Back to index Elephant Back Peak Hike
Trip Date:  07/20/2014

: 5.1 Miles

Vertical Gain: 1000'

Group Size: 1

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
Elephant Back Peak Route
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Elephant Back Peak Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 41.697  W 119 59.363     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates  
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 88 to the parking area at the Carson Pass ranger station on the west side of the road.  Pay the day use fee (summer only) and find the trailhead just to the right side (north) of the ranger station itself.  
Hazards of Note:   The scree is slippery up to the top of Elephant Back peak, but is easily navigated and many use trails can be found angling their way to the summit.

Crowd Factor:   Significant.  This is a very popular summer and winter trail, with many snowshoers during the winter and even more day hikers looking to enjoy the lakes and wildflowers abundant on this hike for most of the summertime.
General Notes:
From the parking area on the road,  head up along the Pacific Crest Trail for a little over a mile.  You will reach a signpost marking the junction where the PCT turns to the left, and you will continue straight along the way toward Lake Winnemucca.  The Elephant Back mountain will be on your left side this entire way, and before you reach the lake, head cross country toward the lowest point of the Elephant Back peak on it's west side.  From there, just start heading NE up to the top, staying away from the sheer dropoffs on the east side of the mountain.

Elephant Back mountain from early along the trail. Elephant Back from the early part of the trail
During the summertime wildflowers adorn this entire area.  This is about the point where we headed cross-country to the left side of the picture. Wildflowers 
My hiking partner, Phil, taking in all of the picturesque flowers all along the way. Phil checking out the views
Looking back at Round Top mountain and the first view of Lake Winnemucca as we started our climb up the mountain. Round Top
Great views of Kirkwood ridge, with the peaks from left to right being Thimble, Thunder Mountain, Martin Point, and the Sentinels. Kirkwood ridge
Nearing the top, the views south into the area where the PCT heads keep getting better and better. Views south along the PCT
At the peak we had even better views of Round Top and Lake Winnemucca a good 1500 feet below the summit. Even better view of Round Top
The scenery past Forestdale Road (in the foreground) out to Jeff Davis peak and then on to Raymond peak and beyond area just breath-taking. More views south
Markleeville Peak lies directly to the east, with a private lake at the base of the mountain clearly visible from this elevation. Markleeville Peak
Last shot of myself at the peak before the rains set in.  We were in our car no more than 10 minutes after finishing when the skies opened up. Selfie
On our way back down we found an even more amazing display of summertime wildflowers. More colors
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike