Sierra Estrella Wilderness
General Trip Planning Information
Although distinguished as one of the closest wilderness areas to metropolitan Phoenix, four-wheel drive vehicles are required to approach the wilderness boundary. Primitive dirt roads near the wilderness boundary are extremely sandy or silty, and wash crossings are rugged and deep. Only the western boundary of the wilderness is accessible to the public; elsewhere the area is bounded by the Gila River Indian Reservation. Some lands around and within the wilderness are not federally administered. Please respect the property rights of owners and do not cross or use these lands without their permission.
Quartz Peak Trail, in the 14,400-acre Sierra Estrella Wilderness, leads visitors fro mthe floor of the Rainbow Valley to the summit of the Sierra Estrella at Quartz Peak (elevation 4,052 feet)in just 3.0 miles. Along the way, visitors are treated to a variety of Sonoran Desert plants and animals, scenic vistas, and evidence of the area's volcanic history. The views from the summit are spectacular to the west is a dramatic panorama of rugged mountain ranges and desert plains, and to the east, metropolitan Phoenix unfolds over the valley of the lower Gila River. Quartz Peak Trail is extremely steep and difficult to follow in places. The is a hike for experienced and well-conditioned hikers only! Overnight stays are primarily associated with hunting; however, hunting camps are usually located outside the wilderness boundaries.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
High use periods are from October through May. Be preparded for 100+ degree weather during the months of May - October. Hiking poles are a definite plus.
Safety and Current Conditions
As with other types of outdoor activities, wilderness travel poses some potential hazards. You may encounter flashfloods, poisonous plants, snakes and insects, or lightning storms. Be aware of your exposure to heat and cold. Don't panic if you get lost. Carry an ample(at least 2 quarts) supply of water with you since many areas may have inadequate or contaminated water sources.