Considering many hiking trails in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve are labeled with just a number, it’s possible that planners may have been running short on creativity when they mapped them out. Trail #8 is one trail worth checking out for an exhilarating stroll in the desert.
Since Trail #8 goes right by a deposit of quartz the size of a VW Bus near the top of a ridge, it has earned the nickname Quartz Ridge Trail. It runs north-south through the preserve at the equivalent of what would be 40th Street if it continued through the protected parcel of land.
Quartz Ridge Trail #8
Phoenix Mountains Preserve
Phoenix Mountains Preserve encompasses thousands of acres of undeveloped desert landscape right in the heart of Phoenix. As the crow flies, it’s about eight miles north of Sky Harbor Airport. Locals and visitors enjoy the myriad of trails that offer spectacular views and a unique experience in the undisturbed desert.
- Length: 1.4 one way, 2.8 miles out and back
- Time needed: 1 hour
- Difficulty: Easy
- Elevation gain: 308 ft.
- Precautions: Rugged shoes and 1 liter of water recommended
- Trailhead: 40th Street at Phoenix Mountain Preserve
- Pass/permit required: none
Note: 1 mile = 1.6 kilometers
Video: What you’ll experience on this hike
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Quartz Ridge Trail is easy to access from the Phoenix Mountains Preserve Trailhead near 40th Street & Mountain View. There’s a large parking lot that’s accessible from sunrise until 7 p.m. Other than a vault-type toilet and picnic gazebo, there are not really any amenities at the trailhead.
Trail #8 is accessed from the west end of the parking lot and leads you virtually straight south. Follow the signs for about 1.4 miles to the large mass of Quartz. It’s located about 40 yards up a small hill from a stone memorial bench.
Since I live near the trailhead, I do this hike several times a year. My preferred time of day to hike it is at sunrise in the summer and just before sunset the rest of the year. If you can, allow more than an hour to spend here, I urge you to hike beyond the bench at the 1.4-mile mark and connect to one of the trails that intersect with it. By doing so, you can create a longer, out-and-back hike, or turn it into a loop back to the beginning.
Have questions or suggestions for other trails in Phoenix? Leave a comment in the box below.