal Family in England has one where they keep their cars, couches, and carriages.
Studebaker, of course, made the finest horse-drawn carriages in the world. So they made these 260 electric cars and they have regenerative braking like the Teslas and the new Toyotas. And of course, you folded the seat ahead in this position and then you could climb in the back. Now, if you wanted to be sporty, you just folded your back seat down and you have a two-seater.
This is a World War II submarine motor and it powers this sawmill and it’s a very rare engine design. That’s a three-cylinder, six-piston opposing diesel.
So, 25 years ago, Don bought this motorcycle fully restored. It’s a 1945 and his favorite bike is this 1955. And I tell you, he raced right up until his mid 60s, late 60s, and so these are two of his bikes. They’re filthy dirty, but they both still run.
Michelle: Well, it’s definitely time for some refreshments. We’re heading up to our favorite restaurant in Jerome: The Asylum, which is inside the Jerome Grand Hotel.