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Little Elephant Head - Santa Rita Mtns, AZ

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3.32 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,588 feet
Elevation Gain 560 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,000 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.32
Interest Historic & Peak
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
19  2021-01-16
Two Heads are better than One
Author DixieFlyer
author avatar Guides 58
Routes 528
Photos 7,311
Trips 481 map ( 5,935 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Fountain Hills, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar → Early
Seasons   Late Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:38am - 7:22pm
Official Route
1 Alternative

A pachyderm head a day keeps the doctor away
by DixieFlyer

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Little Elephant Head (elevation of 5,139' with a prominence of 439') is in the western Santa Rita Mountains, lying just outside of the Mount Wrightson Wilderness. It is 1.4 miles south of its higher and better known sibling, Elephant Head.

The hike begins at the Elephant Head TH in Agua Caliente Canyon. This is the trailhead for the Elephant Head - South Approach hike.

From the TH, take Quantrell Mine Trail #141 for about 0.7 miles until you see a trail going off to your left (at GPS coordinates 31.70110, -110.93523). This trail is unnamed and unsigned, but there is generally a rock cairn at the junction. Take this well-worn and easy-to-follow trail to the summit of Little Elephant Head. There are 3-4 false summits on the way, but if you persevere, you will make it to the summit, where you can enjoy awesome 360-degree views of the surrounding area.

This is mostly a class 1 hike, although there is a bit of class 2 hiking along the way. The tread is mostly friendly, although there is a bit of scree and loose dirt. There is no climbing involved, but you will likely need to use your hands for balance in a couple of places as you near the summit.

This part of the Santa Ritas was home to some extensive mining in the early part of the 20th century. The mines produced considerable amounts of gold, silver, and lead ore during their heyday.

This is a tough 3-mile hike, and it will give you a good workout. Hardy hikers may wish to combine a hike to Little Elephant Head with a hike to Elephant Head; after all, two head are better than one!

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

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2021-01-17 DixieFlyer
    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 $$

    Coronado Forest
    MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
    Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From anywhere in Tucson, head south to I-19. Take I-19 south to exit 56 (Canoa). Take the roundabout underneath I-19. Make a right onto the east Frontage Road south for three miles to Elephant Head Road. Left on Elephant Head Rd for about one and a half miles and turn right onto Mount Hopkins Road. Take Mt. Hopkins road for 5.5 miles and turn left/north onto FSR 183 which is marked by a "KMSB" sign. Follow FSR 183 for about two and a half miles until it approaches the basin of Agua Caliente stream. There is a dirt parking area on the right just before the road dips to the stream crossing. Walk back down FSR 183 in the direction you just came for about 100 feet and look for the FS trail marker.

    FSR 183 is unpaved but it is generally well-graded and virtually any vehicle can drive it, particularly when it is dry.

    This is the same trailhead that is used for the Elephant Head - South Approach hike.

    GPS coordinates for the Trailhead: 33.53950, -110.83881
    page created by DixieFlyer on Jan 17 2021 7:28 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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