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Quartz Canyon, AZ

Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
  2.5 of 5 
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Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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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
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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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  5:38am - 7:25pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2019 Woodbury Fire123.8k

Warning the 2019 Woodbury Fire & 2020 Sawtooth Fire damaged a majority of the Superstition Wilderness.
Tucked away behind Tortilla Flat
by azmike

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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.

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.

    Permit $$

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

    Map Drive
    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
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    prehydrate & stay hydrated
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