McDowell Sonoron Preserve
The Quick Stats
Distance: 7 miles out & back
Elevation change: 1,163 ft
Type: Maintained trail
Restrooms at the Trailhead: yes
Water at the trailhead: yes
Dogs allowed: yes
Parking lot: yes, moderate size with overflow parking
Hiker’s ledger: no
There are multiple trailheads that with trails that can lead to Quartz Trail, and particularly this part of the trail. We started from Lost Dog Wash Trailhead in Scottsdale. We followed the trail route on All Trails from Lost Dog Wash Trail to Quartz Trail. The parking lot is quite large as there are multiple trails in the area
- Lost Dog Wash – McDowell Sonoran Conservancy
- Lost Dog Wash Trailhead – Google Maps
- 104th St/Bell Rd Trailhead – Levee Trail to Paradise Trail to Quartz Trail
- Quartz Trailhead – Google Maps
Currently the All Trails link to Quartz Trail does not have the correct directions to the Quartz Trailhead. We suggest following Google Maps to the Quartz Trailhead and then follow All Trails from there or following Lost Dog Was like us!
Like many of the hikes in the McDowells, the trail is well maintained, marked and easy to follow. Additionally like most trails, the trail is over rough and jagged granite rock. You’ll find yourself stepping from rock to rock trying not to twist an ankle or jab the bottom of your foot.
The beginning of the trail can be a little crowded as others start their hike or are returning. Once past the start it’s a little easier to move past others. You’ll follow Wash Dog Trail for about 0.2 miles before coming to a connecting trail to Sunrise Trail. Follow the signs and stay left. After about 0.3 miles you’ll come to an intersection for Ring Trail, follow the signs and stay on Lost Dog. This area is one of our favorites in the valley because it truly is desert beauty. There are plenty of Saguaros, Chollas, Palo Verdes, Ocotillos, and other native desert plants. About a mile later you’ll come to the intersection of Old Jeep Trail, again follow the signs and stay left and about 0.5 miles later you’ll come to the look out Taliesin Overlook, 2 miles from the start. After continuing 0.4 miles, much of it downhill on those large and jagged granite rocks, you’ll come to the intersection of Quartz Trail. If you go left, it’ll take you to the Quart Trailhead off 102nd St. We continued right on Quart Trail, heading north about 0.4 miles to the offshoot up to the quartz collection. The offshoot is very steep on relatively loose rock and about 0.2 miles long. The views from the top are beautiful with a nice view of the Phoenix-metro area and the popular Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak in the distance.
At the quartz you’ll see a sun faded sign asking you to stay off the quartz and on the trail. Please follow the sign and respect the rules. The long slab of quartz has a trail on either side that you can easily follow and get good pictures!
After spending time at the quartz we continued on Quartz Trail as it rounded the mountain to the wash. The trail ends somewhere in the wash. We turned back at the sign and headed back to the car!