Quartz Peak Trail
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 for 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. 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.
The Quartz Peak Trail is in the Sierra Estrella Wilderness. It is accessed from Rainbow Valley and Riggs Roads, approximately 25 miles southwest of Phoenix. -Drive west on I-10 to exit 126 and go south on Estrella Parkway to Elliot Road. -Turn right on Elliot and go west to Rainbow Valley Road. -Turn left and follow Rainbow Valley Road south about 9.3 miles until the pavement ends at Riggs. -Turn left on Riggs Road and drive east 4.0 miles to Bullard Ave. -Turn right, cross the culvert and make an immediate left onto the dirt road (Riggs). -Continue east, following the “TRAIL” signs, 5.3 miles to the Powerline Rd. (part of the road is very sandy, high clearance vehicle required.) Turn right and continue 1.9 miles. -Turn left at the brown “TRAIL” sign. The trailhead is another 1.9 miles east of the power line.