Elephant Mountain Trail is a 6.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Cave Creek, AZ that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
NOTE: Elephant Mountain has been purchased by a private owner and is no longer accessible.
I know the secret to finding shade on this trail! I hiked Elephant Mountain twice in one day on the last weekend of May - at 8:30AM and 3PM (Sunrise 5:18AM; Sunset 7:31PM). Both times I took Spur Crossing/Tortuga/Elephant Mountain. On the morning hike, there was virtually no shade at all. On the afternoon hike, there were many long stretches of shade particularly after the 3-mile saddle crossing. There was a bit of a breeze that even made it feel very cool in the afternoon shade on the 93 degree day. I hike pretty fast, and easily completed the hike in 3 hours. I did not see the ruins. :( I saw only a handful of people on the morning hike; not a single person in the afternoon. Note that of the 7 mile hike, only the 2 miles of Elephant Mountain Trail are rated difficult; the rest of the hike is moderate; since I like difficult trails, that was a slight negative, but still a 4-star trail for sure. Many gnats and flies followed me around in the low areas, but didn't bite. Incredible desert views from the high points on the trail make this well worth a visit.
Great hike lots to see
great hike. worth trying. not so steep.
Nice hike. No shade. Trail does not go to the top of mountain.
30 minutes from home and only saw 5 people on the entire Elephant Mountain loop on s Saturday. Be sure to gaze at the ruins as you pass through the saddle. Total hike was 7.5 miles from where we parked. Green grass and large cacti in some of the washes. Ocotillo were blooming on 30 Jan in one place. We will go again--3 bucks is very reasonable just don't forget cash. Also, we were fooled by some parked cars just before the actual parking area, so keep going!
Did this hike when I was young probably around 10 or so it was fun went with my brothers I'll do it agin one day
Awesome spectacular views pristine beauty rocky steep adventure not to be missed !
excellent hike. 7.5 miles, including a detour at the top. accurate measuments too (Fenix). spectacular springtime scenery, all in bloom. moderate ability, but only for the length, not very technical.
We saw more deer than people on the trail today. The trail goes over the saddle of elephant mountain. At the crest, you can see the ruins of an old pueblo along the promontory to the east. It's a very enjoyable hike, but be forewarned that there is very little shade on the western side of the loop.
So... yeah, I must have done something wrong because I took the right entrance from the trailhead and took 48 to Skull Mesa, but realized I wouldn't have gotten back in time. So I ended up taking 252 assuming it would just loop back... so 4 miles on 252 and I look at the map on my phone and realized there's no way I'd be connecting anytime soon so I turned around. So 8 miles, but it was a nice view!
Took Spur Cross to Tortuga to Elephant Mountain Trail, looping back on the Spur Cross Trail. Total of about 6.5 miles. Moderately difficult on the uphill climb to the saddle. There are Indian ruins on the top of the spire. Beautiful views. A good hike for a workout with nice scenery and reasonably desolate.
It's a short hike up Spur Cross followed by Tortuga to get to this trail and then back across a different section of Spur Cross to get back, which makes the quoted distance deceptive. I agree that it's probably a total of about 7 miles. But this is a beautiful hike, and we only saw two other hikers who braved the January cold to make it. It is a strenuous hike not for beginners or a casual jaunt, but it is definitely worth doing if you have the opportunity. The trail is well marked in most places with some notable exceptions on the backside of the mountain, but it is easy enough to follow. Well worth the effort.
By my husband's count, this was a 7 mile hike. That is far longer than other reviewer's mentioned. You have to hike quite a distance before hitting the Elephant Mountain trailhead. Anyhow...if you have the time for this hike, take it! Yes, it's a challenge, but it is SO worth it! Perhaps we saw 5 people during the entire hike. With the exception of some airplane noise, it was absolute solitude. This trail is probably best not done by a casual hiker. There are other trails in the area that would be far easier. We plan to go back and do other trails, and perhaps do this hike again, but in reverse. The weather was perfect - not sure I would attempt it at anything over 85 degrees but that's just me!
just be aware that its $3 to get in