Getting to this trail is not the easiest when coming from the south from Maricopa. Initially, we attempted to hike Quartz Peak on 23 March, but couldn't make it along the powerline road as it is too washed out to take a low clearance car (naturally, a Dodge Dart) and I started stinking up the clutch and almost tore a hole in the sidewall of my tires from the slick, sharp rocks trying to get back over the first hill on the entrance to the powerline road. Deciding to abandon Quartz Peak, we hiked Seven Mile Mtn. instead. Afterwards, we went back out to Hwy. 238, down to the landfill, and around the airport. We then found the Quartz Peak trailhead, but by then it was late afternoon.
Driving a manual made it easier for me to creep the car over some of the washed out areas and to keep her going through all the sand. But, the sand is the important part here. Coming around the airport, about 75% of the road is either in a sand wash or on very sandy ground. The first time we went (23 March), it had rained about 2 weeks prior, so there hadn’t yet been a great deal of traffic through the sandy parts. Fast forward to 13 April (3 week later), and the same road around the airport was a lot rougher. You see, everyone with 4wd and high clearance, takes the road quickly (because they can). As a result, the sand loses its compaction from the rain, and the bumps and dips get steeper and deeper. The second time around, I bumped the car bumper a couple times on some of the deeper dips, and the sand was a lot softer beneath my tires. Therefore, it is not impossible to reach the Quartz Peak trail with a low clearance 2wd car, but make sure you are experienced driving on sand, over rough terrain, and know how to dig a car out after it gets stuck; and carry a shovel, and a couple extra gallons of water.
As for the trail, for getting back into hiking after several years of not doing any, this trail was a great reminder of the ass-kicking that is what makes hiking so much fun. The Stats Box on this trail says that a round trip on average takes 3-4 hours. I can definitely see that that as being the case, but since it was our first time back on mountains, my wife and I took quite a bit longer. About 3 hours each way. There were lots of cairns along the trail, which was nice until the second half as we begun to scramble over rocks. The issue is that there are cairns everywhere to the point that there is no single trail up and over the rocks. Therefore, unfortunately, you are left "choosing your own adventure".
Since we were there the whole day, we encountered a total of 6 other pairs of hikers. Several people had brought their dogs on the trail. For that, I'd say make sure your pooch is conditioned for constant sun exposure and climbing over rocks. The hardest part of the trail is at the top, which is when the dogs are the most tired. We saw some people hoisting their dogs halfway up the rocks, hoping the dogs would climb the other half. The dogs attempted to, but you could see how exhausted they were. So again, to emphasize: only bring your dogs if they are not overweight, they are conditioned for the sun, their pads are hardened off to rough ground, and they have experience climbing and jumping over rocks and boulders.
Seating (that's comfortable) on the Quartz peak is limited, but it is certainly very cool to the touch. You get a great view of Seven Mile Mountain, South Mountain, and many others. We were even able to see Picacho Peak (~70 miles as the crow flies)!
Overall, it’s a terrific hike, but it can take a lot out of you if you aren’t conditioned, don’t cover up, and bring plenty of water. We will definitely be doing this trail again, many more times!