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Quartz Trail - MSP, AZ
details
drive
no permit
forecast
route
stats
506
80
2
topics
nearby
The Quartz trail and it's fellow connected trails form the beginning of the planned McDowell Sonoran Preserve hiking system.

The trail itself follows a wash through the McDowell Mountain Ranch development for about two miles before entering the actual preserve. These two miles aren't of particular interest, and homes are almost always visible nearby. But it is quiet and not heavily used.

Once out of the neighborhood there a variety of options are available, including a short hike to the Taliesin overlook, a short strenuous climb to a quartz outcropping, and a hike that leads into the McDowells.


The hike into the McDowells is of the most interest to me, as it leads out of civilization and into the heart of the southern McDowells. It's the same direction as the quartz climb, just take left turns at the two intersections and you should end up heading north. Once past the path leading up to the quartz outcropping the trail continues around the quartz mountain into the McDowells. Great views of Thompson peak (the peak is less than a mile away at times), pure serenity, and thick vegetation make this the payoff for me. The trail follows a large open wash that twists and turns near the end. The trail ends at a rock waterfall that's about 10 feet high. There isn't a trail beyond that point and I don't recommend bushwhacking further on (Sonoran Preserve rules prevent that).

As for difficulty, it's pretty easy. It is a steady climb until you turn around, and if you combine the Taliesin overlook with the quartz climb then you add several hundred more feet to the elevation change for more difficulty.

The trails are suited for mountain biking and trail running; most people on the trails are doing those activities.

I recommend this trail near sunset and on cloudy days when rain is threatening. There's nothing like watching the low lying clouds roll over and conceal the peaks and fill in the valleys.

The map in the images doesn't show the full distance the trail goes back.
Description 80 Triplogs  2 Topics
RatedFavorite  
Wish List 2
 Region
 
0
0
 Phoenix NE
Statistics
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 4.86 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,580 feet
Elevation Gain 1,038 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,105 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.54
Author turp182
Descriptions 1
Routes 0
Photos 47
Trips 6 map ( 35 miles )
Age 43 ?
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Photos
Viewed All Mine Following
11  2016-02-22 Widowmaker
6  2016-02-15 Crzy4AZ
5  2016-02-06
Taliesin Trail - MSP
Crzy4AZ
4  2016-01-16
McDowell Loop
The_Eagle
9  2015-12-12
Taliesin Trail - MSP
Crzy4AZ
24  2015-12-02
West World Trail - MSP
New2hyk
1  2015-11-01
Paradise Trail - MSP
Crzy4AZ
10  2015-06-06
Taliesin trail to Quartz outcrop MSP
Crzy4AZ
9  2015-03-21 Crzy4AZ
36  2015-02-20 New2hyk
51  2015-02-17
West World Trail - MSP
New2hyk
56  2015-02-11
West World Trail - MSP
New2hyk
Page 1,  2,  3
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Backpack   No
Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar → Any
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:19am - 7:41pm
Route Scout
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Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
West World Trail - MSP
0.8 mi away
3.2 mi
67 ft
Taliesin Trail - MSP
0.8 mi away
2.4 mi
441 ft
Paradise Trail - MSP
1.3 mi away
1.5 mi
360 ft
104th Street Trail - MSP
1.5 mi away
0.8 mi
84 ft
Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West
1.5 mi away
1.0 mi
50 ft
Levee Trail - MSP
1.7 mi away
1.0 mi
238 ft
[ View More! ]
Fauna
Abert's Towhee
American Kestrel
Anna's Hummingbird
Assassin Bug
Bendire's Thrasher
Black Tailed Gnatcatcher
Black-Throated Sparrow
Cactus Wren
Common side-blotched lizard
Costa's Hummingbird
Curve-billed Thrasher
European Starling
Gambel's Quail
Gila Woodpecker
Gilded Flicker
Great-tailed Grackle
Greater Roadrunner
Honey Bee
House Finch
Kangaroo Rat
Loggerhead Shrike
Mourning Cloak Butterfly
Mourning Dove
Mule Deer
Neotropic Cormorant
Northern Mockingbird
Phainopepla
Rock Pigeon
Rock Squirrel
Rock Wren
Rosy-faced Lovebird
Say's Phoebe
Unidentified Fauna
Verdin
Western Screech Owl
White-Crowned Sparrow
Flora
Barrel Cactus
Barrel Cactus - Compass Barrel
Blue Dicks
Blue Fiestaflower
Buckhorn Cholla
Buffel Grass
Chuparosa
Coulter's Lupine
Desert Mistletoe
Fountain Grass
Many-Headed Barrel Cactus
Mexican Gold Poppy
Ocotillo
Pelotazo
Saguaro
Teddy Bear Cholla
Texas mountain laurel
Unidentified Flora
Wild Heliotrope
Geology
Quartz
Meteorology
Crepuscular rays
Moon
Sunset
Named place
Camelback Mountain
Taliesin Overlook
Thompson Peak
Culture
Cairn
Gila Petroglyph Style (Anthropomorphic)
Gila Petroglyph Style (Zoomorphic)
Trail Signs and Markings
Great McDowell Wash
by turp182

The Quartz trail and it's fellow connected trails form the beginning of the planned McDowell Sonoran Preserve hiking system.

The trail itself follows a wash through the McDowell Mountain Ranch development for about two miles before entering the actual preserve. These two miles aren't of particular interest, and homes are almost always visible nearby. But it is quiet and not heavily used.

Once out of the neighborhood there a variety of options are available, including a short hike to the Taliesin overlook, a short strenuous climb to a quartz outcropping, and a hike that leads into the McDowells.


The hike into the McDowells is of the most interest to me, as it leads out of civilization and into the heart of the southern McDowells. It's the same direction as the quartz climb, just take left turns at the two intersections and you should end up heading north. Once past the path leading up to the quartz outcropping the trail continues around the quartz mountain into the McDowells. Great views of Thompson peak (the peak is less than a mile away at times), pure serenity, and thick vegetation make this the payoff for me. The trail follows a large open wash that twists and turns near the end. The trail ends at a rock waterfall that's about 10 feet high. There isn't a trail beyond that point and I don't recommend bushwhacking further on (Sonoran Preserve rules prevent that).

As for difficulty, it's pretty easy. It is a steady climb until you turn around, and if you combine the Taliesin overlook with the quartz climb then you add several hundred more feet to the elevation change for more difficulty.

The trails are suited for mountain biking and trail running; most people on the trails are doing those activities.

I recommend this trail near sunset and on cloudy days when rain is threatening. There's nothing like watching the low lying clouds roll over and conceal the peaks and fill in the valleys.

The map in the images doesn't show the full distance the trail goes back.
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One-Way Notice: This hike is listed as One-Way. When you hike 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.

Permit $$
None


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
101 to Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW), east on FLW. North on Thompson Peak Parkway. East on McDowell Mountain Ranch. Hang a right onto 104th and pull into the parking lot (SW corner of 104th and McDowell Mountain Ranch). Cross 104th, heading south, follow sign to trail. Hang a left to take the trail towards the McDowells.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
stay out of the scorching sun
prehydrate & stay hydrated
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