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Tonto West Trail --
Ruby Canyon to Quartz Canyon
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Grand Canyon National Park
Ruby-Quartz Ridge
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Ruby Canyon
Ruby Creek upstream from the crossing (view southwest).


This description of the Tonto West Trail is divided into two parts: (1) an overview of the entire trail, trailheads, and other general information, and (2) individual canyon-to-canyon segments.

From the wash in Ruby Canyon, it is about 1.8 miles and 1 hour to the wash in Quartz Canyon. Seasonal water is available in Ruby Wash. This short segment runs northeast out of Ruby Canyon, around a point on a ridge below Havasupai Point, and back northwest into Quarts Canyon. The trail is always faint, but it is fairly easy to follow. This segment of trail is in Backcountry Use Zone BP9 (at-large camping).

Link to map of this segment.

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, sure to read the Watch Out section on the Tonto West Overview page, which discusses things such as cell phones and signal mirrors. While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and please try to Leave No Trace of your passage.

Ruby Canyon
Ruby Canyon (view southwest).

Getting to the Trailhead

Trailhead information is presented on the Tonto West Overview page.

The Hike

17. Ruby Canyon to Quartz Canyon -- 1.8 miles and 1 hour

The trail exits Ruby Wash just downstream from the enormous boulder in the wash (Table 17, Waypoint 096). The route starts by scrambling 20-30 vertical feet up through a break in the cliffs to the top of the Tapeats cliffs; watch for cairns. The trail then turns east, quickly runs around a deep, narrow side canyon, and continues out on the contour along the edge of the Ruby Canyon gorge.

Ruby-Quartz Ridge
Ridge between Ruby and Quartz canyons (view northeast).

The trail runs across a steep hillside to pass a side ridge, then turns into the second major side canyon. In the back of the side canyon, the trail continues up the gully and onto the hillside above; it does not follow the contour (Wpt. 097). From there, the very faint trail runs pretty steeply up the gully and hillside to a low saddle on a side ridge with a marginal campsite. This bit of trail runs to the east of the trail marked on USGS topo maps.

From the low saddle, the grade eases as the trail runs across the hillside towards the main ridgeline. The trail approaches the ridgeline, but runs out towards the river staying just on the southeast side of the ridgeline until the trail turns abruptly turns and crosses the ridge (Wpt. 098) at a campsite.

Quartz Canyon
Quartz Canyon (view northwest).

From the ridge crossing (Wpt. 098), trail does not follow the trail marked on USGS topo maps; rather it drops at a moderate grade straight down the hillside towards cliffs at the edge of Quartz Canyon for about 6 minutes, then turns into the canyon on the original trail.

The trail runs across flats, then cuts around gullies and rocky spots, and follows below a line of short cliffs (not on top), the top of which are at eye level.

After the trail rounds the last gully, it drops steeply through the cliffs on a narrow, precipitous trail. The trail then runs down and across a rocky hillside and into Quartz Wash. The trail continues up the wash for a short distance (staying on the same line that it came in on) to the actual crossing point (Wpt. 099).

There are no campsites or water here.

Table 17. Hiking Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 12). Download Entire Route Waypoint (gpx) file.

Wpt. Location Time Easting Northing Elevation (ft) Verified
096 Ruby Wash (67) 1500 380066 4004203 3,087 GPS
097 Moderate run up the hillside (68) 1524 380652 4004816 3,203 GPS
098 Crossing ridge (69) 1535-0810 380774 4005195 3,396 GPS
099 Quartz Wash (70) 0835 380178 4005396 3,252 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 120424

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