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Elephant Tusk Professional Review and Guide
"A hike could hardly begin in a more dramatic setting. At the Dodson/Elephant Tusk Trail junction, the massive cliffs of the South Rim climb nearly 2,500 feet above you. To the northeast is the volcanic ridgeline of Crown Mountain; to the south are the wild canyons and heights of the Sierra Quemada. In the far distance, the mountains and desert valleys of Mexico continue to the horizon."
--Laurence Parent, Hiking Big Bend National Park (Falcon Guides).
On this trip I began at the ET trailhead located on BlackGap road. The trail head is best reached from the south approach via River Road. If you have 4 wheel drive, you can take Glenn Springs road to Black Gap headed south. This is one of the most rugged roads in the park. From the trailhead you cut straight across the desert floor for about the first 4 miles with a well marked trail. It wears thin every now and then but is easy enough to pick back up. Vegetation is somewhat sparse in this area and there is a metal t-stake at every200 yards or so. At about the 4th mile the t-stakes dissappear and the trail begins to drop into a series of washes and drainages as you get near the base of ET. The colors are briliant in the later evening along this area, highlighting the browns and oranges. The trail rises and cuts around the northeast side of the mountain. The trail continues on north to meet with the Dodsen Trail if that's where you're headed. If you plan to go south, do it on the west side of Elephant Tusk. Faint trails cut due south along Backbone Ridge and over to Domingues Mountain. This is a great two day hike. Far less strenuous than coming in from the Dodson trail as the terrain is flat with only a steady rise for most of the hike in. Hope you enjoy it.
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