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Elephant Mountain Trail

Intermediate
 4.0 (5)

This trail is part of a great loop into the heart of the conservation area.


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Map Key

2.0

Miles

3.2

KM

Point to Point

3,151' 960 m

High

2,541' 775 m

Low

642' 196 m

Up

505' 154 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

54%

Max Grade (28°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views · Wildflowers

Do not enter closed areas. Do not enter culturally sensitive archaeological sites or collect any artifacts.

Need to Know

Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area is open Sunday to Thursday 6 am to 8 pm; Friday & Saturday 6 am to 10 pm, 365 days a year.

All public access is non-motorized. Remain on designated "open" trails and roads.

Description

The Elephant Mountain Trail starts from the Tortuga Trail about two miles in from the Spur Cross Ranch parking lot. After a short stretch on an old road, it descends quickly into a wash, follows the wash bottom northwest for about 0.3 miles (look for cairns and footprints), then climbs out of the wash to the saddle directly west of Point 3342. This is a good place for a snack/lunch break since there are good views from here.

From the saddle, the Elephant Mountain Trail descends through cholla gardens (be carefull of these) and stands of saguaros to end at the Spur Cross Trail about 1.8 miles west of the Dragonfly Trail.

The trail, while rocky in a few spots, is well-signed and easy to follow. There are no particularly steep or narrow sections.

History:
The trail passes the Elephant Mountain Fortress Site atop Point 3342. This is a closed culturally sensitive archaeology site containing a large rock wall thought to be built by the Hohokam approximately 800 years ago. Parts of the rock wall still stand about six feet high and three to four feet thick. Although the wall might have been used for defensive purposes (hence the fortress name) there is not much evidence to support this. Some archaeologists suggest that the site may have been used as a lookout and/or signaling station. The fortress site along with other sensitive archaeological sites in Spur Cross are closed to the general public and access is generally only allowed when accompanied by park officials.

Contacts

Land Manager: Maricopa County Parks

Shared By:

Bruce Hope

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 5 votes

#9674

Overall
  4.0 from 5 votes
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Trail Rankings

#322

in Arizona

#9,674

Overall
52 Views Last Month
2,051 Since Mar 27, 2018
Intermediate

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Photos

Point 3342 from the Elephant Mountain Trail
Mar 27, 2018 near Cave Creek, AZ
Along the Elephant Mountain Trail
Mar 27, 2018 near Cave Creek, AZ
Along the Elephant Mountain Trail
Mar 27, 2018 near Cave Creek, AZ
Descending in to the wash below Point 3342
Mar 27, 2018 near Cave Creek, AZ
Through the saguaros on the Elephant Mountain Trail
Mar 27, 2018 near Cave Creek, AZ
Sugarloaf Mountain, with Point 3342 on the right
Mar 27, 2018 near Cave Creek, AZ

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Check-Ins

May 3, 2020
Max Litzinger
Jan 4, 2020
Candy Wampler
Dec 2, 2018
K GoGoGadget
Hike the loop CCW, best views and reveals of surrounding valley, with an easy finish.
Mar 21, 2018
Bruce Hope
The park makes this trail sound harder than it is. Good tread, easy to follow, few rocky sections.