Friday

Elephant Rock (VOF)

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This page last updated on 12/11/2017
(Fig.01)




DirectionsValley of Fire is located about 58 miles from the Las Vegas Strip in the Mojave  (Mo-hah-vee) Desert.  The East entrance abuts Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It is 15 miles Southwest of Overton, Nevada. To take the more scenic route, take the I-15 North to Lake Mead Blvd. Turn Right and head East to Lakeshore Road (NV-166). Turn Right onto Northshore Drive (NV-167) and follow Northshore to the east entrance to Valley of Fire. To enter the park from the West entrance, take the I-15 North approximately 35-40 miles. Take Exit 75 and head East toward Valley of Fire/Lake Mead.  Drive approximately 17 miles on Valley of Fire road to the West Entrance Station.


(Fig.02)


Description: Elephant Rock (Fig. 01) is a fine example of an arch in the shape of an elephant. Though the walk to the rock is one of the shortest hikes in the Valley of Fire, there are actually two separate hikes here. There is a short, .2 mile loop hike to Elephant Rock (upper right of Fig. 02), and a longer 1.3 mile Arrowhead trail loop hike. 


(Fig. 03)
12/08/2017 Trip Notes: On this day, Bob Croke, Blake Smith and myself decided to head to Valley of Fire State Park to hike the 1.3 mile Arrowhead/Elephant Rock Loop trail. Even though we have all visited Elephant Rock before, we have all used the shorter trail. To see the longer trail, refer to (Fig. 02) above. Before hiking this loop trail, we tried to follow a totally unmarked trail to Pillars 1 & 2. In our search we observed some unique aztec red sandstone formations (Fig. 04). I thought that the two small arches in this picture looked like two serpents kissing each other. Unfortunately, after more than an hour of walking, we never found either one of the pillars. The picture in (Fig. 03) to the right is a picture I took off the Internet of Pillar 1. After this failed attempt, we headed back to the entrance and parking area and headed out on the Elephant Rock/Arrowhead Loop trail. After leaving the trailhead behind the parking area, a short walk (Fig. 05) takes you to the intersection of the two trails (Fig. 06). After reaching the ridge line in (Fig. 06) you are presented the view of the desert and surrounding mountains in (Fig. 07). Bob is ahead of of in the shaded area in the center of (Fig. 07). Blake is bringing up the rear in the center of (Fig. 08). (Notes con't below)
                                 
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05) Looking back toward the trailhead
(Fig. 06) 
(Fig 07)
(Fig. 08)

Notes Continued: Hiking from here there was another (unmarked) intersection, with the Arrowhead trail continuing due west (refer to (Fig. 02) as the Elephant Rock's weak use trail trailed south through a very rocky section up and over the ridge in front of us (Fig. 09). Once we reached the top the trail down the other side was equally difficult (Fig. 10). As we walked down the sandstone slip-rock, we observed more of Valley of Fires' many arches (Fig. 11) and an outcrop that Bob vaguely resembled the shape of a Star Wars' stormtrooper helmet (Fig. 12). You can also see the Valley of Fore Road in the background. After hiking only 2-3 hundred yards more we were standing in front of Elephant Rock (Fig. 01). We had another hiker take a picture of the three of us (Fig. 13). Once we reach the parking area at the entrance we took a selfie of the three of us. From here we stopped for a picnic lunch at the Blue Point Spring along North shore drive on our way home [Blue Point Spring].  
                                              
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
(Fig. 11)
(Fig. 12.)
(Fig. 13)
(Fig. 14)

04/13/2016 Trip NotesBecause the rock is right next to the road, it is best to park in the nearby parking lot and take the 1/3-mile trail to reach the formation. One of the shortest hikes in the park, the hike to Elephant Rock is located just 50 feet off of Valley of Fire Highway and takes less than 10 minutes to reach. The trail starts at the parking area just east of a parking area and a small covered pavilion. The trail starts at the back of the pavilion across slick-rock. Follow the cairns and in less than ten minutes, you’ll find yourself in front of Elephant Rock. The view in (Fig. 01) was taken standing directly in front of the elephant near the side of the road. Elephant Rock is billed as *the* highlight of the Valley of Fire State Park. The overall shape is clearly visible, and is striking in it's resemblance to an elephant, complete with trunk. The best views and photos of the arch are achieved by climbing above and behind Elephant Rock. Wanting to get behind the elephant for some better pictures, we continued along the trail that ran past the arch. After walking considerable distance on this trail (Fig. 15), we eventually realized that it would not take us behind the elephant. I later learned that this was the 1.5 mile Arrowhead Loop Trail that is a portion of the remains of the old Arrowhead Road that was constructed in 1915 that connected Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. After turning around, we went back to elephant rock and began scrambling up the easy sandstone, walking through the arch to get behind and above the formation. The pictures from the cliff behind the formation provided some stellar backdrops (Fig. 16). We took turns taking pictures standing in the trunks' opening (Fig. 17). Upon completion of this picture taking session it was nearly time for lunch; so we headed out to the White Domes, our final scheduled hike for the day.  

(Fig. 15)
(Fig. 16)
(Fig. 17) 
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Play a Slide Show
Clicking the picture-link below will open OneDrive in a new window and a folder containing 25 pictures taken on two hikes of Elephant Rock. To view the show, click on the first picture in the folder and you will get the following menu bar:

Click the "Play slide show" will play a fullscreen window of the slide show.