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Quartz Canyon, AZ

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122 2 0
Guide 2 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
Rated
2.5
2.5 of 5 by 2
 
0
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
Statistics
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 5 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 5.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,760 feet
Elevation Gain 1,947 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 14.94
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Waterfall
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
62  2012-01-22 azmike
60  2011-12-26 Vaporman
Author azmike
author avatar Guides 4
Routes 20
Photos 544
Trips 22 map ( 173 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location San Diego, CA
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Feb, Mar → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:24pm
Official Route
 
0 Alternative
 
Water
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Tucked away behind Tortilla Flat
by azmike

Overview
A class 3AIII technical canyon lasso loop hike in the Superstition Wilderness behind Tortilla Flat. The approach to Quartz Canyon involves rock hopping up Tortilla Creek and Peters Canyon, and a rugged and steep climb up a drainage to the ridge just northeast of Geronimo Head. Once atop the ridge, Quartz Canyon can be seen below where two rappels of 120 ft. and 100 ft. await. Quartz Canyon exits onto Peters Canyon where you will rock hop downstream towards Tortilla Creek and the trailhead. This is a nice little canyon with a strenuous climb on the approach, but well worth it.


Warning
Quartz Canyon is a technical canyon requiring rappelling and down climbing skills. Required gear includes climbing helmet, harness, carabiners, descender, ropes, webbing, rap rings, gloves, and canyoneering shoes with good traction. This canyon can be done with a 200 foot rope and a 200 foot pull cord, 40 feet of webbing and 2 rap rings. Flash flooding is a possibility following the rains so canyoneers must monitor the weather and exercise caution before dropping into this canyon.

The Approach
From the overflow parking lot on the east side of the town of Tortilla Flat, start hiking on the well-defined use trail on the east end of the parking lot past the gate. This use trail leads to Tortilla Creek after about 10 minutes of hiking. Continue hiking up Tortilla Creek to Peters Canyon, 0.5 miles from the end of the use trail. Veer right off of Tortilla Creek and into Peters Canyon. Continue up Peters Canyon for another 0.65 miles to a steep drainage on the right marked with large white boulders and some slick rock. Hike up the steep drainage where you will climb 1,200 feet in 0.75 miles. Quartz Canyon is located to the south over the cliffs as you are climbing. Climb to the top of the ridge to the southwest and you will be overlooking Quartz Canyon below. The drop-in for the canyon is (33.50880, -111.37704). There may be some water in the canyon but you should stay dry as you make your way to the two rappels. Both rappels are in the final 0.25 miles of the canyon.

First Rappel
The first rappel is a double drop 120 ft. rappel from a knot choke on LDC or from a BFR about 15 ft. back from the edge. The rappel includes a stop about halfway down in a thigh deep pothole normally filled with water during the in-season months. After stopping at the pothole, you'll continue the rappel over the lip with a free hang to the bottom.

Second Rappel
You won't hike very far until you reach the second rappel which is a nice 100 ft. descent down a slightly angled wall. You'll use all 100 feet of rope on this one. We anchored off of a BFR several feet back from the edge. Once off the rope, there is a short down climb where you can then gear down.

The Exit
From the last rappel, you will hike for a few minutes until you exit out to Peters Canyon from Quartz Canyon. Make a sharp left turn down Peters Canyon for 2.25 miles, backtracking the approach in from Tortilla Flat until you reach the use trail and the vehicles.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your canyon trip to support this local community.

2013-03-31 azmike
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Quartz Canyon
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrating optionrated 1
    We had a large group on this trip, 10 in total and took what we believed to be a shorter route using Peters Canyon on the approach to the ridge overlooking Quartz Canyon. After working our way through Quartz Canyon we returned down Peters Canyon to the vehicles. This made it a lollipop loop.

    We parked at the overflow dirt parking lot on the east end of Tortilla Flat near the museum building. We started off by taking the Tortilla use trail on the east end of the parking lot past the gate. This use trail dumped us into the Tortilla Creek after about 10 minutes of hiking. We continued hiking up the creek bed until we reached Peters Canyon, ~0.5 mile from the end of the use trail. We veered right off of Tortilla Creek and into Peters Canyon. We continued up Peters Canyon for another 0.65 miles to a steep drainage on the right. This drainage is marked with large white boulders and some slick rock. This is the drainage just north of Quartz Canyon.

    This is the toughest part of the trip. You will climb 1,200 ft up this drainage to the ridge. Quartz Canyon is just to the south over the cliffs as your are climbing. Climb to the top of the ridge to the southwest and you will be overlooking Quartz Canyon. Find a convenient place to drop into the Quartz Canyon and start hiking east down Quartz.

    There may be some water in the canyon but you should stay dry as you make your way to the two rappels in this canyon. Both rappels are in the final 0.25 mile of the canyon. The first rappel is a 120 ft with a rest in a thigh deep pothole about halfway down. A few people in the group managed to walk hands and feet on each side of the wall while on the rope to avoid getting wet. The rest of us took the plunge. This rappel had a knot choke anchor which has been there for a long time but we didn't trust. We placed the webbing around a large boulder about 15 ft back from the edge. After stopping halfway down in the water, you'll continue the rappel over a lip with a free hang to the bottom.

    You won't hike very far until you reach the second rappel which is a nice 100 ft descent down a slightly angle wall. We anchored off of a boulder several feet back from the edge. All natural anchors in this canyon. Let's keep it that way.

    From there you will hike for a few minutes until you exit out to Peters Canyon from Quartz Canyon. Make a sharp left turn down Peters Canyon for 2.25 miles, backtracking the approach in from Tortilla Flat until you reach the use trail and then the vehicles.

    This is a nice little canyon with a strenuous climb on the approach, but well worth it.
    Quartz Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Turns out there's two ways to approach this canyon and looks like I choose the scenic way. :lol: From Tortilla Flat, we climbed towards the backside of Geronimos Head and crossed thru upper Geronimos Ravine. From there we proceeded SE along the ridge on the backside of Geronimos Head towards Malapais. Great views from up there BTW. :D There's a saddle between the Head & Malapais and after dropping down to it, we dropped into the drainage on the northside named Quartz Canyon by a fellow canyoneer. The upper canyon involved much bushwhacking and rock hopping but it was scenic enough. Lower down some slickrock, pools, and falls entered the scene. We hit a slick 20ft falls that could have been down climbed but it looked slippery while it was flowing so we decided to rappel it. :) After some more rock hopping, pool avoiding & bypassing another falls we hit that sweet double drop of 120ft. The midway ledge is sharp, so be careful where you place the rope and rappel smoothly. The rope pull can be tricky on this one so rig cleanly and get a good angle on it. Just a little way further down canyon after a couple awkward down climbs you reach another 120ft dry fall. :GB: One down, you got some slippery down climbing past big boulders before you hit Peters Canyon where we dropped gear. From there, you pass thru some of the best sections of narrows & slickrock in Peters before you hit Tortilla Canyon. By then you're tired of rock hopping and just want it to be over, so the bypass trail out of lower Tortilla to Tortilla Flat is always a welcome relief. I'd have to say this is def one of the better recently discovered Supes canyons! :D

    Permit $$
    None

    Tonto National Monument
    $5 per person, 15 and under free more info


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Tortilla Flat Trailhead
    From Idaho Road & SR-88 follow SR-88 east 17.0 miles to Tortilla Flat. Continue just past the buildings and before the bridge-less flood ravine. On the south side of the road near the museum follow a road that rises up. This takes you up to an overflow parking lot where hikers are allowed to park. If you are parking overnight fill out a free permit as stated on the sign.

    Parking elsewhere has been reported by members as a $75 ticket from the Forest Service.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 52.0 mi - about 1 hour 10 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 145 mi - about 2 hours 27 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 196 mi - about 3 hours 14 mins
    page created by Vaporman on Mar 31 2013 4:45 pm
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