Elephant Head - TRAIL

Elephant Head - Trail, Tucson, Arizona

Starts up with some great woop-d-doos, followed by some great twisty single-track. Ending with a magnificent climb to the top which rewards with a screaming downhill!

User Reviews (18)

Showing 1-10 of 18  
Barry Brown   Racer [Jan 27, 2015]

Elephant Head Trail- Madera Canyon, Green Valley, AZ
Just did this ride and loved it! I parked in the Proctor Parking area, paid the $5 fee and took off down the dirt road (Proctor Road) marked (FR 781) or Elephant Head Trailhead. This dirt-road alone is such a blast, it's all downhill and you can fly with jump after jump to launch off.The dirt road is around a mile and a half maybe more and remember what goes down must come up! At the end of the dirt road find slip #11 and continue to the bottom of the draw, here you will find a loose 4-wheel drive road going up and this is where the start of the Elephant Head trail is, you have to go thru a small gate. I had a blast, I have been riding on the Tucson trails all week and this was a nice change with insane, breathtaking views! The trail is not for everyone, advanced riders will love it but others will most likely wish they had either stayed home or gone somewhere else. I found countless spots that were fairly difficult but most could be tackled. The beginning is the worst area, it does get better and has a few fast clean sections, I loved it because I felt like I was for once on a grand adventure going where few had gone. The whole trail to Elephant Head is down-hill and fairly fast meaning your return will be a long and fun climb. When you get to the end off the trail you will be under Elephant Head and you will hit a dirt road. This is Chino Canyon and it's a VERY tough ride to the top, I think it's around 6 miles and you will climb around 4000 feet to the top, it'a fantastic challenge but again it's an advanced to expert ride for sure and the decent can be a killer! The views on this 2.5 hour round trip are insane folks, bring a camera for sure and lots of water, tubes, food, etc.... Have fun I love it!!

Customer Service

Directions to the Northern Trailhead: Take I-19 south to Green Valley, approximately 30-miles south of Tucson. Watch for Exit 63, Continental Road, on the south side of town. Turn left (east) on Continental Road when you get off the highway. Go 1.1 miles and turn right on Whitehouse Canyon Road to Madera Canyon. Follow the pavement 11.2 miles to Proctor Road (dirt road on the right), just past the combination Proctor parking area and fee station. If there are no cones set up channeling you into the parking area, you’ll get in free. If not, you’ll be redirected past the fee station for a donation. Follow Proctor Road and stay left whenever the road splits. Park in the pullout on your right, or you can drive up the jeep trail (FR 781) yourself, though not all vehicles will do well.

Directions to the Southern Trailhead: Drive south from Tucson on I-19 like the above, but instead of getting off at Continental Road, continue another 17-miles (or so) and get off the Interstate at Exit 56. Go West under I-19, and take the Frontage Road South to Elephant Head Road. Take a left there, and then a right on Mt. Hopkins Rd. Drive about 6.7-miles and you can park in the few spots available. Then ride your bike about 1.5 miles up the dirt road, and hand a left onto another dirt road. Congrats, you’re there!

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
dave   Cross Country Rider [Nov 02, 2011]

If as some reviewers state this is the best thing around I'd take up shuffelboard. this trail sucks. rocky, sandy crap interspersed with fire roads. Some parts are rideable for the super macho I can ride anything even if I can walk it faster with half the effort mixed with dirt roads, wow what more can't you ask for?. If this is the best they can do for a mountain bike trail they should find other things to occupy their time.

Customer Service

almost anywhere but here

Similar Products Used: try the new section of the Arizona trail south off Suarita Road at Hwy 83. What a mt. bike trail should be even if it's not.
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
4
abegold   Cross Country Rider [Jan 28, 2010]

Beautiful views of the Santa Ritas and desert vistas. Mesquite Twig Girdlers (insect) is pruning back the mesquites. The indian site is a beautiful spot, especally when the stream is flowing. Little shade except upper 2 miles near Madera Canyon.
Singletrack has many rocks and few level sections.

Customer Service

Most do NOT do this trail as listed but start at Hawk Rd and ride uphill on dirt roads to the singletrack, 3.3 miles above the parking.
This way there is lots of sand so best ridden after a good rain. At the first T go straight and at junction stay left. The trail is marked by a sign. Going past it heads into a canyon that was wet and forest.
Taking the Elephant Head singtrack east it runs about 5 miles to Madera Canyon. At 1.8 miles you'll cross a wash. To your right is a 4' waterfall when flowing. Above it is a ancient indian site with 10 metates.
This trail is rocky and little of it is flat.

Similar Products Used: Arizona Trail on eastern side of Santa Ritas, Robles Pass in Tucson, Willow Springs near Harshaw, Oak Tree Canyon, Temporal Gulch.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
swarga   Weekend Warrior [Feb 28, 2009]

I found this trail by accident and since I was there I decided to ride it. From the trailhead there is a gate then it starts out rocky. The Trail is overgrown so wear pants and sleves (my legs and ankles are scratched up good). There are a few technical sections, mostly wash crossings, but the sceanry is different than any I've seen in AZ. After the first 3.5 miles you come to a road that is about 3" deep with sand. I went about a mile up this then headed back as the sun was going down.
I would ride it again, but I would dress differently next time.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
thaphillips   Cross Country Rider [Jan 25, 2008]

I lived in Sahuarita for 2 years, and this was my closest trail. That being said, this trail sucks. It is always overgrown, the trail is very rocky and I would not suggest taking a hard tail. The "great descent" people are talking about is a DIRT ROAD, not a trail or fire road. This "great descent" just happens to go down for a long ways and you go fast so people like it. It does have good scenery, but if I was looking for scenery I would be hiking not biking.

To sum it up..... it's a lot of work for a very little reward. Also bring a truck if you want to park at the trail head, because it is rocky and a low clearance vehicle will get torn up.


The madera canyon trails are much better, but they are illegal for biking.

Customer Service

NONE!

Similar Products Used: Aspen Draw
Brown Mountain
The Gap
Fantasy Island
Golden Ranch ....etc
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
4
sinofone   Cross Country Rider [Aug 25, 2007]

THIS IS BY FAR THE BEST RIDING IVE DONE IN ARIZONA. THIS IS A EPIC RIDE THAT WILL LEAVE YOU WANTING MORE, AT A LATER DATE. THE SINGLE TRACK IS COMPLETLY OVERGROWN BUT YOU CAN SEE ENOUGH TO GET BY. WEAR LONG SOCKS TO AVOID RIPPIN YOUR LEGS TO SHREADS. MABY EVEN ARM PROTECTION. AMAZING VISTAS AND ALOT OF EXPLORING TO BE HAD. THERE ARE MORE TRAILS OUT THERE THAT I WOULD LIKE TO CHECK OUT. SOME WATER CROSSING DEPENDING ON WHEN YOU GO SO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR CHAIN LUBED WELL. ALOT OF THE UPPER JEEP ROAD IS WASHED OUT THIS YEAR SOME HIKE A BIKE BUT NOT TOO BAD.

Customer Service

PARK EITHER AT THE TURN OFF TO THE TRAIL HEAD OR HEADDOWN THE ROAD A LITTLE WAY AND THERE ARE SOME DISPERSSED CAMPGROUNDS. SO YOU FLY DOWN THE FIRST BIT OF FIRE ROAD. SUPER FUN WAY TO START A RIDE. FOLLOW MAIN ROAD DOWN. THERE WILL BE A TRAIL SIGN ON THE RIGHT WITH A SMALL GATE TO ENTER ONTO THE SINGLE TRACK. THIS TRAIL IS OVERGROWN AND CAN BE TECKY IN SPOTS. REALLY FUN. THERE ARE A FEW CREEK CROSSING ALONG THE WAY AS YOU HEAD FOR THE BASE OF ELEPHANT HEAD. THE SINGLE TRACK DUMPS YOU OUT ONTO ANOTHER FIRE ROAD TAKE A LEFT AND FOLLOW THE MAIN TWO TRACK UP BEHIND ELEPHANT HEAD. IT IS REALLY WASHED OUT IN SPOTS. AFTER A WILE OF CLIMBING PAST THE WATERFALL YOU WILL GET A GLIMPS OF ANOTHER BIKE TRAIL MARKER, MORE SINGLE TRACK. CLIMB THIS TO THE SADDLE FOR SOME EXCELLENT VIEWS AND THEN DESCEND THE OTHER SIDE. YOU WILL HIT ANOTHER FIRE ROAD AND CAN CLIMB UP TO THE RADIO TOWERS OR THIS IS A GOOD TURN AROUND. I WENT TO THE MADERA TRAIL AND DESCIDED TO HIT SOME MORE SINGL TRACK BUT YOU CANNOT GO TOO FAR. YOU WILL RUN INTO A SIGN THAT SAYS WILDERNESS BOUNDRY. THERE ARE NO BIKES BEYOND THIS POINT SO TURN AROUND AND DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
azmanxman   Cross Country Rider [Feb 09, 2007]

Got up real early this morning to ride this at sunrise. I've wanted to do this trail for ages but never got around to it. I read other people's reviews and figured it was about time.
What can I say? Overgrown! My legs are scratched to heck from all the mesquite imposing on the trail. Whatever, that's mountain biking in the desert.
The single-track section at the beginning is fun, and the scenery is spectacular. But it's all too short lived. Soon you arrive at the 4WD road and it's nothing but loose medium sized rocks and sand. Climb climb climb and eventually you get back to some single-track (right turn).
I turned around at the saddle before hitting the next 4WD road to the radio towers. Figured it is probably just more loose rocky forest road. Maybe I missed-out on the best part???? Doubtful.
Overall? Ehhh, it's OK, but in my opinion not worth the drive time from Tucson. I guess that's why it's so overgrown. Let's face it, if you wan't lots of climbing on forestry roads, you can always climb the back of mount lemon.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
fletchfighters   Cross Country Rider [Dec 18, 2006]

all I can say is wow!!! Great views, totally different than the normal desert riding in the Tucson area. If you like rocky terrain then you will like this trail. Some great singletrack but not ridden often, very overgrown in spots. I was eaten up by all the branches. This is a long trail and takes a lot out of you. Much more of an advanced trail.

Customer Service

All the above guides are right on. It is $5.00 to be at Madera Canyon now, not $2.

Similar Products Used: 50 year trail, tucson mountain park, fantasy island
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
tictac778   Cross Country Rider [Jan 13, 2005]

If you're an endurance rider/racer looking to improve your technicual skills, this ride is your wet-dream; the climb to the TV towers is a grinder. The ridge trail to the last forest road climb is a sweet little gem of single-track. Five flaming dog poops; I absolutely loved this ride.

Customer Service

Trail head is at Proctor Rd where it degrades into a jeep trail. Start down lumpy, bumpy elephant head until it ends at FR 1073. Go left up (and up, and up) this rocky jeep road. Go through the cruddy little cattle gate and keep climbing. Watch for ridge trail on the right, and take this sweet little trail to FR 183 and go left. Climb up this well-graded road until your front tire hits the TV-tower gates. Turn around and head back down! A more detailed description of this route can be found here: http://www.cherba.com/atmb/elephant_head.htm

Similar Products Used: 50 Year Trail is too smooth - Miligrosa is too rough - Elephant Head is just right :)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
thephoenixson   Weekend Warrior [Mar 15, 2004]

no recent reveiws for this trail so i thought i'd lay one down. this was the first trail i rode after i moved into the Tucson area. and what an introduction to desert mountain biking! i guess we went in the "back" way. so it was sandy, rocky jeep road up to the single track. and then miles of climbing through knee high grass (since not a lot of people ride this trail it got a little out of control). but all that initial climbing makes for one killer ride back to the vehicles. fun, semi-technical descents. and then the screamer back out on the jeep road. trail might not be for everybody, but the Ocotillo gardens and the veiw of Elephant Head Rock make it worthwhile if you're looking to ride something a little different compared to the usual Tucson rides.

Customer Service

the "reverse" way. start from the bottom and work you're way up. makes coming home much more fun.

Similar Products Used: Starr Pass, Fantasy, Chiva Falls, Tucson Mountain Park.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 18  

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