register help

Elephant Mountain Summit - Spur Cross, AZ

153 23 0
Guide 23 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
3.3 of 5 by 12
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6.82 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,359 feet
Elevation Gain 1,846 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,977 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 16.71
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Historic, Seasonal Creek & Peak
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
8  2018-06-22 gad38
9  2018-03-10 caragruey
20  2018-03-10 Naferg323
8  2018-03-05 caragruey
7  2018-03-04 friendofThunderg
13  2017-02-04
Elephant Mountain and Circumference
1  2016-12-30 friendofThunderg
14  2016-01-30 JasonCleghorn
Page 1,  2
Author PathfinderAZ
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 1
Photos 10
Trips 0 map ( 0 miles )
Age 33 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:12am - 6:33pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Tough Climb up the Elephants Nose
by PathfinderAZ

Overview: This is the climb to the top of Elephant Mountain, a notible landmark in Cave Creek.

Hike: I started at the Spur Cross parking lot and walked into the park making a left turn on the Spur Cross trail. Continue on this trail for about .82 miles to the junction of the Tortuga trail and turn right.

At 1.5 miles in you reach the Elephant Mountain trail, this trail is a little more rough than the other trails and the park even says it's not regularly maintained. At .2 miles on this trail you reach a fork with Elephant Mtn trail to the left and the Tonto Nat Forest straight ahead, make a left on the narrower trail through the thick desert vegatation. On this trail you'll drop down steps into a wash and follow it keep your eyes open for rock cairns to guide you out of the wash bed.

At 2.44 miles you reach the jct of Forest trail 252 with a sign that plainly says trail, continue straight ahead to the left of the sign uphill. The trail get quite steep in this area as you make the climb toward the saddle.

At 2.44 miles you reach the saddle at 3175 feet. This is where the fun begins! On the saddle make a right turn and go straight up the ridge of the mountain toward the large rock formations. At some points it might seem to be a path but other times there's no trace of human activity. Once you reach the first rocks you see you are higher than Indian Fortress the opposite direction from the saddle. These rocks have some crevases that would make a cool hiding place. Continue up the ridge to the next set of rocks, this is where it gets a bit more tricky in the route finding.

At the next rocks you might want to travel on the left side of the ridge around them. After those rocks the ridge make a turn to the left and becomes quite narrow. This is where you need to be careful since either way you fall could result in a bad tumble.

Coming up to the next rock formation go around to the left side and then up over, at this point you'll see a false summit. Don't worry you're almost to the true summit. At this point you should notice the vegatation becomes more grass than shrubs at least the time of the year I hiked it.

Once at the top you'll have views of the entire park, Cave Creek, Phoenix, and the route you came up. There is a rock pile some people constructed with a primitive summit register. Those who climb this may want to consider upgrading the hardware as it consisted of an old Tupperware container that's full of cracks. From here to get down just reverse the way you came up. Also be careful with the Teddy Bear Cholla as there are groves of these all over.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2012-02-26 PathfinderAZ
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent of 11 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Elephant Mountain Summit - Spur Cross
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Abbreviated out and back hike along the Elephant Mountain Trail. It was a great day for a hike. It was around 64 degrees with blue skies and a slight breeze. Started in the parking lot and hiked up Spur Cross Trail .9 miles to where it splits with Tortuga trail (sat for a moment on the bench in the shade to quaff a little water). Hiked up the Tortuga trail another .64 miles to the split between Tortuga Trail and the Elephant Mountain trail. Followed the Elephant Mountain Trail about .16 miles to the point where it breaks left while the main trail continues forward toward the Tonto National Forest (sign at this point). Then hiked down the Elephant Mountain trail a short distance for a better view of the Mountain before turning around and returning to the trailhead.
    NOTE: the trail is much improved since my last trek in June. At that time, the trail was deeply rutted and required more labored hiking. While the trail is still rocky in places, it is much more even. I suspect that the trail was grated some to even out the deep ruts that existed previously.
    The desert is really green right now due to the heavy rains in the Fall this year. Brittlebush seedlings are everywhere and non-native weeds and winter rye grass are abundant too.

    Brittlebush are heavily in bloom with swaths of their daisy like flowers on display throughout the Spur Cross area.
    Elephant Mountain Summit - Spur Cross
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Clouds and cool temps in the valley meant it was Elephant season today in the CCRP. I had thought about Skull or Black, but told myself I could not go hiking out until I completed some chores around the house and did not get to the trailhead until one, so just opted for the shorter Elephant.

    I started at Dragon Fly to avoid the fee. I saw a few people on the trails near the trailhead, but nobody after I turned off on Elephant Mountain Trail. The trail to the summit seems to have gotten a little more defined, but that being said, I still had to take a couple minutes a few times to locate the proper route. I spooked a pack of Javelina on the summit, which was about the most excitement on the day. I returned the same way I came.
    Elephant Mountain Summit - Spur Cross
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Elephant Mountain and Circumference
    I was on another timetable for this Saturday.

    I had been curious about some of this area so time to scratch some itches.

    Itch List

    Circumference Of Elephant Mountain - Scratched.
    The western side is nothing exciting, and if you don't have a State Trust Land Permit, ya may want to stay away.
    It appears it gets a bunch of traffic, but I saw not a sole.

    There was about a 2 mile section of trail before I turned on Elephant Mountain trail, that Aravipa Running had an event on. They were all friendly.

    Elephant Mountain Summit - Scratched
    There is a pretty good use trail, that turns into a game trail for the lower 2/3rds of the climb. Only one slightly tricky spot that involved contorting to miss prickly stuff while climbing.
    [ youtube video ]
    I practiced LNT. I left none of me on the mountain, and did my best to take none of the prickly mountain stuff back with me.
    It was a challenge thought scooting down some of the slopes with all the dead cactus needles.

    Rondo Spring - Scratched
    The horseman carved rock I'd seen on previous hikes, peaked my curiosity about the spring. So I had to see it.
    Anyone know the name of the portion of the trail that runs between Ringtail Spring (TR252 at Elephant Mtn) and Rondo Spring?

    Something Else - Scratched
    Elephant Mountain Summit - Spur Cross
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    OK... So this is getting ridiculous. Is Spur Cross Ranch cursed?

    First my abort on the long way to Skull Mesa due to major gastroenterological issues, now I lost my nerve just past the Elephant's head within site of the summit. :scared:

    I have a major LOVE/HATE relationship with Spur Cross Ranch. :y: :scared:

    A previous triplog said it was a bit narrow in places. A BIT? I honestly think if I'd had a more confident person with me that could have led, I could have made the summit. Instead, I fell just a bit short. The fortress at the 1st saddle is really cool with the ruins.

    All in all, a great hike, gorgeous views. If you are the least bit afraid of heights or narrow ledges, don't attempt this one. Will someone go back out there with me because I'm sick about not summitting!
    Elephant Mountain Summit - Spur Cross
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Similar to trekkin gecko almost a year ago from today, "I was looking for another peak." Cave Creek was already on the radar for a short morning hike with Jackie, so I decided I would take her to the Elephant Mountain ruins and then present the summit to her. She wanted nothing to do with the summit, but was happy to stay at the saddle with the dogs. Perfect!

    The route to the summit seems to be getting pretty established and I had no issues. There are some steep sections, a few sections requiring a hand and some loose rock in spots, but it is more than manageable and actually kind of enjoyable. Its just a short scurry up from the saddle to the pretty rewarding summit. Great views of the valley, great views to the north and great views of the Four Peaks and several of the other very easily identified terrain features of that area.

    Jackie only had to wait about 35 minutes for me at the saddle. We took Tortuga to Dragon Fly on the way out to get the dogs some water at the Jewel of the Creek. Jackie liked the little stretch along Cave Creek under the cottonwoods. We were nearly the first car in the lot this morning, but we ran into several groups of hikers on the way out and there were several vehicles at the trailhead.

    Very cool little peak, nice call trekkin gecko.
    Elephant Mountain Summit - Spur Cross
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Elephant Mountain Summit /24th St
    Great hike from the other side! I had climbed the summit from the east a few years ago, but wanted to give the other approach a try. This is off trail for virtually the whole hike, but route finding is pretty easy. There are definitely some substantial cholla spots, but other than that just the steady thud of clambering over rocks and boulders of all sizes. Lots of wild life for this one, a bobcat in one of the neighborhoods on the drive in, a few horny toads, a rattlesnake, and quite a few vultures (none on the road at least...). The drive in was a fun little romp for the truck once through the gate. Hot morning, but all in all a fun hike.
    Elephant Mountain Summit - Spur Cross
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    looking for another peak today
    couldn't figure out what i wanted to do, but saw mt98dew's triplog on this and thought it might be interesting
    got up to spur cross around nine or so
    took spur cross trail to tortuga trail to elephant mountain trail
    hit the saddle and looked up at the summit
    it was very windy through the saddle so i decided to start up and see how it went
    there are signs of a faint trail at times and the first part wasn't too bad - just a lot of cholla
    the only bad part was climbing up to the base of the big rocks
    very steep terrain with lots of scree and loose rock
    once up on a secondary saddle, it was easier going
    i didn't find any exposure issues but there was one little scramble through some other tall rocks
    once on the ridgeline, it was smooth sailing
    the summit had great views, of course
    spent a few minutes up there just looking around
    was a little concerned with getting down the scree part
    looked for another option, but decided to do what i knew and went back the same way
    did a little rumpaging on the steep part
    picked up one cholla ball, luckily close to the saddle because it was a :pk: to get off my pants and then hand :lol:
    continued on elephant mountain trail to make a loop back to spur cross trail
    warm enough to ditch the long sleeve shirt and pant legs
    pants are a must on the summit push
    no summit register, but i did find an altoids box
    several mountain bikers on spur cross
    maybe a half dozen hikers away from spur cross trail
    ran into mazatzal and his wife heading back
    nice to see you again, richard :) maybe a hike sometime?
    the conservation people were out collecting money and selling spur cross shirts, hats and water bottles - packing up as i finished
    hurried home to watch some football, otherwise it would be fun to spend the entire day out here
    a worthy summit for sure
    Elephant Mountain Summit - Spur Cross
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    What a hike. It just keeps getting easier and easier. So much so we ran some of this trip. I wish we could have made it to the top but that is some wicked exposure for me. We scouted coming up the back side from 24th st and Circle Mt rd which seems to be a straight shot right up to the top. We will see. This makes the third trip in a row we have seen here for years and never seen one. Anyway the crew was not happy we did not see summit on this day. We did see some ladies with some nice looking huskies walk right past the do not enter sign and checked out the ruins I'm not sure what makes these ruins the ones that have a sign.
    Elephant Mountain Summit - Spur Cross
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Haven't been hiking in quite some time. Was trying to get in the habit of going once a week, specifically on Sundays but that got derailed as I opted to go to the Flogging Molly concert on St. Patrick's Day which was on a Sunday. Concert was great but it got a little crazy and I ended up losing the orthotic for my left foot which sidelined me for a few weeks while another mold was ordered. Throw in moving and its been over a month since my last hike. I finally found some free time last Monday so I brought my cousin on up to the Spur Cross area to hike Elephant Mountain.
    The weather was great that day. It was the last of the cold front before the 90's hit. Nice and breezy with some big gusts once we got to the top. We followed the well-marked trail system to the saddle then headed to the top. The trail got a little hard to follow once we got to the 2nd rock formations and I'm almost sure we got off track a bit because my cousin's GPS said we hiked about a mile more than is listed. He managed to get attacked by just about every cactus along the way while I survived unscathed Hahaha.. The critters were definitely out that day as my pictures show. It was fun to see. The views from the summit were great, however it was a little dusty that day because of the wind. Nice hike.
    Elephant Mountain Summit - Spur Cross
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Took the Spur Cross trail to the Tortuga trail to the Elephant Mountain Trail. At the saddle I hiked up to the Elephant Mountain summit, descended back to the saddle, then went up the other side to check out the ruins. The Elephant Mountain summit register is toast. It is kept in a decayed plastic container that has gotten wet numerous times. I kept going on the Elephant Mountain trail to the intersection with the Spur Cross trail to make a loop out of the hike. Windy at first then settled to a nice warm breeze later on. Fun hike.

    Permit $$
    Spur Cross Conservation Area $3 per person

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To Spur Cross Trailhead
    I-17 North & Exit 233, which is SR-74 the Carefree Highway. Head east on Carefree Highway 9.9 miles to Cave Creek Road. Head North on Cave Creek Road 2.6 miles to Spur Cross Ranch Road. The road jogs a bit here but you go 4.0 miles to the parking lot.

    It is a well-graded dirt road. As it nears the parking area, the road leads past a large green house, through a tall gatepost and past a corral. There is a large signed parking area. Along the road about 75 yards northeast of the parking area, there is a self-pay station and a small informational kiosk with rudimentary maps. Pay the fee and carry the stub with you.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 35.8 mi - about 57 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 144 mi - about 2 hours 26 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 133 mi - about 2 hours 10 mins
    page created by PathfinderAZ on Feb 26 2012 12:42 pm
    $17 3L Hydration Bladder
    help comment issue

    end of page marker