GENERAL INFORMATION: Quartz Peak Trail, in the 14,400-acre Sierra Estrella Wilderness, leads visitors from the floor of Rainbow Valley (elevation 1,550 feet) to the summit ridge of the Sierra Estrella at Quartz Peak (elevation 4,052 feet) in just 3 miles. Along the way, visitors are treated to a variety of Sonoran Desert plants and wildlife, scenic vistas, and evidence of the area's volcanic history. The views from the summit are spectacular--to the west is a dramatic panorama of rugged mountain ranges and desert plains, and to the east metropolitan Phoenix unfolds over the valley of the lower Salt River.
Quartz Peak Trail is extremely steep and difficult to follow in places. This is a hike for experienced and well-conditioned hikers only! The trail begins at Quartz Peak Trailhead by following a closed four-wheel-drive track approximately 1/4 mile. Look to the left as you walk up the old road and see a narrow trail ascending the ridge to the north (see map below). The trail is poorly marked in places and does not extend to the summit--the final 1/4 mile to Quartz Peak is a scramble over boulder and talus slopes that requires careful footing. Quartz Peak is a point on the spine of the Sierra Estrella capped with an outcrop of white quartz.
ACCESS: Quartz Peak is accessed from Rainbow Valley and Riggs Roads in Rainbow Valley, approximately 25 miles southwest of Phoenix. See the map below for mileages and directions.
FACILITIES: A restroom and picnic table are located at the trailhead.
MAPS: Quartz Peak Trail is not mapped, but the route is covered by USGS 7.5-minute topographic map "Montezuma Peak, Ariz." The Sierra Estrella Wilderness is covered by the USGS 7.5-minute topographic maps "Mobile, NE Ariz." and "Montezuma Peak, Ariz."
- Quartz Peak Trail receives very little use and the terrain is extremely rugged and remote. Always tell a friend or relative where you are going and when you plan to return.
- Drinking water is not provided at Table Top Trailhead, so bring plenty.
- The Sierra Estrella and surrounding area is prone to heavy rains and flash floods. Do not attempt to cross flooded washes.
- You may encounter rattlesnakes or other poisonous creatures; watch for them and be careful where you put your hands and feet. Do not harass reptiles - most bites result from people playing with, collecting or attempting to kill them.
- Fires are not allowed in the Sierra Estrella Wilderness.
- Due to the extremely rugged nature of the Sierra Estrella, horses and packstock are not allowed on Quartz Peak Trail.
Lower Sonoran Field Office
21605 N. 7th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85027-2929
Phone: (623) 580-5500
Fax: (623) 580-5580
Field Manager: Ed Kender
Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m., M-F