If you are looking for a stellar view without having to do much work, the Elephant Head trail is perfect for you. It's a short hike with many rewards, including a bird's eye view of Lake Titus, which combined with the surrounding hills forms the shape of an elephant's head.
Depending on where you park, this hike can either be one mile round trip, to summit and back, or roughly four miles if you walk from the general parking area right off Route 30 to the summit and back. Either way, the hike is still rewarding and pleasant because once you enter from Route 30, you are immersed in a canopy of trees. I opted for the shorter version so I parked right at the summit. The dirt road leading to it was steady and smooth enough for my Subaru.
This hike is known for being dog friendly, as long as the dog is leashed. I took the hike mid-afternoon on a weekday to check out the fall foliage. At higher elevations, the path was still a crisp green and the sunlight dashed and peered through the lovely canopy of trees that hovered above as I hiked up the trail.
The trail is clearly marked with yellow trail markers, and there really is no other direction to go along the path. It's a steady but gentle incline up to the summit. And to be clear, you may want a walking stick to help create stability as you incline and decline. Most of the hike up to the summit is just that: up. But not steep. Depending on how hard you want to work, the trail is either easy or more challenging to hike. I wanted to get my heart rate going so I moved quickly and I felt the incline. But, I could have just as easily took my time and sauntered up to the summit.
There are a couple noticeable shifts in incline. Be prepared with the right shoes: hiking boots or supportive tennis shoes. On the day that I hiked the trail, it had just rained so I dealt with some mud, but for the most part, the trail is very smooth to walk on.
I came across a couple interesting and welcomed surprises along the way. Almost at the top, you will arrive at a natural wooden staircase. Without it, you would be scaling mud depending on the weather. The staircase, made from logs, is a little precarious but nevertheless with a steady grip gets you safely to the next elevation, which is not that drastic from whence you came.
The next surprise is a fork in the path. Don't worry, you won't get lost. To the right, you will reach two flat surfaced rocks that are great for relaxing or snacking on some lunch. To the left, is the reward. You will be at the summit looking out at Lake Titus and the surrounding hills. It was a glorious sight for me because of the bursting colors from the fall foliage. And it was unmistakably peaceful. Perhaps that has something to do with me emerging out of the verdant, wooded canopy and into the wide open scenery at the top, where the still lake and trees stretched out before me. It is pretty heavenly up there. I had a moment of zen before I headed back down.
I recommend this hike for beginners and even experts. It offers a great view and a pleasant hike.
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