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Quartz Ridge Overview

Quartz Ridge is one of my favorite hikes within the Phoenix Metro area to take on before or after work during the week, or sometimes during the weekend if I am looking for a quick hike. The trail to Quartz Ridge starts at the 40th Street Trailhead of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, which has ample parking relative to some other trailheads in the area. Though this trail is a bit rougher than some of the more developed trails like Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak, I like that sometimes because it keeps the masses away! Once you reach the ridge, there are also some lesser official trails that have emerged over time that lend to some great addition views and exploring along the ridgeline. Stay safe and stay on the trail! There are a lot of jagged and loose rocks along the ridge.

Logistics (2.2 Miles Roundtrip)

The gates open and close at sunrise and sunset, respectively. If you are coming after work, just be sure you are in the gate prior to sunset; the exit gate will stay open to allow you out of the parking lot. The parking lot closes earlier, but the Phoenix Mountain Preserve itself is technically open until 10 p.m. I have heard of some people having trouble getting a parking spot at this trailhead parking lot, but I have personally never experienced any trouble. Park in the official trailhead parking lot located at the end of 40th Street south of Shea Boulevard. If the parking lot is overflowing, it may be tempting to park along the street in the nearby neighborhood. If you do, make sure you abide by any “No Parking” zones and please be respectful of the neighbors and their property! The pin on the below map marks the location of the trailhead parking area.

Gear and Gadgets

Very minimal gear is needed for this hike. If weather permits, I have done this hike without bringing any water along at all (though, generally this is frowned upon, particularly in the hot summer months!). If you are looking to play it safe, bring along a small day pack with the minimum items shown in my Day Trip Gear Guide. If you are running this trail, be careful. I have seen quite a few people get twisted ankles on the trail (though I have not yet had that experience). Make sure you have shoes with plenty of support! If there is a chance of you doing any hiking in the dark based on your arrival/departure time, be sure to bring a good head lamp along with you!

Further Reading

Leave No Trace Principles

Outdoors and Wilderness First Aid

The Phoenix Area’s Parks and Preserves – Donna and George Hartz