Parking Lot Connector & Quartz Mine Trail Loop

Skyline Regional Park, Buckeye AZ

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The Parking Lot Connector / Quartz Mine Trail loop is one of my favorite ‘go-to’ trails to hit for a little exercise or to walk Mikko (my Siberian Husky).

The Parking Lot Connector Trail by itself is only .6 miles longs and connects the first unimproved parking area just inside the gate to the other two improved parking areas.

Skyline Regional Park offers 13 trails to let you stretch your legs for about 14 miles.

If you’re just getting started in hiking or want a good trail for some exercise this is a great trail to start on, or you can also try the Red Tailed Hawk Trail also at Skyline Regional Park.

Trail Details: Connector / Quartz Mine Loop

Level:  Moderate
Type:  Loop (Parking Lot to Quartz Mine Trail for a loop )
Distance:  1.25 miles (Parking Lot to Quartz Mine Trail for a loop)
Elevation Change:   200 ft.
Avg. Time:  30 Minutes
Pets:  Yes, dogs on leash
Season:  Year Round Access (though summers are HOT)

Trail Details: Parking Lot Connector Trail

Level:  Easy
Type:  Out-and-Back
Distance:  .33 miles (One Way)
Elevation Change:  150 ft.
Avg. Time:  30 Minutes
Pets:  Yes, dogs on leash
Season:  Year Round Access (though summers are HOT)

Trail Notes

The Parking Lot Connector Trail is listed as a oneway trail. You can either do it as an out-and-back or combine it with the Quartz Mine Trail (my choice) and make it a loop. One of the things I really like about making this a loop is that you have 3 choices of where you can begin.

My personal favorite route (below) is to start at the first improved parking lot and head south on along the Connector. It allows me to ‘warm-up’ on some easy terrain before before before hitting the washes and climbing the hill.

 What to Expect

  • Wide & Well Traveled Trail
  • Several washes to cross
  • Trail Posts to guide you

 What to Bring With You

  • 1L+ of water per person
  • Good Hiking / Trail shoes
  • Snacks or Lunch to enjoy after the hike

What I Liked:

  • Year Round Access
  • Good for a workout
  • Wide Trails

Cons

  • Can get crowded on weekends

Trail Map & Directions

  • Take exit 117 off of the I-10 onto Watson Rd in Buckeye, AZ.
  • Turn North onto Watson Rd.
  • Continue North on Watson Rd for 2 miles to the Park entrance
  • After you go through the park entrance you can:

Out-and-Back Routes:

 Option 1: Park at the Unimproved Parking Area

  • Park at the unimproved parking area just inside the park gate.
  • There is an access trail leading from the parking area to the Parking Lot Connector Trail.
  • Head West (left) on the Connector trail to the first improved parking area.
  • Either continue past the pavilion and onto the pavilion at the main parking area or turn around and head back to where you parked.
  • If you continue to the main parking area there are restroom.
  • It is 1.2 miles out and back and you will climb 141 feet if you go all the way to the main parking area and back to where you parked.

Option 2: Park at the main parking area

  • Follow the entrance road to its end and park.
  • There is a small pavilion on the east side of the parking area.
  • From there, head south (right) and hike to the unimproved parking area.
  • Once you arrive, turn around and head back. It is the reverse of option 1.

Loop Routes (can be completed from any parking area)

Making the Parking Lot Connector Trail a loop requires merging onto the Quartz Mine Trail. You can do this from any of the three parking areas. Making the loop is about the same distance as the out-and-back; 1.25 miles but the loop does add a little to the elevation gain. In my opinion, the loop is much more fun and scenic. The loop also provides the opportunity to take the Watson Overlook Trail and see some great views.

Download the Skyline Regional Park trail map from their website.

My Trail Route & GPX File

Total distance: 1.2 mi
Max elevation: 1539 ft
Min elevation: 1339 ft
Download

See you on the trail...

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