Hike to Quartz peak near Phoenix, Arizona
The hike starts in a typical Sonoran desert, with Cholla and Saguaro along the trail. The flat start of the hike gets you warmed up for the climb. Once the trail reaches the base of the Sierra Estrella mountain range, be prepared for sustained climbing. The trail is well marked and in good shape. The higher the climb, the better the views, and there are plenty on this hike.
At about mile 2.5, the trail starts to fade, eventually becoming a series of rock cairns. Continue climbing here, as the views from the peak are well worth the added effort. Your route finding skills will come in handy here. Try to stay along the ridgeline that you have been hiking the entire time and you will be able to stay on the right route. Your goal is the white tipped peak you see at each false summit. The last part of the hike to the top takes a little scrambling.
There is a dual reward for your effort. The top is made up of pink quartz boulders, which stay cool and make for a nice geological change from the typical desert peak. The other reward is the outstanding 360 views at the top. You can see the entire Sierra Estrella range from here, as well as downtown Phoenix to the North East and Rainbow Valley to the west.
Enjoy this view while you can. Rainbow Valley is in the process of being sold to developers. The view of this pristine desert near Phoenix will be drastically changing in the near future. There aren't many secluded desert mountain climbs this close to Phoenix any more, so enjoy this one.
Return by the same route.