for free!

Elephant Mountain Summit - Spur Cross, AZ

Guide 32 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3.4 of 5 
201 32 0
tap 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 MineFollowing
Will recalculate on button tap!
32  2022-03-19
Chalk Canyon Ruins and Elephant Mountain
12  2020-11-03 DixieFlyer
17  2020-03-28
Apache Peak - Elephant Mtn - Maricopa Tr Loop
19  2020-03-28
Apache Peak - Elephant Mtn - Maricopa Tr Loop
8  2018-06-22 gad38
9  2018-03-10 caragruey
20  2018-03-10 Nate_F
8  2018-03-05 caragruey
Page 1,  2,  3
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 1
Photos 10
Trips 0 map ( 0 miles )
Age 35 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
Expand Map
Preferred Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:45am - 7:21pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2005 Cave Creek Complex169.4 mi*

Tough Climb up the Elephants Nose
by PathfinderAZ

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

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 0.82 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 rougher than the other trails, and the park even says it's not regularly maintained. At 0.2 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 vegetation. 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 gets 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 crevasses 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 vegetation 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 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.

    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
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool

    end of page marker