Take an exhilarating stroll up Quartz Ridge Trail in Phoenix Mountains Preserve

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.

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.

Quartz Ridge Trail #8 in Phoenix Mountains Preserve
Quartz Ridge Trail #8 in Phoenix Mountains Preserve
Large deposit of quartz near Trail #8 in Phoenix Preserve
Large deposit of quartz near Trail #8 in Phoenix Preserve

Hike summary:

  • 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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Phoenix Mountain Preserve Trail Sign
Phoenix Mountain Preserve Trail Sign

Related: Ultimate interactive guide to Phoenix Desert Preserves and Mountain Parks

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 allot 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, where you don’t retrace your steps at all.

Have questions or suggestions for other trails in Phoenix? Leave a comment in the box below.

Map to Phoenix Mountains Preserve trailhead

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3 Comments

  1. Odd that the map didn’t show up. I don’t know that I’ve hiked the Phoenix mountain preserve area. That is different than the South Mountain area near Ahwatukee, correct?

    1. Yes, this is a different area. If you know where Piestewa Peak is at, it’s in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. Dreamy Draw, too. It’s basically the big undeveloped desert area adjacent to SR51 that runs north from downtown Phoenix.
      Thanks for letting me know the map’s not showing. I’ll fix it.

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