elephant mountain

Elephant Mountain Trail Runs

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Start times updated to account for Wave Starts. All races will consist of no more than 20 people per wave, every five minutes, with additional time between race distances.

50 Mile (New!)|  50K | 35K | 22K | 12K |6K
Cave Creek Regional Park, Cave Creek, AZ

50 Mile – 6:00 AM
50 Km – 6:30 AM
35 Km – 7:15 AM
22 Km – 8:00 AM
6 Km – 8:45 AM
12 Km – 9:15 AM

Elephant Mountain is the sixth race in the Desert Runner Trail Series
Hummingbird Series = 6 Km |
Quail Series = 12 Km | Roadrunner Series = 22 Km | Owl Series = 35 Km | Hawk Series = 50 Km/ 50 Mile

Quick Links: Race Info | Registration | Course Info | Results | Photos | Race



This race is part of a Series Pass with discounted entries! Check out some options HERE! 

Group picnic area (Ramadas 2 & 3) within Cave Creek Regional Park, Cave Creek, AZ.

Course Summary

The 50 Mile distance will follow the same route as the 50K but instead of turning around at Spur Cross Conservation Area, you’ll continue north past Spur Cross to explore the gorgeous Tonto National Forest backcountry.
Runners will follow Trail 4 north, skirting the west side of Skull Mesa with Cave Creek just a few hundred feet west of the trail as you’ll cross through the beautiful Chalk Canyon on your way to Seven Springs. After receiving aid at Seven Springs, runners will head south past Cartwright Ranch and hop on the Cottonwood Trail which will eventually become the Maricopa Trail and follow this all the way back around the east side of Skull Mesa, passing through canyons and old abandoned campgrounds until you meet back up with Trail 4 at Cave Creek.

From here you’ll continue south, crossing over Cave Creek 2-3 times until you reach the short service road that will pop you out at Spur Cross Aid. 36 miles in the books! The remaining 14 miles will be following the Maricopa Trail back up to the base of Elephant Mountain and eventually returning to the Cave Creek Regional Park where you’ll head east on Go John through Gunsight Pass and enjoy a fantastic descent via Quartz and Slade Trails as you make your way to the finish line. 
NOTE: This 50 Miler is an advanced degree run with extended periods of time without aid (12 & 14 miles). The stretches from Spur Cross to Seven Springs and back can be considered rugged and legit backcountry. It’s an incredible stretch of trail but one that you should be prepared for. Carry more water than you think you need and bring additional nutrition. You will have a drop bag at Spur Cross & Seven Springs. 

50 Mile Interactive Map:
Note: Once you open the Caltopo map, there is an “Export” drop down menu on the top of the page where you can download the GPX or KML file.

The 50K and 35K courses feature a trip out of Cave Creek Regional Park along the Maricopa Trail to Spur Cross Ranch and back, finishing with a loop through Cave Creek Regional Park. The 22K will also leave the regional park on the Maricopa Trail, turning around at the Roger Creek aid station. 
50K runners: On loop two (2) you must hit Go John Aid Station on an out and back before completing your loop. Failure to do this can result in a time penalty or DQ from the race.

The 12K course will briefly leave the park boundary, heading out on the Maricopa Trail for about 1/2 mile to the Go John aid station as an out-and-back. This is a mandatory aid station and cannot be skipped!  
Our new 6K course stays within Cave Creek Regional Park and features the Go John and Quartz trail.

Forecast for Cave Creek, AZ

UTMB Points *

50 Kilometers2 Points
35 Kilometers1 Points

*Points will be applied to the 2023 UTMB

Bib/Shirt Pickup

Friday, February 4
Packet Pickup 11:00-5:00PM

Aravaipa Running Headquarters
2401 S 24th St
Phoenix, AZ 85034
(602) 346-0554


Saturday, February 5
Race Day Pickup 5:15-9:50AM
Cave Creek Regional Park – Ramada’s 2 & 3

Aid Stations
Aid stations every 3-5 miles including water, electrolyte drink (gnarly Clean Sports Hydrate), sweet snacks, salty snacks, and fruit. Please plan to run with at least one bottle of water.
50 Milers will have further gaps in aid stations including 12 miles and 14 miles.  Aid Station Helper Sign-Up Form

Race Perks
Gender specific race shirt (Men’s & Women’s styles)
Chip timed race results displayed at finish line
Scenic and challenging course on desert trails
Well stocked aid stations every few miles
Post race food (bagels, fresh fruit) & socializing
50 Milers receive a custom Finisher Award

Reminder: Cupless Events

In an effort to continually lessen our race footprint, we are expanding our cupless events to the Desert Runner Trail Series. This means there will be NO CUPS for soda, water, electrolyte drink, etc.
We will have UltrAspire reusable cups available at registration and on race day or feel free to bring your own! To check them out or purchase one directly, visit our website HERE.

Crews & Pacers
2021 Update: 50 mile Crews are welcome to support runners at the start/finish line at the Ramadas 2 & 3 as well as at Spur Cross Aid Station (12 mile / 30 minute drive from start line).
NO spectators/crews for the shorter distances in 2021.
Crew are also allowed at Seven Springs for the 50 mile distance.

In 2021, there will be NO pacers allowed for the 50Km race.
Pacers will be permitted at Seven Springs & Spur Cross II aid stations for the 50 mile distance. Pacers are responsible for transportation to/from their pacing duties. 


50 Mile
These 50 mile cutoffs are in place for a reason and are non-negotiable. The stretches between Spur Cross and Seven Springs and then Seven Springs back to Spur Cross are long, remote stretches. Heading out after the indicated cutoffs can not only be dangerous for yourself but also our staff and volunteers. Please don’t be that person.

*Cutoffs have been adjusted for the final 50M wave in 2021*

50 Milers must leave Spur Cross I (10.5 miles) by 9:30am
50 Milers must leave Seven Springs (23 miles) by 2:00pm
50 Milers must leave Spur Cross II (36.5 miles) by 6:30pm 
16 hours for the 50 Mile (10:30pm).

50 Km 
With the addition of the 50 mile race, you just need to stay ahead of their cutoffs. You’re welcome and enjoy.

Drop Bags
A drop bag will be allowed at the Spur Cross Aid Station for the 50 Mile (remember a headlamp!) and 50km. Please place these in the designated area at the race start by 7 AM to be transported to the Spur Cross Aid Station.
The 50 Milers can have a drop bag at Seven Springs Aid Station as well. Drop bags will be delivered back to the start/finish line after the Aid Station closes.
35KM Runners have NO remote drop bag.

Awards to top 3 male & female finishers at each distance.
All finishers will receive a finisher award.
Points earned in the Desert Runner Trail Series

Volunteer Helpers
If you would like to join our volunteer team, we are looking for help with event setup, aid station captains, aid station helpers, timing, photography, videography, social media, course sweep and event breakdown. Volunteer perks include a piece of Aravaipa merchandise or race goody and Aravaipa Race Credits. You can see our current opportunities and sign up here: Elephant Mountain Volunteer Form

Charity Beer Garden
For the 2021-2022 Desert Runner Trail Series Aravaipa Running will be working with the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center (SWCC) & Arizona Trail Association to bring awareness to their cause. Proceeds from the beer gardens at each event will go directly to SWCC. The Beer Garden is being sponsored by a local brewery: Huss Brewing.


Entry Fees*

 Until 9/5Until 1/9Until 2/1Race Week
50 MILE$169.42$185.81$202.21$224.07

Save $8.20 with our no-shirt option! Shirts guaranteed on race day if ordered by 1/14. After 1/14, shirts are not guaranteed with your registration & may be available on race day if there are extras. 

**Pricing includes tax but does not include any online registration fees charged by Ultra Signup

Entrant Limit
500 Runners
Entrants List

Registration Options
Online via Ultra Signup
Mail-In Entry
Online registration closes on Monday, 2/1, at 11:59 PM. Registration available after at packet pickup and race day if there are still spots open.

Medical –      

We will have medical staff based at the start / finish headquarters. This team is here to help you with most basic and advanced first aid right on site. We reserve the right to pull you from the race if medical officials deem it necessary. Please understand that these decisions are made for your safety and do not argue. Continuing on in a state where you cannot safely navigate is a recipe for disaster and we are here to prevent that.

NOTE: If something happens to you or another runner, do NOT call 911 right away. Our medical team is highly trained in these scenarios, has been with us at this race the last three years and understands the terrain and driving access points. Please call their 24-hour number that will be answered by a real human being and they will dispatch accordingly.

MedStar Solutions Race Day Number: 480-269-4126


All runs take place on single track trails and dirt roads in Cave Creek Regional Park, the Maricopa Trail, Tonto National Forest, & Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area.  Expect typical desert trail conditions including rocks, sand, cactus and gravel.
Course Photos

Course Maps

EM SXRCA Map 2014

Elevation Profiles

Elephant Mountain 6K Elevation Profile

Elephant Mountain 50 Mile Elevation Profile

Course Detail (Maps, Elevation Profiles, GPS Tracks)
50 Mile | Elevation Profile |CalTopo
50K | Elevation ProfileGPX | KML
35K | Elevation ProfileGPX | KML
22K | Elevation Profile | GPX | KML
12K | Elevation ProfileGPX | KML
6K | CalTopo Interactive Map

*Note on GPX files: Right click and select “Save link as…” to download GPX files. GPX files may be opened by downloading the demo version of TopoFusion for free.

CalTopo Maps: On a desktop, you can access the GPX or KML file with a drop down screen on the top. From a phone, you will see a wrench icon. Follow the steps to export. If you have an app like Gaia, etc., it should ask to directly download the file into your app is available to you in airplane mode during your run.


Race Day Schedule
Please arrive early to park, check in and warm up prior to your run. Restroom facilities are located at the start line at a permanent park facility.

5:15 AM – Packet pickup / race day registration begin
6:00 AM – 50 Mile Start (bring a headlamp!)
6:57 AM – Begin civil twilight
6:30 AM – 50 Kilometer Start (Consider a headlamp!)
7:23 AM – Sunrise
7:15 AM – 35 Kilometer Wave Starts Begin
8:00 AM – 22 Kilometer Wave Starts Begin
8:45 AM – 6 Kilometer Wave Starts Begin
9:15 AM12 Kilometer Wave Starts Begin
2:00 PM – 50 Km runners must leave on final loop
4:00 PM –  50 Km cutoff
5:59 PM – Sunset
6:24 PM – End Civil Twilight
6:00 PM – 50 Mile cutoff to be leaving Spur Cross II
10:30 PM – 50 Mile overall cutoff/ race ends (adjusted for final 50M wave in 2021)

Park Entry Fee
Remember the park now charges a $7 park entry fee per vehicle. Please arrive early and have correct change (cash) available on race morning for a smooth entry process. Carpool to save!

The start/finish line is located at the Group Picnic Area just beyond the Nature Center (No parking at Nature Center). Overflow parking will be available at the horse staging area parking lot or around the Tonalite Drive Loop approximately 1/4 mile from the start/finish area. If you have to park along the roadway it is very important that your vehicle is entirely off the roadway to not affect emergency access.


Trail Running & Trash
Please respect the trails and the beauty of the desert by disposing of any trash at one of our aid stations.

Trail Etiquette
Under no circumstances is it OK to yell at or be rude to a volunteer or staff member. Do not rely on volunteers, photographer’s or other staff persons to direct you on your course. It is YOUR responsibility to know your course and follow the course signs. If we get word of this occurring, we reserve the right to DQ you from the race. These people are volunteering their free time to assist you in reaching the finish line and are doing everything they can to get you there. Thank them and keep moving. 

Remember to always remain on designed trails, no short cutting.

If you decide to use headphones, please be respectful of runners behind you attempting to pass. Also, remove ear buds as you approach aid stations or a road crossing.
Please do not listen to music without headphones on course.

This course includes some legit single track. If you are fast and attempting to pass, please alert the runner in front of you before flying past them. Likewise, if you hear a runner approaching you from behind, attempt to find a spot to allow the runner to pass.

As a general rule, when passing a runner, announce, “on your left.”
Uphill runners/hikers have the right of way to downhill runners. Remain in control as you descend and respect the other runners.
Everyone is after the same goal here so let’s be respectful of each other’s races and have fun. Please.

Race Timing
We will be utilizing a chip timing system at this event to record your time at the finish. You will be provided with a timing chip attached to the back side of your race bib. It is important to not crease, or fold the the timing chip to ensure your finish time is read. Once you cross the finish line, your results will be displayed on our”Ultracast” display screen with your finish time, place and distance completed.

Aid Station Helpers
We cannot produce these trail runs without the help of our amaing volunteer team. If you are interested in helping with Elephant Mountain, we have opportunities to help with setup, registration, aid stations, finish line, course sweep and breakdown. All volunteers will receive an Aravaipa Running shirt and a discount on a future race entry!  You can even help and run on race day. Sign Up Here

Course Markings
The race courses will be well marked with orange plastic ribbons with black polka dots. Trail junctions and turns will be well marked with colored laminated signs. Please pay attention to these signs at each junction as there are multiple race distances and race courses! Course signs will correspond with your race’s color with the exception of the 6K which will follow orange signs (12K = Blue, 22K = Green, 35K = Yellow, 50K = Red, 50 Mile = White). In addition, blue & white checkerboard plastic flagging will be hung to designate non-race or “WRONG WAY” trails. All runners are responsible for understanding the layout of the courses. Please familiarize yourself with the course maps on our website prior to race day, print a map or have the GPX file downloaded to your phone or watch to bring along with you.

Course Records
50 Mile | Male – Brett DuBois- 8:09:38 (’21) | Female – Kristina Pattison – 9:58:58 (’21)
50 Km | Male –  Travis Swaim – 4:12:31 (’17) | Female – Kristina Pham – 5:02:36 (’18)
35 Km | Male – Joshua Trevino – 2:26:55 (’13) | Female – Gudrid Espenscheid – 3:06:35 (’14)
22 Km | Male – Phil Slama – 1:38:34 (’18) | Female – Abbie Tuomi – 1:42:44 (’21)
12 Km | Male – Jules Miller – 54:04 (’14) | Female – Bree Bielenberg – 1:02:40 (’13)
6 Km | Male – David Carson – 28:34 (’21) | Female – Tracy Campagnano – 30:39 (’21)


2021 | Results
2020 | Results
2019 | Results
2018 | Results
2017 | 50Km | 35Km | 22Km | 12Km
2016 | 50Km | 35Km | 22Km | 12Km
2015 | 50Km | 35Km | 22Km | 12Km
2014 | 50Km | 35Km | 22Km | 12Km
2013 | 50Km | 35Km | 12Km


2021 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery | Let’s Wander Photography
2020 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery
2019 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery
2018 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery
2017 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery | SweetM Images 
2016 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery | SweetM Images 
2015 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery
2014 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery
2013 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery

Crew directions from Cave Creek Regional Park to Spur Cross Ranch Conservation area (13 miles / 30 minute drive). Google Map & Directions

Cave Creek Regional Park
37900 E Cave Creek Parkway
Cave Creek, Arizona 85331
  1. Head north on N Tonalite Dr towardMountain  
361 ft
  2. Continue straight onto Mountain  
0.2 mi
  3. Turn right onto E Cave Creek Pkwy  
0.9 mi
  4. Continue onto N 32nd St  
1.7 mi
  5. Turn left onto Carefree Hwy
2.8 mi
  6. Turn left onto N Cave Creek Rd
2.6 mi
  7. Turn left onto N Spur Cross Rd
0.2 mi
  8. Turn right onto E Grapevine Rd  
157 ft
  9. Take the 1st left onto N Spur Cross Rd  
4.0 mi
  10. Slight left  
0.3 mi
Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area
Cave Creek, Arizona

Cave Creek Regional Park offers a campground with 44 individual sites. Each site has a large parking area to accommodate up to a 45′ RV and is a “Developed Site,” with water and electrical hook-ups, dump station, a picnic table, a barbecue grill, and fire ring. Cave Creek Regional Park provides immaculate restrooms with flush toilets and hot water showers. All sites in the campground may be reserved online at http://www.maricopacountyparks.org/cave-creek.
Camping Fees

From central Phoenix, take I-17 north to Carefree Hwy (SR 74). Exit Carefree Hwy. and travel east to 32nd St. (7 miles). Turn north on 32nd St. to the Cave Creek Regional Park entrance.

37900 E Cave Creek Parkway
Cave Creek, AZ 85331

EM Web Photo 2015 6
EM Web Photo 2015 5
EM Web Photo 2015 4
EM Web Photo 2015 3
EM Web Photo 2015 2

Video Credit: Ed Gildersleeve