Quartzsite, Arizona

A Rockhound's Paradise

Where to Stay | Shows 2021 | History

Hotel Reservations | Show Dates 2021

Location / Description

Quartzsite is located in western Arizona, just 20 miles east of the Colorado River on I-10. It's been a rockhound's paradise since the 1960s. These days, it's also a mecca to well over a million visitors each year, most of whom converge on this small town in a wave of RVs during the months of January and February.


Shop desert store

At this time of the year, 2,000 vendors of rocks, gems, minerals, fossils and everything else imaginable create one of the world's largest open air flea markets in Quartzsite. Eight major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year.

Population / Elevation

Quartzsite 1,900 people / 876 feet above sea level

Weather / Climate

Quartzsite has a classic low desert climate with extremely low relative humidity and very high summer temperatures. On the average, it receives less than 4 inches of precipitation a year. Stores, shops, restaurants, theaters and homes are air-conditioned year round in Quartzsite. June, July, August and September temperature are in the 100 plus area.


In 1856, settler Charles Tyson built a fort at the present site of Quartzsite to protect his water supply from attacks by Native Americans. Fort Tyson soon became a stopover on the Ehrenburg-to-Prescott stagecoach route, eventually becoming known as Tyson's Wells. After the stage stopped running, it became a ghost town.

A small mining boom revitalized the town and it became known as Quartzsite in 1897. It remained a mining town until 1965, when the Pow Wow Rock, Gem & Mineral Show initiated the rockhound winter migration to Quartzsite each year. These days, the population can swell to almost a million during January and February as rockhounders, jewelers and vendors, mostly in thousands of RVs, attend the eight major gem and mineral shows.

Shows and Events

Due to the coronavirus crisis, masks and social distancing are required at all the event/show sites.

Quartzsite Market Place Street Fair
Oct. 1, 2020 - March 31, 2021

Tyson Wells Market Center Swap Meet
Oct 01, 2020 - April 1, 2021

Grease Wood Swap Meet
November 2020 - April, 2021

Desert Gardens - Gem & Mineral
January 01 - February 28, 2021

Prospectors Panorama
January 01 - February 22, 2021

Annual Hi Jolly Daze Parade - Town Park

QIA Pow Wow - Gems, minerals & jewelry
January 20 - January 23, 2021

Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show
January 01 - January 10, 2021

Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama
January 15 - January 24, 2021

Sports, Vacation & RV Show (The Big Tent)
January 16 - January 24, 2021

Tyson Wells Arts and Crafts
January 29 - February 7, 2021

Quartzsite Gold Show
February 12-14, 2021 QIA building. Friday - Saturday 9-4 Sunday.


Side Trips For Rockhounds

Bradshaw Trail also known as the Gold Road to La Paz, is located in California's southeastern Riverside County. The trail was created in 1862 by William Bradshaw, and was the first trail that crossed the Riverside County desert all the way to the Colorado River. In 1863 it became a well-traveled overland stage route. Originating in San Bernardino, the trail was used to haul miners and other passengers to the gold fields at La Paz, Arizona (now Ehrenberg). More...

Hauser Geode Beds Take the Wiley's Well Road exit from Interstate 10 and continue driving south to the graded dirt road just past the state prison. You will pass Wiley's Well campground (9 miles south of I-10), and Coon Hollow campground (12 miles south of I-10). You will see a dirt road on the right with a marker indicating the route to the Hauser Geode Beds. (This is also the Imperial and Riverside county border.) More...

Opal Hill Mine Produced fire agate, and rock hounders frequented the mine for its gem-quality stones. The mine claim is currently closed to the public until the claim owner plan of operation is approved for the site. The BLM has banned all digging at the site until an approved operation plan is obtained. More...

Tumco/Hedges Ghost Town Driving Interstate 8 east of El Centro, California, after you pass through the Imperial Sand Hills, you can see off to the left a small group of mountains that appear dark brown. These mountains are known as the Cargo Muchacho Mountains. More...


Gem Trails Books


There are hotels and motels in nearby (about 20 miles) Blythe, CA For more information and a complete list, click here. (Rates, availability and reservations Online.)
For Quartzsite Area


Camping & RV Parks

There are camping and a plethora of RV accommodations in and around Quartzsite. For more information, contact:

  • Quartzsite Chamber & Tourism
    1240 W. Main
    Quartzsite, Arizona 85346
  • Arizona State Parks 602-542-4174
  • Arizona National Forests 800-280-CAMP

Shows Events 2021

Mojave road guide

Resources & Nearby Attractions

Cities & Towns

Parks & Monuments


Related Books & Gifts - Trading Post

Gem Trails of Arizona


Recreation & Wilderness Areas

  • Kofa National Wildlife Refuge: 5 miles south.
  • Cibola National Wildlife Refuge: 40 miles south.
  • Imperial National Wildlife Refuge: 50 miles south.

Historic & Points of Interest



Share this page on Facebook:

DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)

The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms


Enter Email:


Rockhound books

Hot temperatures in the desertAre you interested in the temperatures in the desert?

Click here to see current desert temperatures!



Home | About | Contact Us | Feedback | Privacy | Site Outline | Advertising on DesertUSA | Aquis Towels | Hotels