Quartzsite is a former mining town in La Paz County, Arizona. In 2020, it hosted a permanent population of 2,400 people, but during the balmy winters from December to February the population explodes to well over 100,000 as RV campers descend in droves. The town is also well known for gem shows, which draw over a million visitors yearly.
Quartzsite of 1850 and Quartzsite of today are the same: Quartzsite is a crossroads.
- 1 Quartzsite Chamber of Commerce, 465 N Plymouth Ave (next to the public library), ☏ , toll-free: . Offers several free brochures for download, and maintains listings of accommodations and restaurants.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Quartzsite is located on the La Posa Plain, an arid desert region that receives little average precipitation. Winter temperatures can be mild while summer temperatures can be hot.
Get in edit
I-10 and Hwy 95 are the main thoroughfares into and through town.
By car edit
Interstate 10 (I-10)/Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Fwy passes through Quartzite in an east/west direction. It is the main stopping area when traveling from Phoenix and before crossing into California. Quartzite is accessed from Exits 11 and 31 with Exit 17 and 19 specifically into town.
- Main St serves as local road access from Exit 17 of I-10, through downtown Quartzite to Riggles Ave where it connects back to I-10 at Mile 19. The old US Routes 60 & 70 that used to go (concurrently) through town as Main St before the freeway was built.
& Central Blvd divides the town in directional quadrants at its intersection with Main. Central divides east from west and Main divides north from south. Going north on US-95, it goes concurrently on I-10 to Blythe, CA (at Exit 242) and through the eastside of Blythe on Intake Blvd towards Needles at I-40. Going north on Central Blvd the road becomes AZ-95 towards Parker and to the south as US-95 towards Yuma.
begins/ends at Mile/Exit 31 of I-10 which is another 12 mi (19 km) east on I-10. It goes northeasterly towards Wickenburg and than into Phoenix through Peoria and Glendale concurrent with US 93 (from Wickenburg). US 60 and 70 (which ran concurrent) used to continue west from here toward Los Angeles on the present I-10. US 70 now ends in Globe and 60 ends here.
By bus edit
- 1 Greyhound, (bus stop) Pilots Travel Center @ 1201 W Main St, toll-free: . Greyhound connects El Paso to Los Angeles (via Las Cruces, Lordsburg, Tucson, Phoenix/Mesa, Quartzsite, Blythe, Indio, San Bernardino). As this just a pick-up and drop-off point, tickets should be purchased beforehand online or over the phone. Passengers going towards Yuma would typically transfer in San Bernardino, Indio or Phoenix as they are the next nearest major stops from here. They don't have a bus traveling US 95 between Quartzsite and Yuma. Check schedules.
- Quartzsite Camel Express, (bus stop) Quartzsite Town Hall @ 465 Plymouth Rd, ☏ (option 3). Once or twice monthly bus to Blythe via Ehrenberg, Arizona; Yuma, Lake Havasu and Parker on different days of the week. Check schedules closely before using this option. More frequent local service to Quartzsite Rainbow Acres.
Get around edit
As there is no public transportation, a car is essential.
- 1 Hi Jolly Monument. A tribute to camel driver Hadji Ali, enlisted in an unsuccessful 19th-century attempt by the US Army to use camels in the southwest. Free.
- 2 Quartzsite Historical Society, 161 W Main St, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Nov-Mar: W-Su 10AM-4PM. Visit this location to learn more about this town. This location is where the original adobe stage station was built in 1866. It was a vital way station on the California-Arizona line because it provided water and grass for the animals. Free.
- 3 Dripping Springs petroglyphs (1 mile down the road from Dos Picachos Mine; 4WD required). This site has hundreds of pre-Columbian petroglyphs. Look for the ruined stone cabin; nearby is a cave with the springs. A path leads off from here to the cliff base, where many petroglyphs can be seen.
- 4 Tyson Wash grinding holes and petroglyphs (south of Quartzsite off of Hwy 95). More pre-Columbian petroglyphs, on both sides of the wash.
- 5 Bouse Fisherman (Fisherman Intaglio) (head north on Hwy 95, turn right on Plomosa Rd and continue for 6 miles; a short walk from the asphalt), ☏ , YFOWEB_AZ@blm.gov. 24 hr. The outline of a pre-Columbian geoglyph on the desert floor, portraying a fisherman. Walking a bit further you can find a Native American lookout and the ruins of a stagecoach station. The site is under the protection of the Bureau of Land Management; see website for driving instructions. Free.
- 1 Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (Kofa NWR), ☏ (Yuma office). Managed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, this area is home to over 400 desert bighorn sheep. Recreational opportunities include hiking and camping, particularly in the winter months.
- 2 QIA Pow Wow Gem & Mineral Show, 235 E Ironwood St, ☏ , email@example.com. Late January. Nearly one million visitors descend onto Quartzsite for this annual event, when over 400 gem and mineral vendors offer their wares for sale. Free.
- Desert Gardens International Rock, Gem and Mineral Show, 1055 Kuehn St, ☏ . Another gem show running concurrently or between Jan and Feb, to be precise. Free.
- 3 Quartzsite Roadrunners Gem & Mineral Club, 65 Ironwood St, ☏ . Oct-Mar. Offers classes, field trips, and lapidary and jewelry-making facilities.
- 1 Stagecoach Motel & Restaurant, 904 W Main St, ☏ . Call ahead to check on hours, as they close for months at a time.
- 2 Silly Al's Pizza, 175 W Main St, ☏ . Daily 10AM-10PM.
Most accommodation in Quartzsite is in the form of RV parks; a list [formerly dead link] is maintained by the Quartzsite Chamber of Commerce. The other limited options are listed below.
- 1 Quartzsite Yacht Club Motel, 1090 W Main St, ☏ . Free wi-fi. Has a bar and restaurant onsite. $70-$120/night.
- 2 Super 8, 2050 Dome Rock Rd (Exit 17 off of I-10), ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 11AM. Free wi-fi and breakfast, pet-friendly. $70-80/night.
- 3 Crystal Hill Kofa Campground (in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, off of Hwy 95 south of Quartzsite), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Located on a dirt road with 16-29 campsites available. RVs permitted, no maximum. No water, 14-day limit. Visitors are permitted to collect any quartz crystals they may find in the area without the aid of tools - no digging! Free.
- 4 Dome Rock Mountain Camping Area (I-10 Frontage Road (Dome Rock Exit)), ☏ , YFOWEB_AZ@blm.gov. This site is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. There are no designated campsites, no water, 14-day limit. Free.
- 5 Roadrunner Camping Area (Hwy 95 south until mile marker 99; camping area is to the west), ☏ . Located south of Quartzsite and managed by the Bureau of Land Management, this area has no designated campsites and no water. There is a 14-day limit. Free.
- 6 Scadden Wash Camping Area (I-10 Frontage Rd east of town, Mile Marker 19 Exit), ☏ . Just south of Quartzsite and managed by the Bureau of Land Management. There are no designated campsites, no water, 14-day limit. Free.
- 7 BLM La Posa Long-Term Visitor Area (La Posa LTVA) (drive south from Quartzsite on US 95 toward Yuma for 1 to 3 miles), ☏ , BLM_AZ_YFOWEB@blm.gov. Four long-term camping locations operated by the US Bureau of Land Management (La Posa North, La Posa West, La Posa South, and Tyson Wash LTVAs). All provide open space for long-term RV camping under primitive conditions (no hookups for power or water, limited refuse removal or sanitary dump facilities). $180/yr.
- 2 Quartzsite Public Library, 465 N Plymouth Ave, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. M-F 8AM-5PM. Visitors may apply for a one-year non-resident card, which allows access to computers as well as free wi-fi.
- 3 Hi Jolly's Outpost Internet and Espresso Café, 1090 W Main St (Quartzsite Yacht Club), ☏ , fax: . Housed in a historic building from the late 1880s, this coffeeshop offers computers, wi-fi, copying, faxing, printing, and mail services, as well as coffee and muffins.
Go next edit
|Routes through Quartzsite|
|Indio ← Blythe ←||W E||→ Buckeye → Phoenix|
|END ←||W E||→ Wickenburg → Phoenix|
|Needles ← Blythe ←||N S||→ Yuma → San Luis|
|Lake Havasu City ← Parker ←||N S||→ END|