Quartzsite is 125 miles west of Phoenix at the junction

of Interstate 10 and U.S. 95, near the Colorado River. The

community has a Mohave Desert setting 879 feet above sea

level. The nearby Kofa, New Water and Plomosa Mountains pro-vide

topographic relief while the Colorado River lies only 17

miles to the west. Quartzsite incorporated in 1989.

Quartzsite was established in 1867 on the site of old Fort Tyson,

a privately built structure constructed in 1856 by Charles Tyson

for protection against Indian raids. Named Quartzite because

quartz was occasionally found in the area, the name evolved to

Quartzsite through an error in spelling.

 

Tourism is the major contributor to Quartzsite's economy. The

retail trade and services sectors benefit from the visitors who

reside at the numerous (more than 70) mobile home and trailer

parks in the vicinity between October and March. Beginning in

October, nine major gem, mineral, and 15 general swap meeting

shows are popular tourist attractions. The Bureau of Land

Management and law enforcement agencies estimate more

than 1.5 million people attend these events.

 

Quartzsite's four largest employers are Ted's Truck Center and

Bull Pen Restaurant with 50 employees; Love’s Truck/Auto

Center with 50; Pilot Truck Center, Dairy Queen and Subway

Restaurant with 40; McDonald's with 20 permanent and 20 seasonal;

the Town of Quartzsite with 37 ;and Burger King/Mobil

with 25 permanent and 30 seasonal.

 

A rock hunter's paradise surrounds Quartzsite. Agates, limonite

cubes, gold, and quartz are especially good “finds”–but they are

only a few of the many different types around. In town, the Hi

Jolly Monument is a reminder of an unusual pioneer experiment:

it honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an

unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels

as beasts of burden in the Arizona desert.

Southward, off U.S. 95, rise the Kofa Mountains. Historic and

scenic areas include the Spanish Wall, Crystal Hill, Tyson Tanks,

Tyson Wells Museum and the Hi Jolly Monument. South in the

Kofa Mountains is Palm Canyon, a tight gorge and home of

Arizona's only native palms, reached by a steep but rewarding

climb. Farther south is Castle Dome Peak at an elevation of

3,793 feet.

 

Only 17 miles west, the Colorado River offers visitors a variety of

water sports ranging from fishing to speedboat racing.

Campgrounds, mobile home parks and other overnight accommodations

are available along the river and in the Quartzsite

area.