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Quartz Peak Trail - Sierra Estrella
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mini location map2021-02-27
5 by photographer avatarGrangerGuy
photographer avatar
 
Quartz Peak Trail - Sierra EstrellaPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 27 2021
GrangerGuy
Hiking5.20 Miles 2,494 AEG
Hiking5.20 Miles   6 Hrs   9 Mns   1.29 mph
2,494 ft AEG   2 Hrs   8 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The Quartz Peak Trail is the best -- if not the only -- trail in the Sierra Estrella Wilderness. I had read on the BLM site and other sources that this trail was little used. Apparently that is no longer true. We saw about 15 people altogther on a Saturday in February. That doesn't qualify as little used to me!

The driving directions in the HAZ guide (North & West Valley Access by @sarichter) are excellent. Do not be tempted by all the many roads that criscross that area and do not diverge from the recommended route to the trailhead. On the way home, I thought we would explore some of these roads. Google Maps led us on much worse roads than the recommended Riggs road, eventually telling us we had to drive through a fence that no longer had a gate. That area west of the Estrallas was once farmed, but no longer. There are even the remains of a paved road with lines on it running parallel to Riggs Road, but it is pretty scary with washouts.

We headed out from the trailhead around 9:40, and started our march up the hill. This is not my favorite time to start; I prefer to get going as the sun comes up, as the light is better for pictures. But I compromised for my companion that day.

When we approached the summit, there was a family with a teenager just scrambling down the last 50 feet or so. This was good, because it helped me see the easier way up. We were about to take a harder way up. My companion bumped his head on a rock, and decided he had gone far enough. I scrambled up to the summit, signed the register and took some pictures. The summit register doubles as a geocache. Geocaches are generally not allowed in the wilderness, but I guess this one gets away with it because it is also a summit register. I logged the cache as well.

Then I scrambled back down to the little saddle just below the summit, and enjoyed my lunch along with my buddy. After a pleasant rest, we headed down, returning to our car about 3:45.
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