Please note: Due to covid some amenities/ activities have been suspended
1 Sunday per month and major holidays bring your own food “park only”
Tuesday’s at 2pm Pokeno
Sunday night community bon fires 2 times a month
Wednesday 9am koffee klatch
Considered by many to be the largest rock and gem show in the world, Quartzsite’s Annual Mineral Show and Swap Meet is held in January and February, a time when the usually scorching Arizona desert is mild and wonderful. Full of rock-hounds, jewelers and crystal lovers from all over, the population of lonely Quartzsite increases exponentially during the show. Even if rocks and cool crystals aren’t your things, it’s a great way to escape the harsh winter, rub elbows with some unique folks and just have an all-around good time.
There aren’t many places more fun and eerie to explore than real live ghost towns, and Arizona is full of them. Most are old, pioneer-day mining towns that went bust, leaving empty and weathered assay offices, saloons and brothels standing like sentinels of a bygone era. For much of its history dating back to the 1860s, Castle Dome was such a town, though it was a lively place for a few decades. The town did a stint as a training facility for soldiers heading out to fight the Japanese and Germans during World War II too.
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Who in the world is Hi Jolly, and why is his tomb in Quartzsite, Arizona?” then get ready, because you’re about to find out. Hi Jolly was actually a Syrian immigrant who was hired by the federal government to introduce camels into the parched deserts of the American southwest. Though the plan was scrapped, Hadji Ali – also known as Hi Jolly – stayed on and lived out the rest of his days in Quartzsite. He died in the early 20th century, and in the ‘30s, a bronze camel was placed at his tomb by townspeople who loved and admired him. The tomb is in town and free, so don’t miss it.
Just east of Quartzsite on Interstate 10 is the town of Dripping Springs, which consists of historic and abandoned mines, a cabin made of stone, and Native American petroglyphs. The sites will definitely take you back to another era when tough men eked a hard living out of the Arizona rock, and Native Americans who weren’t thrilled with their presence lurked around every corner. The last portion of the trail leading to the site will require some exertion, so if you go in the summer, wear appropriate shoes, a good hat and bring plenty of water. The site is free, and there’s even a cave near the cabin with dripping water inside. Enter at your own risk.
Located near Quartzsite, Tyson Wash is a dry wash that feeds into the Colorado River after rains, which usually occur in the spring. The area is home to Native American petroglyphs, which are art and pictographs sketched into the rock, and purportedly tell bits and pieces of a Native American creation story. They are signs of the thankfulness and respect the indigenous people have for the earth. The grinding holes are places where corn and seeds were ground over millennia, leaving large and distinct depressions in the rock. The sites are just across the road from one another south of Quartzsite on a Bureau of Land Management road just off Highway 95.
Much of Quartzsite’s history revolves around rocks; from the Native Americans who used them for grinding meal and creating petroglyphs to the prospectors who extracted the valuable metals contained within them. Now, rock and gem lovers come from all over for the annual show. The Quartzsite Rock Alignment is a sign spelling ‘Quartzsite’ with an arrow, used as a guide for airmen who might have otherwise been lost in the desert. The Intaglio is a large image of a fisherman also created out of rock by the area’s Native Americans; an interesting depiction considering the desert environment in which it’s found.