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Hot Town Hikes - Quartz Ridge Trail at Piestewa Peak

If you get the right Oakley lenses, you too can have this exact view from the trail.
Each edition of Hot Town Hikes will highlight one of the great trails in the city that is a convenient location and distance to get in a quick workout or nature walk along your commute.  

First up, Quartz Ridge Trail in the 32nd St Trailhead in the Piestewa Peak/Dreamy Draw area of the Phoenix Mountain Preserves.  Try a premium Gaia GPS subscription to help enjoy this trail and more, at a discount!

Accessed from the small trailhead at 6511 E Sierra Vista Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85018, this is a hike that is typically done as an approximately 2 to 2.5 mile out-and-back hike to the Quartz Ridge saddle with views of the sprawling urban center of Phoenix.  To get a great view of Piestewa Peak--and get in a few more incline steps--go west on the Ruth Hamilton trail from the Quartz Ridge Saddle until you reach the bench with views of Piestewa Peak.  The map below turns around at this bench.  This is a great distance and difficulty for a trail run, a fast-paced hike, or a leisurely stroll through the desert.

Map data and distances are for reference only, confirm all details before leaving.

While the trail is easy, parking frequently isn't.  The trailhead parking lot only has a handful of spaces and is typically full at popular times.  The good news is that there is a lot of parking-space turnover so if you get in the queue you'll probably have a spot very shortly.  Alternatively, if you wish to tempt fate and the towing service, you can ignore the signs and park in the shopping complex across the street--be strategic and take a spot that isn't convenient for patrons of the businesses in this complex.

The trail itself is relatively unchallenging, though if you aren't sure of your footing then you might just be extra attentive in a few areas.  It's not tricky, but there are enough rocks that one could easily trip if unaware (or in too much of a hurry).  It's far easier than the Piestewa Peak summit trail right next door, so if the day is hot or you're in the mood for a break, this is a great option to consider.

Exercise caution and intelligence when hiking as the weather heats up.  Know your limits, carry plenty of water, and know where you're going.  This area of the Phoenix Mountain Preserves may not be gigantic, but there are enough spider-webbed trails to get lost if you stop paying attention.  Sign up for Gaia GPS (discounted through GTFO links) to have detailed map access for this and other hiking trips.  Keep in mind that it is illegal to hike with a dog on a City of Phoenix trail when the temperature is over 100 degrees.  Even below that, it's important to know how to keep your dog safe on hot weather hikes.


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