Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Sites to See in and Around Quartzsite

There is a lot of history in this area, from the pioneers and settlers who came here and settled into the town that is now Quartzsite; to prospectors and ranchers, whose descendants still live in the town. Many of the old buildings in town are on private property and aren’t accessible due to their deteriorated conditions, but you can still see them from the roads. 

Some places are open to the public; many are accessible by driving and hiking.


   Housed in Charles Tyson’s restored former stage stop, this museum displays mining equipment and houses the old assay office from the Mariquita Mine. The museum also exhibits photographs and personal possessions of some of Quartzsite’s most colorful residents. It is located next to Silly Al’s Pizza on Main Street. A restored stagecoach station operated by the Quartzsite Historical Society. Exhibits relate Quartzsite, its citizens, and locals mines. Collections date from the 1860s and include artifacts, mining equipment, a miniature village, and photographs and personal papers. 

   The Quartzsite Historical Society opened Tyson’s Well Museum in February 1980, after extensive restoration work. The original structurally sound walls were retained and others were rebuilt. A shell of stabilized adobe brick was built around the original walls to protect them. Artifacts were gathered from interested citizens, as well as photographs and old mining equipment. When the building was finished, these articles were placed inside as well as outside the building. The dirt floor in one of the rooms was maintained for authenticity. The ceiling of the main room consists of saguaro ribs, and the original fireplace is still in use during the winter. Outside in the yard is the original assay shack from the Mariquita Mine, which offers a peek into the everyday life of the miners. Also, in the yard is the handiwork of Walter Barrett, a little village of cement and stone houses built during his retirement and donated to the museum. Just to the west of the Museum are the ruins of the Oasis Hotel, which is our next restoration project, with fundraising currently underway.  See:


   Located at the north end of Quartzsite Town Park on Plymouth Rd. This 20 acre section is a beautiful nature trail with several special areas along the trails. It includes a miniature pioneer village, a mining display, rock and gem pavilion, veterans’ area, and much more. It’s a work in progress started by Paul & Joanne Winer, the parents of Celia Anne Winer, an 8-year old who died in 1994. The volunteer project has become one of the most visited parts of the area. Be sure to take your camera to capture your own memories of the flora and fauna while walking the trails. 


If trees could talk... Would they paint a portrait of Arizona’s climate, inhabitants and events? Would they be an impartial witness and tell it like they saw it? Arizona’s rich history has been witnessed by many, but none so enduring as these living specimens. Some planted by pioneers for specific purposes, some happened upon and used throughout the years for what we Arizonans needed at various times throughout statehood. They are a living legacy enjoyed and utilized by Arizona’s inhabitants and now honored for their service. 

This Witness Trees was dedicated as part of Arizona’s Centennial, verified to have witnessed Arizona’s statehood form February 14, 1912, to February 14, 2012. 

This ironwood tree resides in the town of Quartzsite. It is in remarkable condition for its age - 1,050 years old, as determined by the La Paz County University of Arizona Extension office- probably due to its location close to a wash. It is viewable by a trail outside of the Town Hall, north of the water tank. It has witnessed the ages from the same location and recently in its history has become accustomed to the yearly winter population boom of Quartzsite, located along Interstate 10 next to the Arizona/California border. Ironwoods are known for their dense timber, as limbs from these trees do not float.  


  The Bouse Fisherman is an Intaglio also known as a geoglyph or earth figure. These very large earth figures were created many years ago by American Indians. The fisherman was first spotted in 1932 on the desert floor when George Palmer, a pilot, saw an enormous human figure with outstretched hands. In 1984, the Colorado River Indian Tribes sponsored a flight which led to a second discovery of the Bouse Fisherman. Bouse residents and others collected money and installed posts and a cable fence around the site. A bronze plaque was set into a stone pillar to commemorate the site hoping for preservation for all. 

The area north of Quartzsite was used as a training ground for General Patton's troops during World War II. You can see rocks laid out in the desert for airplanes to see, spelling out QUARTZSITE and forming an arrow pointing the way. 

Both the Rock Alignment and Fisherman Intaglio are a short walk from the asphalt road.

   To get there - North out of Quartzsite on Highway 95 for 5.4 miles, then turn right on Plomosa Road. 6 miles up the road look for fences on your left. 6 miles up the road look for fences on your left. Inside the farthest fence you will find the Rock Alignment and 1.3 miles farther up the road you come to a second “scenic view parking” sign. Park and follow path up the hill to see the Intaglios.


On the east side of Tyson Wash, a short distance south of Quartzsite, you can see Indian grinding holes and some faint petroglyphs. There is also a natural tank near the cliff which may have water if it has rained recently. This is also the site of the original Quartzsite which was washed away in a flood and subsequently rebuilt on higher ground at its present location. It is said that a safe full of gold lies buried beneath the sand at the bottom of Tyson Wash somewhere near this spot, carried away in the great flood.

How do you arrive there? You just head South along highway 95, and you will make a right turn into the BLM visitor Area. Go left down the main road. You turn right at the BLM road 358. Park right before Tyson Wash and glance for the petroglyphs on an outcrop that is rocky where an individual has done some mining. Across from the wash, on the other opposite cliff, you will see caves and grinding holes where the Indians lived before.


   For 57 miles, US 95 cuts through the desert of Southwest Arizona - quite flat, perfectly straight and aligned exactly north-south, and interrupted only by the small town of Quartzsite. In the mild seasons of winter and early spring, much traffic uses the road, bringing sun seekers from all over the US to Yuma and on into Mexico, but few travel to this region in summer, when temperatures of over 120o are not uncommon. Rain falls on only a few occasions each year - the summer thunderstorms that affect the higher areas of Arizona rarely extend this far. South of Interstate 10, US 95 is bordered by the Yuma Proving Ground to the west and the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge to the east - a protected area 25 x 40 miles in extent with no paved roads or facilities of any kind. The refuge is an excellent place for viewing desert plants and wildlife, rock climbing, exploring old mines, or just camping in remote wilderness.


  An area of rugged beauty, Palm Canyon may be the only place in Arizona where native palm trees, California Fan Palms, can be found. tucked away in narrow, rugged canyons on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. People were aware of the small, scattered clusters of trees growing in Palm Canyon even before the creation of the refuge. The palm trees have become a major visitor attraction for the refuge. To get there - Drive South on Highway 95 for 23 miles then turn left into the Kofa Wildlife Refuge for approximately 7 miles on the dirt road until it ends. 


   There are hundred of Petroglyphs here. You will also find the remains of an old stone cabin and an arrastre. Look along the base of the cliff to the left of the stone cabin for the cave where the spring originates. Once you’ve found it, listen and you will hear it dripping from the cave roof, forming a year round pool of water. A path takes off to the left of the cave, following the edge of the cliff where more petroglyphs can be seen. 

   Dripping springs is one mile down the road from Dos Picachos Mine. The road is steep and rutted. This is a trip for a 4-wheeled drive vehicle.


38 miles north of Wenden, Alamo Lake offers excellent bass, bluegill and catfish. The Arizona State Park can be accessed by a paved road from Highway 60 at the Wenden turn-off to the north on Alamo Lake Road.

 Owing to its remoteness the park is often considered one of the “best kept secrets” of the state park system.  Alamo Lake State Park features camping facilities and attracts wildlife enthusiasts, as the park is home to numerous wildlife species including the bald eagle. The park’s remoteness and distance from cities also makes it a destination for stargazing. 


Cibola National Wildlife Refuge is located in the flood plain of the lower Colorado River and surrounded by a fringe of desert ridges and washes. The refuge encompasses both the historic Colorado River channel as well as a channelized portion constructed in the late 1960’s. Along with these main water bodies, several important backwaters are home to many wildlife species that reside in this portion of the Sonoran Desert. Because of the river’s life sustaining water, wildlife here survives in an environment that reaches 120 degrees in the summer and receives an average of only 2 inches of rain per year. We invite you to visit and enjoy the many wildlife-oriented activities the refuge has to offer and enjoy the scenic beauty of this oasis in the desert. 

  Getting There from Blythe, CA: Drive approximately 3 miles west on I-10 to Neighbors Boulevard/78 exit. Travel south on Neighbors for 12 miles to the Cibola Bridge. After crossing the bridge, continue south for 3.5 miles to headquarters.


The Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge weekly tour is now available Thursdays 8am-10am, September through May. The tour includes the Visitor Center exhibits, Peninsula and Delta Trails, and will focus on the Refuge’s habitat types and the plants and animals that use them.  Sturdy shoes or boots are recommended; and be sure to bring water, binoculars, sun screen and a hat to help make this an enjoyable experience!

  Located in a transition zone between the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge has a unique ecosystem that provides excellent habitat for many resident and migratory wildlife, including birds, reptiles, butterflies, mammals and amphibians, as well as a diverse array of plants. It also contains the largest remaining stand of native cottonwood and willow forests in the lower Colorado River. 

Tour Information

• Months: Sep-May

• Group Size: No limit

• Departure Times: 8am

• Length of tour: 2 hr

  The Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge protects the lower course of the Bill Williams River, to its mouth at Lake Havasu reservoir, in western Arizona. It is located within eastern La Paz and Mohave Counties, in the Lower Colorado River Valley region.

  Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge is home to over 6,000 acres of habitat, 355 species of birds, 34 documented reptiles, 40 species of butterflies, 57 species of mammals, 7 amphibians, and a plethora of indigenous wildlife. 

  Travel north of Parker 18 miles to marker 161 and turn toward the lake. For questions or more information, contact Wildlife Refuge Specialist Joey Saccomanno at 928-667-4144 ext. 128.


  The ‘Ahakhav Tribal Preserve was established in 1995 and currently consists of 1,253 acres of wilderness area and a 3.5 acre park. The preserve is centered around a reconstructed Colorado River backwater, which offers a variety of activities including fishing, canoeing, birding, and swimming. The preserve also maintains a 4.6 mile fitness trail as well as playground and picnic facilities located in the park. The preserve serves many purposes. 

   One is to provide recreational and learning opportunities to the surrounding community as well as visitors. The other is to serve as a revegetation area for endangered and threatened plants and animals native to the Lower Colorado River Basin. The Lower Colorado is an area that faces many problems, from damming that causes changes in natural stream flow, to a variety of invasive species. The preserve is an ongoing project to study methods of revegetation and restoration that may be used though out the area. For more information, please visit


This Memorial Monument marks the site of the Poston War Relocation Center where 17,867 persons of Japanese ancestry, the majority of whom were United States citizens were interned during World War II from May 1942 to November 1945. All persons of Japanese descent living on west coast farms, businesses, towns, cities, and states were forcibly evacuated by the United States military on the grounds that they posed a threat to (he national security. This massive relocation was authorized by Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. This Memorial is dedicated to all those men, women and children who suffered countless hardships and indignities at the hands of a nation misguided by wartime hysteria, racial prejudice and fear. May it serve as a constant reminder of our past so that Americans in the future will never again be denied their Constitutional rights and may the remembrance of that experience serve to advance the evolution of the human spirit. 


58 miles south of Quartzsite on U.S. 95. Turn right on Martinez Lake Road and drive 10 miles to Red Cloud Mine Road. Follow the brown refuge signs about 3.5 miles to the visitor center. Free. 928-783-3371,

  Painted Desert Trail makes a 1.3-mile loop, following a wash, crossing a ridge and tracing another sandy wash back to the trailhead. It’s a lavishly fractured terrain, weaving among colorful mounds that look like petrified sand dunes. The walking is easy with just a short climb to the ridgeline where I soak in fine views, a mosaic of desert patterns and the wet knife of the river carving a verdant slice in the distance.

Quartzsite gears up for winter visitors


Quartzsite is the place to be this winter! 

Enjoy the spirit of the old west while viewing the many shades of red and blue painted puffy clouds overlooking the silhouetted purple mountains surrounding Quartzsite. This vivid picture of the Sonoran Desert’s typical sunrise or sunset is but one of the many enjoyable features of your voyage around and through Quartzsite, Arizona.

Quartzsite has long been recognized for its unique geological treasure-trove of gems, minerals, and precious metals. It is most often referred to as the "The Rock Capital of the World." For more than 50 years, vendors congregate here for the annual Quartzsite Rock and Gem Shows where wholesale and retail dealers from around the world buy, sell, trade, or barter for the most rare and valuable commodity. 

Winter visitors escaping cabin fever are attracted by the warm winter days and nights and the affordability of wintering in western Arizona. RV travelers can choose from dry-camping at one of many Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 14-day or long term camping areas, or stay at one of over 60 RV parks having full utility hookups. Visitors will enjoy the out-of-doors attractions of the many swap meets, arts and crafts shows, or the surrounding day trips into Mexico, Lake Havasu City, Grand Canyon, or even Disneyland. Additional activities include gold mining, hiking, classic car shows, and classes in arts and crafts.

Night time entertainment includes the typical table games, several Bingo parlors, or the many musical jam sessions held at most RV parks. The QIA (Quartzsite Improvement Association) hosts numerous nighttime live entertainment shows. Mild winter nights allow visitors to sit around a campfire and listen to the tall tales of some would-be or never-was cowboy, lamenting of his lost youth while steaks and hamburgers grill over the campfire.

Pioneers, settlers, and prospectors have been riding the trails around Quartzsite for more than 200 years. But now, they have a brand-new steed; one with a whole herd full of horsepower. The OHV in all of its forms is now able to transport riders in relative comfort.  

Enjoy your visit to Quartzsite, Arizona. Additional information is available at or Quartzsite Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism

Friday, July 22, 2022

Quartzsite Show Dates for 2023-24

Show Grounds OPEN DAILY 9AM -5PM October - March 

- Hi Ali Swap Meet

- Tyson Wells Market Centre

- Corner Marketplace

- Vendors on Main Street


January 1 - February 29, 2024
Desert Gardens Int’l Gem Show

January - February 2024
Prospector’s Panorama

January 5 - 14, 2024
Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show

January 17 - 21, 2024
58th Annual QIA Pow Wow 
Gem & Mineral Show

January 19 - 28, 2024
Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama

January 20 - 28, 2024
Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show (Big Tent)

February 2 - 11, 2024
Tyson Wells Arts & Crafts Show

February 9 - 11, 2024
Gold, Treasure & Craft Show QIA

For information about Quartzsite, visit 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Welcome to Quartzsite Video

Quartzsite Mayor Norm Simpson Welcomes Visitors

 to Quartzsite, Arizona in this video 

by QuartzsiteTV!

Make Quartzsite your Base Camp for the Winter!

Quartzsite is a small rural community of 3677 residents, but come fall RVers flock to the beautiful Sonoran Desert for fun, gem and mineral shows, swap meets, entertainment, more!

Quartzsite is your Gateway to the Arizona Peace Trail!

visit for details

During the winter season Quartzsite has over 1000 vendors, art shows, quilt shows, music jams, 11,000 acres of BLM  Long Term permit camping, choice of over 60 RV parks, FIVE 14-day free camping areas, bingo, beautiful sunny weather, RV rallies, enjoying campfires with old friends, making new friends, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, peaceful and inexpensive living, craft shows, free family movie nights, gold hunting, metal detecting fun at the park, mining, off road trails in every direction, deals, RV sales, camaraderie, learning something new about full time RVing, volunteering for local charitable organizations, group ATV outings in the desert, Town Library with the largest selection of Arizona literature in the state, jewelry and craft classes, great selection of delicious foods, exciting parades and events, with the grand daddy of them all: The Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show, fondly known as "The Big Tent" held each January.


Check out for details!

Quartzsite Dog Park

Yes, Quartzsite has a very nice Dog Park open to the public! 


Video from QuartzsiteTV and Russ Varisco

Benefits: Dog owners bring their pets to the park to get exercise and socialize with other pets. Dog owners do the same thing. While the dogs are playing, community members are more likely to form relationships, participate in conversation and exchange community information such as events, doctors, and veterinarians.

Off-leash parks are good for dogs, their guardians and the whole community.

Off-leash parks:
  • Promote good canine physical health and socialization, reducing nuisance behaviors and making dogs better canine citizens
  • Discourages delinquent and criminal activity in parks
  • Encourage people to exercise and stimulate social interaction with other people
  • Accommodate senior citizens and the disabled, who cannot always walk their dogs on a leash
  • Build a community of people committed to parks, community involvement and the environment
  • Encourage compliance with local leash laws and reduce the number of dogs likely to end up in shelters
WATCH FOR IMPROVEMENTS COMING SOON! The Town of Quartzsite will be adding shade shelters and is looking to add another section to the existing Dog Park. 

For more information, visit

Quartzsite Memorial Gardens

Celia's Rainbow Gardens in Town Park 

is a MUST SEE while visiting Quartzsite!

 Check out this video by QuartzsiteTV's Russ Varisco


Celia's Story 
By Joanne Winer 

Over the years since the death of our daughter Celia, my husband and I are often asked what she was like, and how Celia’s Rainbow Gardens came to be. Those people who live here and knew her have their own memories of Celia. We love to hear their stories and cherish their remembrances of her. As parents, we believe that all children are special gifts from God, and each and every child should not be taken for granted, because you never know what can happen when you least expect it. Any parent who has lost a child unexpectedly can understand this.

Celia was a miracle baby. Having tried to have a child for many years and being told it would never happen, I had given up trying and made peace with it. Then, out of the clear blue, I found myself pregnant at 37 years old. It was quite a shock for both of us. I found out I was pregnant on Christmas Eve 1985, and before I had even had a chance to get into maternity clothes, Celia decided to make her entry on Good Friday, March 28, 1986.1 was only 23¼ weeks pregnant, so when she was born, the doctors said she would not make it. She came into this world weighing only 670 grams or 1 ¼ pounds, and was Canada’s smallest surviving baby in both weight and gestation at that time.

Celia was only 12” long, and her head was the size of a lemon. She had no fat tissue, and looked like a frog when they held her up. My wedding ring would go right past her hand and up to her elbow, and Cabbage Patch doll clothes were too big for her. A facecloth cut into 4 pieces made her diapers. She went down to less than a pound at one time, and the doctors didn’t hold out much hope, but she fooled everyone and not only lived, but thrived after spending 4 months in an incubator. We didn’t even get to hold her until Mother’s day in May. It was a scary experience for us. She was only 5 pounds when she came home, and had to stay on a monitor for a year.

When she was 5 years old, after traveling across Canada and the U.S. while Paul worked, we decided to settle in Quartzsite because the new school was opening up, and we loved the weather here. Celia was susceptible to colds, and we came here from the east coast for her health.
Celia loved school, and she loved her teachers and classmates. She was an A student and had an insatiable desire to learn anything she could. She got me involved in PTA, and wanted to start a kid’s PTA to get more involvement between the parents and the kids at school. She wanted to be a Brownie, so we started a Girl Scout troop here. She helped me cook for the homeless dinners at Christmas. She loved to bake cookies for her dad.

Because we had a bookstore, she had an unlimited supply of reading material, and she often sat for hours looking through the books. Once she learned to read, there was no stopping her interest. She read her Children’s Bible cover to cover twice. She had a deep faith in God and Jesus, and attended Sunday school with her friends.

Celia was a normal child—she loved dinosaurs and knew all the names. She loved unicorns and collected them because I did. She spent a lot of time drawing pictures, especially of rainbows and flowers, and her favorite was “us in a heart”, a rendition of Paul, myself, and her inside a heart, usually with the dog in it too. Her favorite colors were pink and purple. After she died, we started Celia’s Rainbow Gardens, and we took her drawings and made greeting cards to raise money for the Gardens.

Music was a big part of Celia’s life, and she loved to dance and sing. She could amuse herself for hours playing with her friends or by herself She spent a lot of time sifting out back of our trailer just watching the sunset with her dog Sammy by her side. She loved nature, and we spent countless hours walking in the desert. She knew all the names of the trees and flowers, and would sit quietly hoping a rabbit or quail would come and take a treat from her hand. They never did, but she kept trying. When a sick pigeon died near the store, she insisted that we have a funeral, because she felt all God’s creatures deserved to have someone mourn them. She believed that there was a heaven for animals too, and when my dog died, she used to look for the brightest start and pray for her.

Celia was a born optimist, who always saw the good in people and places. She looked at things as being half full instead of half empty, with a wisdom that put me to shame sometimes. People used to tell me that she had an “old soul” because she was so mature for her age. She always forgave anyone who hurt her, saying that they just didn’t know any better. One of the things that would bring tears to her beautiful bro eyes was if she did or said anything to hurt me. She asked me once what would be the thing that would hurt me the most, and I told her if she ever lied to me I would be hurt, and she promised me that she never would. I don’t believe that she ever did.

When we walked in the desert, I only looked at the surface of the landscape, while she looked right into it—she noticed all the smallest flowers, the ants, lizards and other things that I never did until she pointed them out to me. We used to sit and watch the ants moving in lines from one anthill to another all thy. It is amazing what you can see and learn if you look at things through the eyes of a child. It is a humbling experience.
It was quite a learning experience for us as parents to have been blessed with a child like her, and we thank God every day for giving us the privilege of having her, even for so short a time. She constantly amazed us with her sensitivity and capacity for love. She loved elderly people, kids (especially the loners) and adults. She seemed to be able to talk to any age group. She was filled with questions all the time, and never let up until you answered them truthfully. She wanted to know everything there was to know.

Sometimes it would seem like she carried the weight of the world on her shoulders—she cared so very much for the environment, needy children all over the world, and how to bring peace to everyone in the world. She had a list of 52 things that she wanted to be when she grew up, and intended to do as much with her life as she could.

Celia was a loving, caring and happy child who taught us many lessons in her short time here on earth. Her two favorite sayings were “If you put your mind to it, you can do anything”, and “Everyone can make a difference”. The Gardens project and the wonderful people who have made it into what it is have proven her right.

Celia was not a perfect child-there is no such thing. She had her bad moments too. But she brought so much love into our lives that our good memories far outweigh the bad. She loved her family unconditionally, and made our lives so much richer for her having been part of them.

Celia had many adventures in her lifetime with all the traveling we did, and met many types of people over the years, but she loved Quartzsite the best. This was her home, and she loved being here more than anywhere else. We never realized just how wonderful this town really was until she died.

Celia was 8 l/2 years old when she got a viral infection that hit her heart, and she died in my arms. It was a devastating time for us, and the support we got from the community was overwhelming. Over 200 people attended her memorial service, and some people took up a collection to help us with expenses. No wonder she loved it here. We just didn’t see Quartzsite through her eyes until then.

After her death on October 25, 1995, we needed to find a way to give back to the community some of the love they had shown us. We got permission from the town council to plant a botanical garden in her memory in the town park in October of 1996, a year after her death. What started out as a small nature trail has grown over the past 6 years into a mosaic of beauty, like a patchwork quilt made by many loving hands and hearts.
Many groups have become involved in making the Gardens grow, and several RV parks have also adopted areas to landscape. Individuals and families have done many areas in their own special way. I think of the work as my grief therapy, and so do many others who are involved.

There is so much to see in the Gardens that it has amazed some people who have never seen it before. Those who have been there notice the changes every time they come back. It has become a labor of love for those of us who work there, and a tribute to everyone who is remembered. There is much more work to be done, and volunteers are always needed. When finished, this will be the largest, if not only, free botanical gardens in the state. It is one of the biggest volunteer projects in the area, and we love and appreciate everyone who has taken this project to their hearts.

We are working together to make a child’s dream of a better place come true, and I know Celia would be very proud of every one of us. She would have loved to help in such a project herself. We cannot thank our many volunteer “Garden Angels” enough for everything they have done. We could not have done it without them.

For more information about Celia’s Rainbow Gardens, to volunteer, place a tree or bench, etc in someone’s memory, or make a donation, please call Joanne at 927-6551. You can also visit the Reader’s Oasis Bookstore, and we will be happy to help you.

We hope you will visit the Gardens and see what can be accomplished when we all work together. Your support is greatly appreciated, and we encourage you to write us a note with your comments. Our address is P.O. Box 1297, Quartzsite, Az. 85346.