Flatiron in the Superstition Mountains

Thanksgiving 2012.  Perfect day to work off the gluttony by climbing 2,821 feet over 2.5 miles at a 45 degree angle, as straight up as it gets.  If Echo Canyon on Camelback was 1.5 times higher it would be Flatiron.  The Phoenix New Times voted it the Best Badass Hike in 2008.  They were right.  This one was a monster.  It was fantastic.  Technical, scenic, no switchbacks, just straight up a very hard to decipher ‘trail’.  I would usually encourage most novice hikers to try certain trails, not this one.  It is only for the experienced, and those without a fear of heights.

It starts at the Lost Dutchman State Park.  $7 to enter the park, and they are open until 10pm.  Park at the Siphon Draw trailhead and begin there. I didn’t get to the trailhead until 2:30 p.m. after stopping to visit some family in Gilbert and with the sun setting at 5:22 p.m. I had to put on my blinders.  I was all business.  The ranger said give 5-6 hours to complete the climb.  I got it done in just under 3 hours including a 15 minute stop at the top.  I cranked it out.  Getting stuck coming down this monster in the dark even with a headlamp was not an option.


You can see the Flatiron poking out through the 2 ranges in the Supes.  You can’t miss it.




The first 1.6 miles goes through a gradual rise of 1021 feet, this is a good workout for most and they turn around once they reach the basin.



You can see the basin ahead and the climb you are in for.  It goes straight up, no switchbacks, nada.



This is where the fun begins.  Most turn around at this point and the rangers suggest that is what you should do.  The next mile promises 1800 feet of hardcore climbing.



You traverse up this and down the backside before the steepest part of the trail begins.



Flatiron on the right, some kind of ‘trail’ around here somewhere….



It was inevitable, the steep angle of the climb only myself on the trail and a couple Eagle Scouts I passed down by the basin.  I got off trail for about 1/4 mile and was climbing through this unstable 45 degree angle madness.  I was carrying my big pack weighing about 20lbs.  Once I got to a ‘flat’ portion of the climb I could stand up (yes I was practically on all fours to get up this portion) and reconnect with the trail, or what looked like it.  I found a small game trail just under the Flatiron so it is quite easy to miss the main trail.




This is pretty close to the top.  Whew!



Once you arrive at the top the Flatiron is on your right.  The flat portion is welcomed, and your eyes begin to take in what are some of the best views I have seen of the entire state of AZ.



They say Camelback has the best 360 degree panoramic views, they were wrong.  It is amazing up here, simply breathtaking.  Many come up here and campout for the night.  I can only imagine what it would look like with the city lights flickering.  One day soon I will camp and catch a sunset from this slice of heaven.



If you can do Camelback 2 times in a row with relative ease, this should be your next ascent.  It dwarfs the popular Echo Canyon.



There are many other scrambles you can climb once at the top.  It is unlike anything I have seen in the area.  Very cool indeed.




I got down just before the sunset.  The lighting was amazing.  I can’t wait to get out here and see more.  Thanks Flatiron, you were everything and more than I hoped for.



The information contained on this web site is not to be considered a guide, instead it is my report of the trails I have done so that you may have a general idea of what to expect on the hikes. I take no responsibility nor assume liability for inaccuracies, errors, omission, or incompleteness of any information.

You are responsible for using your judgment in interpreting and using this information to safely enjoy your own outdoor pursuits. Each trail has its own potential hazards, each needs to be evaluated for each person based on that person’s personal fitness level and other considerations.

Boy Scouts motto: Be Prepared!!


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