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
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
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
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