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Quartz Crystal Arroyo, AZ

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Guide 27 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
3.6 of 5 by 8
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 1 mile
Trailhead Elevation 2,087 feet
Elevation Gain -162 feet
Avg Time One Way 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 1.27
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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16  2019-03-25
Quartz Crystal Arroyo Loop
15  2019-03-24
Pedestal Arch
10  2019-03-24
Pedestal Arch
10  2019-03-24
Pedestal Arch
13  2019-03-10
Helmet Rock & Checkmate Arch
13  2019-03-10
Helmet Rock & Checkmate Arch
36  2019-03-02
Goldfield Arroyo and Window
20  2019-02-06
Goldfields: Golden Dome and Peak 3141
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author AZLOT69
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 247
Photos 7,293
Trips 1,818 map ( 15,596 miles )
Age 68 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Dec, Feb, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:11am - 6:30pm
Official Route
14 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
All For Show
by AZLOT69

The Quartz Crystal Arroyo Trail is a connector trail enabling a variety of loops and access into some very scenic parts of the Goldfields. While short in length this trail is long on scenery as it parallels the south side of Golden Eye monolith. The outrageous mixture of material making up the rock outcroppings lie as evidence to the turmoil that took place here in the Willow Springs Cauldron. Prominent throughout this canyon is the glitter from the generous amount of quartz crystal scattered about. The semi-precious quartz crystal glistens in the sun like diamonds.

Approaching from the Javelina Mine Trail, take the Golden Eye Trail to the left. In about one fifth of a mile the Golden Eye Mine Trail curves toward the north. Watch for a cairn on the left here. This is your trailhead. There is a faint trail as it starts toward the west on a sparsely vegetated smooth rock area. There are nice high views of the rugged Goldfields in front of you as you proceed west. In about a quarter mile you approach a rock outcropping. At this point you have an option. The trail bifurcates and you can take the high road or take the low road. If this is an out and back for you, go one way, return the other. You will notice a large cairn above you on the ledge. Go left here and work your way down into the arroyo. Once down go right. Like so many other Goldfield hikes, this trail would be a thrill in wet weather. Just follow the arroyo taking the path of least resistance. In a short time the arroyo makes a slight turn towards the north and passes by more unusual rock structures. Hopefully you can spend some time and explore the many features. The trail comes to a slick rock area filled with pools. Rough-N-Ready Canyon joins here entering from the left. Continuing straight the trail enters a grove of mesquite that supplies a nice canopy of shade for a break. This is the end of the Quartz Crystal Arroyo Trail and your turn around point unless you are connecting on a longer outing.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2010-01-12 AZLOT69

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    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 Crystal Arroyo
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Black Glass-Saguaro Lake-Willow Spgs Cyn Loop
    I'd never done anything in the Goldfields before, so I PM'd The Gecko that Treks for some suggestions. She through out a few suggestions and I ended up putting a twist on one that she and LP had just finished.

    We started at the Willow Canyon TH at first light. None of the trails out here are signed, but most are in great shape. Temps. in the 30's forced a brisk pace to start. The sweet geology was painted in orange, with the rising sun.

    The first off trail section took us to what are no longer the Tanks that were camouflaged. This is an interesting area that has seen recent improvements. For the life of me, I can't figure out how the water gets from the Tanks to the higher in elevation trough.

    We worked our way downhill to my favorite part of the hike, Black Glass Canyon. Practicing Safety First, we worked our way through the many obstacles in this canyon getting to Willow Creek. From here it was a bit more than 2 miles to get to Saguaro Lake/Salt River. Almost to the lake, we ran into a couple of ladies coming in from the lake, that thought they'd discovered a new canyon. :lol:

    I had plans to do some additional off trail exploring from here, but the canyon walls did not cooperate. So we reversed direction and headed back up Willow Creek. Joe enjoyed this portion so much that for the next 3.5 miles all I head was Bla, Bla, Bla.

    Finally out of the creek bed and back on a trail it was smooth sailing back to the trailhead. Looks like there's plenty more areas to check out.

    Quartz Crystal Arroyo
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Black Glass-Saguaro Lake-Willow Spgs Cyn Loop
    Willow Canyon Trailhead
    6:37am Cold start, pants kept it bearable.

    Gold Eagles Nugget Trail
    Nice trail, great condition. I'm not sure if the trail is local or FS maintained... regardless, the FS would be smart to sign and designate official trails.

    Quartz Crystal Arroyo
    Course variation of @AZLOT69's description.The trail through here is impressively manicured and quick.

    Razorback Knob
    No matter how you slice it this is a fanciful orchestra of terrain! Hit it sunrise or sunset! We missed that light, 'twas dazzling in the previous two paragraphs. Like crackin' the whip on Breezin Lad early 90's this is a guaranteed winner.

    Camouflage Tanks
    The tanks have been replaced. As a result, they are not camouflaged anymore. We didn't follow @sventre's description route but it's cool to now know about the Cottonwood Spring access into the Goldfields! Worthy destination for the views alone.

    Black Glass Canyon - aka Obsidian
    Snazzy obstacle course canyon. Similar to the huge boulder entrance of Peter's Canyon with Fish Creek (upper bridge) accents. Slow going and just barely in my current ability range. Didn't know to look for the triple arch. The canyon is plenty to engage my attention.

    Willow Springs Canyon Lower
    Never ending sinking steps sand/gravel creek beds rate pure hell in my book. The view at shoreline is the inlet not the lake view desired. Met two friendly kayakers a tenth of a mile from the lake.

    Willow Springs Canyon to Willow Springs Basin Tank
    No thank you. Joe wake up, never do this again.

    Willow Springs Basin Tank to Willow Canyon Trailhead
    Back on trails, life is good.

    Hike to and through Black Glass Canyon is outstanding!
    Quartz Crystal Arroyo
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Goldfields Figure 8 Loop and Arroyo
    We've had this on our TO DO list ever since we saw it posted and boy was it a winner. I think the previous hikers trip reports were holding out on us as to how beautiful this "keep on giving" figure 8/loop was as we were pleased with each corner we turned, each hill we crested, each valley we went thru and then to top it off, there were wildflowers, water in the arroyo, cool-shaped clouds, great temperatures and a really awesome arch. Other than the humidity, it couldn't have been a better day. Plus, after a little extra route finding, I was able to visit the bedrock bench that I was last at in 2010. So thanks Kelly for a great day in the Goldfields and thanks for dinner after.

    Oh ya, the hike. Starting out on the road you eventually hang a left and head west altho we went a little further and Kelly took a look at RS to discover we SHOULD have taken that first turn. It was very green out already as we headed west for a bit before coming to another section to head west again as I wanted to do the Figure 8/Loop that way so we could hit the Arroyo on the way back if I felt up to it. You eventually come to a little canyon like area that you hike through so that was a pleasant surprise. You go up and down a little and have great views to the north. Eventually you end up doing a little road walk before heading north toward a gold faced mountain.

    It was a little climb up to here where you get right below the rock face before heading up above it to the huge bedrock area that Kelly and I were anxious to see. It was so cool and the views :y: . The clouds were pretty awesome too and then as we topped the bedrock area we even got some wildflower action as we made our way down the back end. After crossing the wash which you could take toward Top Hat we continued north on familiar ground to the intersection with the top part of the loop. I didn't think there was anything of interest and thot we would have to bushwhack after crossing the wash but we decided as long as it looked like a good trail we would see where "the boys" went. Needless to say, sure glad we decided to proceed.

    We had lunch on top of some folded bedrock with views in all directions. It was still overcast so everything seemed extra colorful. In fact, I'm having to tone down the colors in my pictures as the camera seemed to photograph in such a saturated way. After lunch we walked thru one of those interesting areas where the ground is somewhat void of vegetation and there are little rocks and some lava-looking boulders scattered about. Luckily the trail went the whole way as I don't think we crossed over the deepest part of the wash. Kelly went and took a picture of her cracked boulder and we checked out the tunnel we think is so cool before continuing our way around this little mountain. We saw a cave above and I zoomed in and we also saw a little arch.

    As we were hiking ahead of us to the left we could see a great stand of saguaros on the hillside. Little did we know we would get to hike right next to them. That's the second time when we saw something cool from a distance and then found ourselves hiking next to it (the huge bedrock face of the mountain earlier and now this). Once again we would cross over a wash and alongside another mountain. It seemed like we would go up about two mountains and then down into these little valleys. It was a constant blitz of really cool stuff to see :y: . In fact, when I talked to two horseback riders, they made the same comment. I do wonder if the horses wear different shoes to hold onto that bedrock, especially when they're going down it? Just before meeting up with them we saw the middle line of the 8 but opted to continue on our loop since we still wanted to go see the Arroyo.

    The horses went one way and we went the other way. I think their way was the short cut but once again, glad we went the day we did as we got to see the Window Arch. Kelly had walked right by. I think I had it marked on RS who was barking at me. So we had a little fun in that. We saw the inch worm earlier. After making a bit of a turn to the east and around we reached a wash and intersection where I thot there was a trail over to the Crystal Arroyo so we proceeded over there. It did have water in it but not as much as I had hoped. We took a short break here; it was really nice. The next goal was to find the long bedrock bench I had been on back in 2010 with Kat, Bruce, Ambika and johnr1. We just had such a wonderful time there so I wanted to re-live that moment for a moment.

    At the end of the Crystal Arroyo trail I felt we should go off trail to the bench but just wasn't sure; after all, it's been seven years. We ended up on the Golden Eye Trail as we went south and then east getting further away from the Waypoint I had marked. We backtracked UP hill and came to the area where we cross over to the bench with a slight detour to check out a possible route to Helmet Rock. I said to Kelly, "today?!" and she said "yes if it looked like we could make it easily from here". We went north to an edge and easy was definitely not to be. So we headed back toward the bench. We sat for awhile but since it got chilly we left and headed back to the Arroyo.

    We got to the intersection we had been at earlier and then continued southish on part of the trail we had been on before when we were out here. It was a fairly quick couple of miles when we were "hiking for beer". The sun started to come out by this point but it never got warm. I never took off my outer shirt the entire way and though the time doesn't show it, Kelly kept up a pretty good pace; mostly so I wouldn't dally with my camera too long :lol: and as you all know, that's a tall task.

    I think this ended up being my longest hike since August 2014 when I did some AZT that was around 15 miles. So that's two weekends in a row of long hikes this year... then again, the elevation and trail conditions made that very doable. I'm still working on the many, many photos I took and it's been fun editing them as it was a beautiful hike. The videos could be awhile as usual. I can't wait to see them myself.

    Part 1 from the road [ youtube video ]
    Part 2 to the Keyhole [ youtube video ]
    Part 3 to the Wash [ youtube video ]
    Part 4 to top of Loop [ youtube video ]
    Part 5 east side of loop [ youtube video ]
    Part 6 east side continued to middle of the 8 [ youtube video ]
    Part 7 to junction with Rough n Ready, side trip toward Arroyo [ youtube video ]
    Part 8 Crystal Quartz Arroyo, search for Bench and back to TH [ youtube video ]

    scattered poppies and scorpion weed.
    Quartz Crystal Arroyo
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    Goldfields Figure 8
    this hike has been in the works since we've seen tracks posted from @hikerdw, @hikingaz2 and @rtaylor3235
    set out around 8:00 sunday morning
    followed the route pretty well except for the actual crossover area that makes it a figure 8, staying on obvious horse trails and out of the washes
    seems like any goldfields hike takes a couple miles to get interesting, but the vistas and greenery make up for it
    took the left leg first, eventually dropping into a deep wash or shallow canyon
    stayed left, and by that point we were into the more dramatic rock formations
    nice climb up to a bedrock area with stellar views
    started seeing poppies and other wildflowers
    wound north and northwest on a horse trail
    wasn't until i recognized a certain rock formation that i realized we'd gone this way on the pedestal arch hike
    took the horse trail to where it curved around and had lunch on a rock outcropping, again with nice views and great scenery
    the next segment went past crack-in-the-rock [ photo ] , the rock tunnel, a dense saguaro stand and an arch
    dropped down to rough and ready canyon - there were actually a couple of paths for this, but we stuck to the posted track, and angela spotted another arch
    angela knew of a use trail that cut over to quartz crystal arroyo, wanting to see if there was flowing water and check out a rock bench up above
    pools of water but no flow, and we had a bit of a chase finding the rock bench, even heading down golden eye mine for several hundred yards
    the bench also offered great views, especially of helmet rock :)
    (shameless plug for my forum post: viewtopic.php?p=122923#p122923)
    retraced our steps down the arroyo, back to rough & ready and back out
    very nice loop, didn't quite get the middle of the 8
    fun day exploring some new territory in the goldfields
    angela couldn't enjoy her beer at the trailhead due to some annoying bugs, so we packed it in and hit la casita for dinner
    thanks for doing this one with me, tibber
    still so much more to see out there
    posting more photos that usual, as the boys didn't take many and we both feel this hike is worth sharing
    Quartz Crystal Arroyo
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Goldfields Rambling
    we had intended to follow hikerdw's figure 8, and started out clockwise on the bottom loop
    got distracted by some of the peaks ahead of us, and contoured around to see if we could find a summit
    ended up in rough-n-ready canyon, and headed north to the confluence with willow springs canyon
    in between, went partway up a drainage to see what we could see up high
    went back on the sandy road in willow springs canyon, then found a trail that cut over to rough-n-ready
    accidently turned onto quartz crystal arroyo, which is a very nice trail, then finished sort of on javelina mine trail
    so we didn't do the figure 8, and that can be revisited another time
    explored some caves, saw some great scenery, saw a gila monster (3rd one for me but first photos) and an eastern collared lizard
    saw six hikers and four horseback riders
    more research is needed as i really don't know what the landmarks are out here or exactly all the trails we were on
    intriguing area and some of the high points might be fun
    thanks for the hike, john
    Quartz Crystal Arroyo
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    It didn't seem like we took that many breaks since we only sat down once for lunch. I guess it was the exploring and stopping to gawk, oh and of course, the blood trail we followed. Second, thx Kelly for co-navigating this one. It was a bit tricky because there are so many trails and options now. Third, we missed two of the areas from last time so I'll be heading back in the spring to find them.

    We met at the TH and headed across the road and up the Javelina Mine Trail before splitting left to catch up with the now trailed Rough n Ready Canyon Trail. You do have to be somewhat careful out here now as there are trails and they are unmarked so you better know where you're going. The scenery out here is very interesting and fun to investigate what catches your eye like a cave we saw above the trail. We climbed up to it and it is pretty big. We had Jack do the scat check before heading back down to the trail which at this point was high above the wash. Another note of caution is when you do end up going in the washes, watch for where the trail leaves the wash but then you have to be mindful if the trail you catch out is the right one. You have to know where you are going, that is if you have a specific route or destination you're looking for.

    Before the cave or about 1/2 hr after seeing the first blood we finally found the resolution to the significant blood spots we followed for almost a mile. We had hoped it wasn't a human being bleeding like that and thot maybe a horse and then Jack said maybe a hunter had nabbed something. The blood stains were very recent. Soon Jack looked up from the trail and saw the guts of the hunted deer. Mystery solved.

    We continued in and out of the wash and into the Canyon with expanded views of the lichen-covered rockery with layers of tuft waving through it. I have to say, it's much more beautiful when the sun shines on it though. I looked at my photo set from last time and was duly impressed with those and other pictures we had taken last time on a beautiful weather day. I was shocked I didn't take any video so I made up for it this time ;) .

    We saw a porthole in what I called the Tuff Wave Mountain. Kelly was intrigued and decided to go on up. She made pretty quick time of it and soon her head was peeking thru the port hole so we got pictures of her. Didn't know she got a pic of us too so that was pretty cool. We then followed the trail up from the wash and it headed to the right and behind the mountain, NOT the direction we wanted to go.

    It was here that I thot we had come up to on our way back so we made our way down this tricky area thru an opening between the rocks and by a little cave. As I was balancing myself across this steeper section I went to use the side wall only to have a huge chunk of it slide and bounce off my leg. That hurt! It's best if you want to take the short cut up to catch the backside of that mountain to do it UP, not down. And now, that's not even necessary as I see when we did it last time on the way back, we ended back in the wash again after going all around this narrow mountain.

    But we got back down to the wash and continued until the trail part ended. We decided to go up (SW) this wash/canyon for a bit before continuing on in the main wash looking for that turn around point from last time. This little side adventure was pretty cool scenery-wise. It looks like if you continue in that SW wash it veers to the south and you could possibly take it to Cottonwood Spring. Looking at the satellite vision, there may even be some trail to hook up with.

    We passed by the area we turned around at last time but I didn't even realize it as it doesn't look what I remembered. What a surprise? Anyway, we decided we would continue around one more corner... well an S curve actually. We didn't go far and then headed back a moment or two to end up eating what would be a quick lunch as it started to sprinkle so we were off again. For the rest of our hike it would rain on and off again. We headed back toward the trail that takes you up and around the wavy mountain but this trail wasn't veering to the right down to the Crystal Arroyo so we bushwhacked our way down to the Rough n Ready Canyon.

    Soon we came upon the Arroyo but it didn't have much water in it. However, the whole area along here is pretty cool :) . It started to rain a little harder so we didn't get to dally much. The rain stopped once we got to the top of the hill above the arroyo. This is a neat area too as you continue out of the canyon. The sights and views are still plentiful as we headed back toward the Javelina Mine Trail.

    We did get off track once going up a hill. That trail actually takes you over to the Willow Springs Trail to the east and then you could hang a right and head for the highway but we chose to go back down and hang a left (right if you were coming from the west) at the intersection. That's one thing I still struggle with is which way to turn or keep going straight :? ?

    You walk between some of the lower mountains and up a bit and past Checkmate Arch which we decided was too much of a scramble and with impending weather; we kept on moving. It is very green through here as you wind between the hills and eventually to the road that takes you back to the TH across the highway. The rain started to get more serious by now and let go when we arrived at our vehicles so we loaded up quickly and headed for Los Gringos but not before Jack handed out Pat's cookies which Kelly ate on the way. I saved mine for later.

    On the photoset, I included some pics from our hike in 2010. Last, I didn't realize how much video I took and unfortunately, with the lower light I've really had to edit them to get the light up. I only have one done and two are in production but I have several more to finish. Anyway, it was a great day and fun to be back in the Goldfields.

    Part 1 to Rough N Ready Canyon ... bwfU
    Part 2 RnR Canyon ... H4uY including large alcove
    Part 3 RnR ... 35Hs
    (My Favorite of the videos) Part 4 RnR ... 0zm4 including Tuff Wave Mountain
    Part 5 RnR ... nzLg including Side Canyon
    Part 6 RnR to the end and heading back ... OMxU up, out and back in
    Part 7 Quartz Crystal Arroyo ... ajKw
    Part 8 Javelina Mine Trail ... jWNs
    Quartz Crystal Arroyo
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    angela and I have wanted to get out in the goldfields again
    we also wanted to arrange a hike with jack since he is back in az for good
    mary jo came along for the day, too
    angela picked this loop she had done before
    another good sampler with a variety of terrain and trails
    started out on javelin mine trail, taking rough n ready canyon trail after a half mile
    very nice when the canyon narrows, and we took a couple of exploratory side trips
    this canyon eventually connects with willow springs canyon but we didn't go that far, just picked a spot to turn around and have some lunch
    chose a slightly different path on the return, then back down the canyon to crystal quartz arroyo
    this short trail was a highlight, good trail through some cool rock formations
    connected with javelina mine trail again, which seemed the least scenic
    got a few sprinkles at our lunch spot, enough rain to put on rain gear halfway back, and we finished just as the heavy stuff arrived
    good timing
    enjoyed the company and seeing all new trails
    would like to see a map with all the trails on it
    we went off on crossing trails a couple times, and didn't know where they went
    would like tenny's book to be a little more user-friendly
    i think the solution is to spend more time out in the goldfields :)
    ambika hooked up with us at dos gringos for an early dinner
    thank you for that, angela
    thanks for the hike, y'all
    Quartz Crystal Arroyo
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Went back to one of my favorite areas in the Goldfields. Weather was perfect, and we saw no one else all day. We were going to hit Black Class Canyon, but once again started out too late (blaming our late start an a squirrel party the night before.) After heading down the canyon past the Quartz Crystal Arroyo, we headed east and off-trailed it to the Willow Springs Basin Tank trail, then back by the Javelina Mine and out. Beside no people, we saw NO critters today, not even any lizards...

    Interesting that the old wrecked truck at the start of the hike has been removed.
    Quartz Crystal Arroyo
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    Having scoped out Rough & Ready yesterday, I was "Rough & Ready" to do the loop. We did this counter-clockwise, going to Javelina Mine first. Heading towards Quartz Crystal Arroyo we missed the left turn and ended up going about a mile down towards Willow Springs Basin. But that little side trip was totally worth it, beautiful scenery! I'm so glad we did turn around and find the trail to the Arroyo, that was the high point of the hike. Heading down into the Arroyo is simply gorgeous! Once we met the Rough & Ready Canyon, we headed back.

    I definitely want to go further down the Rough & Ready Canyon. Next time!
    Quartz Crystal Arroyo
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Our rough and rowdy group of five took off on a three hour tour of the Goldfields on this reportedly busy day on the trails. Six hours later we returned from a fun filled day as we leisurely enjoyed the solitude of the Goldfields and climbed many trailside features. We saw no one else the entire day, perhaps it was our hearty laughter that kept them away. A great hike topped only by the company I was with.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Starting at the Javelina Mine trailhead on the Apache trail, travel Northeast from Idaho Road in Apache Junction. About 9 miles northeast to just short of highway marker 203. Just before the marker turn right into parking area. The trailhead is not marked but is a clear pulloff area just before the 203 sign and has parking for several dozens cars.
    page created by AZLOT69 on Jan 12 2010 9:27 am
    1 TB Flash Drive... $40
    help comment issue

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