Quartzsite is west of Phoenix at the junction of Interstate 10 and U.S. 95, near the Colorado River. The community has a Sonoran Desert setting. The nearby Kofa, New Water and Plomosa Mountains provide topographic relief while the Colorado River lies only 17 miles to the west.

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.

Basic Information

Founded: 1867       
Incorporated: 1989
Distance to Major Cities:  Phoenix: 125 miles  / Tucson: 296 miles 
Elevation: 870
County:  La Paz
Nearby Highways: HWYS I-10; US 95; SR 95 19902

Population 1900 2000 2008
Quartzsite 1,876* 3,354* 3,692*
La Paz County 13,844 19,715 21,544
Arizona 3,665,228 5,130,632 6,629,455

Sources: Arizona Department of Commerce and US Census Bureau
*NOTE: Local sources estimate winter population may peak at 250,000.

Principal Economic Activities

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. Nine major gem, mineral, and 15 general swap-meeting shows are popular tourist attractions, attracting approximately 1.5 million people annually.

County Employment (2008)

Government: 2,575
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities: 1,200
Other Private Service-Providing: 950
Goods Producing: 250

Source: Arizona Department of Commerce
Figures are organized under the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS).

Quartzsite Community Profile Prepared by the ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE