Elephant Head: East Ridge Trail

HARD 8 reviews
#29 of 66 trails in

Elephant Head: East Ridge Trail is a 11 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Amado, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from September until May.

11.0 miles
3,093 feet
Out & Back



nature trips



wild flowers

over grown


no shade

no dogs

Remote location, exceptional scenery, and exposed desert summit. From the parking area hike south through Chino Canyon. After about 1.4 miles, you'll pass the ruins of the old Elephant Head Mill. The small granite peak to your right is Little Elephant Head. Continue on to the upper reaches of Chino Basin. As you climb out of the basin you will catch your first glimpse of the east ridge of Elephant Head. As soon as you start heading northeast a faint trail will split off of the main trail. It will take you down into the valley, on your left, and up the other side to the prominent saddle at the base of the east ridge. Be alert and don't miss the trail, it is marked by a large cairn. This portion of the trail is hard follow but it is marked with several small cairns. Once at the saddle you've reached the best part.The rest of the hike is easy scrambling up a granite ridge. The route up is marked by closely spaced cairns. Soon you will be standing on the small exposed summit of Elephant Head.

3 days ago

Love it

10 months ago

Didn't go all the way up, but beautiful area once you get there. Unfortunately, a long/uneventful hike just to get to the good stuff

Monday, November 13, 2017

Careful with your planning on this day trip. We took the Elephant Head road southeast approach, 4wheel drive, rough road and costly large rocks. We were working Ham Radio “Summits on the Air” as our goal was to activate this summit. We fell short by several hundred feet as we could not find a route to the summit. Temperature swing in Nov. was 42 to 82*, otherwise a great time, isolated and rugged. Will come from another direction next time!!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Hiked with Brother and Nephew to test Ham Radios. Great reception. Very rough hike for a couple older guys. Will come back again. Saw Javelina and was well worth the trip!!

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

I give this only 3 stars because this trail is very overgrown, and not maintained. I highly suggest you wear pants or your legs will get scratched up badly. Even my arms got scratched from tall grass and overgrown cactus. I'm an experienced hiker and I found this hike to be difficult. I started from Elephant Head Road. You'll start by walking about 2 miles on fairly flat terrain before you hit the very steep slope down. Carry a walking stick or ski pole, it will help if you start to slide as it's pretty steep. Then it's the upside, again this is fairly steep. The last 2 miles or so is rock climbing to the top. You need fairly good arm strength. Once at the top, the view is amazing. Bring an elephant or something with an elephant on it to leave. There's quite as pile started. Sign the guest book. Loved the challenge and view of this hike, just wish the trail was in better shape. If your a hiker, I recommend it.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Very nice hike. A bit overgrown in some parts but very much worth the wile

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Agua Caliente Road has been resurfaced as of Summer 2016. Any passenger vehicle can again get access to the Elephant Head and Agua Caliente trail heads.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

great views

make sure you have a high clearance vehicle or you will add an hour on each end

no cell service often so take the correct precautions