Welcome to Saguaro heaven! For those of us visiting Scottsdale on a quick vacation, be sure to add the Quartz Ridge Trail to your itinerary for your fill of hiking and cacti.
The Quartz Ridge Trail (also known as trail #8A of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve) is a quick out and back hike totaling approximately 3.5 miles. The path starts wide and slow and becomes thinner and steeper as the trail goes on, with lots of switchbacks to make the elevation gain (705 feet) feel extremely manageable.
One of my girlfriends and I hiked the trail in a little over an hour, stopping along for lots of cactus pictures and views of the city down below. There’s excellent signage, and follow the markers for #8A. There are many other trails that intersect, so if you’d like to increase mileage that’s entirely possible.
Only 10 minutes from town, we popped over to Růže Cake House right on Main Street for lattes and a snack afterwards and then headed straight to the pool back at the Sanctuary. It was the perfect morning and such fun exploring a new trail! Check out my quick and dirty review below:
QUARTZ RIDGE TRAIL (#8A PHOENIX PRESERVE)
Best Time of Year To Go: Fall – Spring (when it doesn’t get too hot!)
Hiking Distance: 3.5 miles out and back
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
- Be sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen as the hike up and back is shade-free. You can also check for heat advisories here.
- There’s a small parking at 32nd St and Lincoln with about 10 spaces that puts you right at the trailhead.
- Southern Arizona and parts of Mexico are the only places where you can catch the Saguaro in it’s natural habitat. You’ll enjoy seeing so many along the trail.
- No permit required – yay!
- This hike is easily accessible from Scottsdale resorts and hotels, yet is not as hectic as Camelback Mountain.
- At the end of the trail, it merges with #8B, so look for markers to make sure you don’t go too far — unless you want the extra mileage ;).
Rating: Great experience! (4/5 stars)
Let’s connect… Have you been to Scottsdale, and did you also love the Quartz Ridge Trail? Besides Camelback Mountain, what other hikes should I bookmark for my next visit?