Location visible to members
Elephant Mountain Trail
Spur Cross Conservation Area
Trail: Elephant Mountain Trail (out and back)
Length: ~9 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 870 ft.
Difficulty: Moderately-Difficult to Difficult
Hike Time: 4.5 hours
Description: These rugged, often primitive trails offer lots of ups and downs with occasional steep grades. If the creek is flowing, you're likely to get your feet wet, so prepare accordingly. The first part of the trail runs along an unmaintained service road sloping up the hill to the trail junction. If you are struggling at this point, turn back now. Views of Elephant Mountain, Black Mountain, pristine desert flora (mesquite, acacia, palo verde, cholla, prickley pear, saguaro) and area geology (igneous and sedimentary rock formations) make the trip worthwhile.
What to Bring: Water (3 liters), small daypack, snacks, sturdy shoes, sunscreen, hat, and rain gear (optional).
FEES: There is a $3 per person ENTRANCE FEE. There is a $1.00 PARTICIPATION FEE for this hike!
Facilities: Portable toilets only. No running water. Be prepared to PACK OUT TOILET PAPER.
Directions to Trailhead:
From Loop 101, exit Scottsdale Road. Drive NORTH on Scottsdale Road to Carefree Highway (~10 miles); turn WEST. Take Carefree Highway to Cave Creek Road; turn North. Follow the winding road 2 miles. Turn NORTH (left) on Spur Cross Road (see Crab Shack), and take the signed left turn to remain on Spur Cross Road. Drive 4.1 miles to the Spur Cross Conservation Area parking lot. The last mile or so is a graded, dirt road passable for most passenger cars.
From I-17, exit Carefree Highway. Drive EAST to Cave Creek Road (~10 miles). Turn NORTH on Cave Creek Road. Follow the winding road 2 miles. Turn NORTH (left) on Spur Cross Road (see Crab Shack), and take the signed left turn to remain on Spur Cross Road. Drive 4.1 miles to the Spur Cross Conservation Area parking lot. The last mile or so is a graded, dirt road passable for most passenger cars.
Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area (http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/spur_cross/default.aspx)
Spur Cross Ranch - Trail Map (http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/spur_cross/pdf/2007%20maps/spurcross11x173d.pdf)