Quartzsite, Arizona: Pilot Training Rock Sign

An official attraction, the Quartzsite Rock Alignment mostly consists of the word "QUARTZSITE" spelled with rocks across 100 feet of the desert floor.

Quartzsite Rock Alignment

Plomosa Rd, Quartzsite, AZ
Drive north from town about five miles on Hwy 95. Turn right onto Plomosa Rd. Drive to milepost 6. Look to your left and find the brown wooden fence. Turn left onto the dirt path, drive in, and park next to the fence. It's inside the fenced area.
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Quartzsite Rock Alignment

The [Lost Bomber Pilots rock sign] is a common misconception.

There is an old army bomber field nearby in Blythe. They did fly all over the desert to practice bombing. This "sign" was for the women who were learning to fly to become WASPs. Quartzsite airport was a place for them to learn to do that before they moved onto more advanced training in Sweetwater, TX. There's two parts to this sign. One is to show the direction North (for use in map reading). The other tells the pilot that Quartzsite is in a SSW direction 11 miles from that point. The letters are only about 11.5 ft. tall, so they almost become blurred for anything flying above 3,000 ft. Most bombers would fly 18-24,000 ft. for bombing altitudes. At those altitudes, you can't even see that sign. Primary pilot training was in small private aircraft at much lower altitudes.

If this was actually for the bomber pilots, the sign would read "Blythe - 36.5." That would get them home.

[Rick Jackson, 04/09/2018]

Rock sign.

Quartzsite Rock Alignment

A huge compass and a 100-foot-long name "Quartzsite," with arrows, is spelled out with rocks on the desert. In 1945, Patton's Army Air Force would fly from Quartzsite over the mountains to practice bombing. To help find their way back to the airfield, this alignment was drawn. It points directly to the old airfield southwest of town, with mileage. The compass helped them find the bombing range. Apparently a lot of the new pilots got lost and this guided them back home! The rock layout is in perfect condition and is pretty cool to see, considering it's over 70 years old.

[Gary, 01/31/2016]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Celia's Rainbow GardenCelia's Rainbow Garden, Quartzsite, AZ - 8 mi.
Freedom Garden Fighter JetsFreedom Garden Fighter Jets, Quartzsite, AZ - 9 mi.
Joanne's Gum Gallery MuseumJoanne's Gum Gallery Museum, Quartzsite, AZ - 10 mi.
In the region:
Secret Armored Military Tribute, Bouse, AZ - 13 mi.

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December 15, 2018

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