Elephant Rock Arch - Sierra Ancha, AZ | HikeArizona
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Elephant Rock Arch - Sierra Ancha, AZ

Guide 19 Triplogs  0 Topics
  4.3 of 5 
no permit
231 19 0
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,351 feet
Elevation Gain 451 feet
Accumulated Gain 900 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4-5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.5
 Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Ruins, Historic & Seasonal Creek
 Dogs not allowed
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28  2022-07-03
Sierra Ancha Elephant Rock Arch and Mesa Ruins
15  2022-04-30
Elephant Arch and McFadden Peak Lookout
42  2021-11-19
McFadden Horse Mtn Elephant Rock Arch loop
18  2019-10-16
The McFaddens & Elephant Rock Arch
11  2019-05-04 jamminaz
15  2018-06-29 kingsnake
20  2016-08-24
12  2015-09-19
McFadden Super Loop
Page 1,  2
author avatar Guides 7
Routes 10
Photos 572
Trips 15 map ( 77 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location nomadic
Associated Areas
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Preferred May, Oct, Sep, Apr → 7 AM
Sun  7:23am - 5:52pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2016 Juniper Fire30.6k

it's all about the destination
by eru

Sierra Ancha Wilderness off-trail hike starting off of upper Hwy 288 (The Young Highway) for this out-n-nack hike to Elephant Rock Arch. You might consider including a peek over an unnamed canyon along the nearby edge of the mesa.

From the parking area on 288, it's pretty moderate off-trail through rolling fairly open forest, with a few gullies to drop in and out of that don't pose any real difficulty. The worst aspect is the grapefruit to football-sized rocks littering the forest.

As you get near the Indian ruins (in pretty rough shape) it'll get a bit bushier, but with some route finding, you can wiggle around nearly all of it. From the ruins and some open spots near it, you can look out at the arch - always cool getting a different perspective on something!

The climb up to the arch isn't too bad - an open forest with some cattle tracks going through it.

GPS is recommended due to this mostly being under treeline until you're basically at the arch (slope angle shading for the climb to the arch itself is handy), but don't spend too much effort trying to follow the official route here. I was within 300 feet of it most of the time when I checked my position occasionally and didn't hit any hazards. Depending on the time of year you might want to go a little high or low to avoid vegetation, etc. It's a good general path to follow, but there are no needles to be threaded aside from perhaps getting up onto the rocks where the arch is (though options there are pretty obvious).

If you're experienced with reading natural features and placing yourself on a map you'd probably be fine, heading back to the highway it's fairly obvious where the open slope with the ruins are, and once past it you can aim via McFadden Peak (non horse-trail) with the lookout on it. I'm unsure of visual reference points heading over, but if you keep a steady elevation line you should eventually get sight of elephant rock.

Great views out from the arch itself and the surrounding area, it's well worth wandering around a bit, taking it in, wrapping up around the back of it, etc.

Given how scenic it is and the proximity to the highway I'm surprised there's not at least a social or old horse trail here. The terrain isn't rough, but it's also pretty forgettable for the most part.


You can do this as a loop hike vs there and back by combining this with the related McFadden Horse Trail hike as described in this triplog.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2021-11-23 eru
    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 $$

    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Globe, AZ
    Highway 188 north to Hwy 288 north. Hwy 288 north to start of 5.5 mile GPS Driving Route.
    page created by Grasshopper on Feb 19 2014 5:28 pm

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