Find A Trail. Start Your Search Here:

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Quartz Ridge Trail


Downtown Phoenix viewed from Quartz Ridge

Looking for a way to enjoy the desert beauty surrounding Piestewa Peak and get a good workout without elbow-to-elbow crowds?  Try the Quartz Ridge 8A trail. 

A massive quartz block on Quartz Ridge trail

Located southeast of the extremely popular Piestewa Peak summit trail in the Piestewa Peak-Dreamy Draw Trails section of the

Phoenix Mountains Preserve, trail 8A offers a similar experience in a less congested slice of the craggy hills.  The 1.7-mile path traces gullies and foothills below the distinctive 2,608-foot hill that stand high above the skyline just a few miles north of downtown Phoenix off State Route 51.

Creosote grows along Quartz Ridge trail

Edgy switchbacks ascend Quartz Ridge

While the trail may be reached via several connected routes, the 32nd Street trailhead offers direct access.  Unlike the summit route which goes straight up, Quartz Ridge is a double-hump workout.  The trail starts on a wide, easy grade that parallels a deep, tree-cluttered wash. 

The route makes several wash crossings

While making its mild ascent, the trail passes by jagged stone outcroppings sprinkled with white quartz nodules that gradually grow in size and scope until the it meets an enormous ivory boulder at the base of a ridge where quartz chunks spill downhill like tossed confetti. 
Phoenix Mountains Preserve trails are well-signed

From this point on, the route dips through washes and climbs exposed ridges exposing ever-expanding views of downtown Phoenix and mountain ranges to the south.  About halfway through the hike, a short segment of tight, edge-hugging switchbacks move trekkers uphill to a scenic saddle near the highpoint. 
Hike ends at the L.V. Yates trail junction

Here, east and north Valley vistas come into view and a stone bench beckons hikers to take a break and enjoy the sights. The trail then makes a swerving dive into a cliff-bound ravine where saguaro cacti and blooming shrubs thrive on rugged cliffs and sandy washes. 
Trixis shrubs grow in wash areas

Don't be a statistic. Heed this advise.

Lumps of quartz stained with orange and ashen veneers reappear in colorful piles and fields of snowy nuggets.  After one final dip through a water-worn bend, the trail meets its end in a small, grotto-like area where it intersects with the L.V. Yates trail. 
North Valley views sen from Quartz Ridge

Strawberry hedgehog cacti add color to the hike

Make this your turnaround point or consult park maps to customize a longer hike.  Either way, with Valley temperatures rapidly approaching the century mark, stay safe by paying attention to the city’s “Take a hike. Do it right.” kiosks posted at trailheads.  While accidents do happen, having to be hauled off a trail by search and rescue personnel due to heat-related incidents is easily preventable.

LENGTH: 3.4 miles up-and-back

RATING: moderate

ELEVATION: 1,358 – 1,842 feet (888 feet accumulated elevation change)


32nd Street Trailhead:

6511 E. Sierra Vista Dr., Phoenix

Hours: 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.

INFO: City of Phoenix

No comments: