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Before you begin this 5.2-mile dayhike, pack at least 3 liters per water per hiker. Once you’ve hit the trailhead, hike south on the dirt path from the Elephant Hill trailhead. Around 0.4 miles into your hike, you’ll pass a shallow canyon punctuated with red and tan sandstone formations. Another mile later, you’ll reach a T in the trail—turn left—and continue carefully on slick rock pitted with natural potholes. Keep your eyes peeled for the colorful spires ahead of you. A half-mile later, the trail will drop gently into a wash. The trail will vary between dirt and slick rock; step around the black mounds of cryptobiotic soil to Leave No Trace. This soil consists of soil cyanobacteria, lichens and mosses. Stepping on it can damage this delicate and important ecological feature of the arid Southwest.
Just under 5 miles into the trail, you’ll reach the Salt Flat Campground to stop for the evening. There are 26 sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. The next day, hike or shuttle back to trailhead on the dirt road.