Can Treasure Be Far Away
Overview: The symbol of an Elephant historically represents great strength, wisdom, longevity, happiness, royalty, good luck, and ambition. If you have done your homework you would be quick to acknowledge that any or all of these characteristics would be an asset to any adventurer in the Superstition Mountains. Elephant Arch stands guard along the Rogers Trough Road, which is one of the major gateways into the Superstition Mountains. By the time you reach this point 3.9 miles north of Hewitt Station Road I am sure you will realize you have entered a special area. Elephant Arch is watching over those who travel this way and I suggest you stop and admire this marvel of nature, before proceeding any further. These are of course, the Superstition Mountains, what can it hurt to play it safe. Please show your respect and stay off this most fragile structure.
Hike: The hike is entirely off trail. The bushwhack up will involve encounters with typical Arizona plants that stick, poke, and scratch. Long pants and sleeves are a plus and be very careful during snake season. The arch is visible from the trailhead but hard to distinguish from this angle due to a backdrop of rock outcroppings. Just north of the trailhead is a dip in the road. Start the hike in this wash going up to the west. It involves some rock hopping to start with but quickly comes to a smooth rock section that while uphill is easily navigated. The arch can clearly be seen now above you on the right. The wash becomes overgrown. Continue up along the right bank of the wash watching for an opening in the vegetation to make a beeline towards the base of the rock supporting the arch. Once at the base follow it to the left and up, climbing onto this pedestal. Continue around to the right like you are on a spiral staircase to look at the arch and your vehicle at the trailhead below. There is a natural rock vantage point crows nest, (like from a pirate ship) above and just west of the arch for you to enjoy 360 degree views. The arch is situated on flat ground up on its pedestal offering photo opportunities from all angles. Plenty of seating makes this a great lunch spot. At about 20 feet wide and ten feet tall it is quite fragile with the thinnest section less than 12 inches in diameter. Please stay off the arch and treat it responsibly including pack it in pack it out. With karma intact make a loop out of it by facing the road and descending via the wash on your left. Its pretty easy going after the initial down climb off the pedestal. This wash takes you to the road and your transportation is just a short distance to the right.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
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.