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Quartz Trail - MSP, AZ

Guide 94 Triplogs  2 Topics
  2.5 of 5 
no permit
603 94 2
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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
Backpack No
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5  2021-10-24
Lost Dog Wash to Taliesin Overlook
15  2021-02-28 Nate_F
7  2021-02-02
Quartz Paradise
5  2021-01-16 Nightstalker
4  2021-01-03 jillyonanadventu
3  2020-06-30
Quartz deposit Mcdowells
6  2020-04-27
Maricopa Trail - Scottsdale/Gateway
4  2020-03-28
Quartz-Lost Dog-Sunrise MSP
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6
Author turp182
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 0
Photos 47
Trips 6 map ( 35 miles )
Age 48 ?
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar → Any
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:39am - 5:43pm
Official Route
13 Alternative

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.
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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.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2004-02-06 turp182
  • 2018 Southern Region
    area related
    2018 Southern Region
  • 2018 Gateway
    area related
    2018 Gateway
  • 2018 Tom's Thumb
    area related
    2018 Tom's Thumb

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.

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Map Drive
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.
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