Summit Elephant Butte

Details

Distance

2 miles

Elevation Gain

640 ft

Route Type

Loop

Added by Kyle C

Summit Elephant Butte, the highest point in Arches National Park, with multiple rappels.

Elephant Butte sits at 5653 ft. and is the highest point in Arches National Park. It requires two rappels using a 60m rope. In addition to this, it requires some short sections of low fifth class scrambling that can be difficult on wet rock.

The approach starts at Garden of Eden trailhead. Go past Owl Rock aiming for a canyon weakness in the walls ahead on the left that has a small talus field at the end of it. Head north through the fins of rock until the canyon widens and you see a ramp up the right side that you can follow to a low fifth class section that might be difficult for the vertically challenged. Once you pull through this tough section, you will reach a place where you can see the summit of Elephant Butte and access your first rappel to your right. The rappel will be about 75 feet and can be anchored to two bolts.

After completing this rappel, head down then up canyon until you reach an open area of slick rock that is sometimes scree covered. It is at this point that you will reach a cliff band that is blocking you from your eventual goal. If you follow the cliff band to the right, you will eventually come to an easier bypass. Surmount this cliff band and head a few hundred yards to your right and the summit.

Once you enjoy the summit, you can return back to the slick rock the way you came, but this time head to the left. There should be cairns, but it is possible to get to multiple dead ends when trying to find the decent path. There should be no more difficult down climbs. Once you find the correct descent, you will come to three pitons that can be utilized for your final fifty foot rappel. After this, follow the canyon out to the exit and the parking lot where you left your vehicle.

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Rock Climbing
Photography
Hiking
Easy Parking
Scenic

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