Ascent of Elephant Mountain on 2020-05-15
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
Only Party on Mountain
|Date:||Friday, May 15, 2020|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Car|
| Elevation:||2101 ft / 640 m|
Ascent Trip ReportI started at the small trailhead on US 60 that's 1.4 miles downhill from the Blue Ridge Parkway on the Rockbridge County side. From here, a maintained trail leads more or less south and then west to a junction where two signs helpfully labeled "trail" mark a trail intersection (not the first trail junction you'll see going this way, though). Here you'll see the beginning of what's left of the Elephant Mountain Trail. Apparently the USFS has not maintained this trail for years, because not far from the junction you find yourself literally bushwhacking to follow the old trail grade. It can be followed, if you are comfortable doing that sort of thing, to the last saddle southeast of the summit. At this point, what I found differs from topo maps that imply that the trail continues straight ahead. Instead, what's left of the trail veers left (southwest) and follows that side of the mountain for a ways before several switchbacks lead nearly to the top. The upper section of the trail is largely covered with leaves but can still be found, though I lost it after the last switchback. At this point, though, I was only a few feet from the summit ridge and scrambled the rest of the way up. There are some decent views along the way and from the top.
The map suggests that you could also climb this mountain either from Laurel Park of from Reservoir Hollow, both of which are accessed from Buena Vista. I enjoyed the route I took, and either of the other two routes would also involve some bushwhacking.
|Summary Total Data|
| Total Elevation Gain:||1016 ft / 309 m|
| Extra Gain:||320 ft / 97 m|
| Round-Trip Distance:||5 mi / 8 km|
| Route:||Elephant Trail remnants|
| Trailhead:||US 60 1725 ft / 525 m|
| Grade/Class:||Class 2|
| Route Conditions:||Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack|
| Gear Used:||Ski Poles|
| Weather:||Pleasant, Calm, Clear|
warming through the afternoon into the 80s
| Time:||1 Hours 55 Minutes|
| Time:||1 Hours 46 Minutes|
|GPS Data for Ascent/Trip|
GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks: climbed and unclimbed by Mike Stinson
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.
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