Trail Report - The Flatiron - Superstition Mountains - Arizona

November 11, 2018

Written by Paul van Valkenburgh

Showing Small Pictures    

The Flatiron in the Superstition Mountains east of Mesa, Arizona (Pheonix area)

Perhaps it is because I havent had the pleasure of spending much time adventuring in the deserts of the Southwest USA, but to me this hike and park are enchanting ... practically magical.

The Beautiful Flatiron

The entrance to the Superstition Mountains is at the Lost Dutchman State Park. What a neat place, with a really friendly visitor center and lots of different camping options, the park would be a great place to camp for a few days or a week! The Flatiron is a giant rock overhanging feature of the mountains accessible by hiking the trail up canyon called the Siphon Draw. The names are pretty self-explanatory as the Flatiron looks like huge upside down iron, and the Siphon Draw is just that, a draw where the water siphons down! The trails are clearly marked at the beginning of the trail to take you into the canyon.

Lost Dutchman State Park

Arizona Rattlesnakes

Local Creepy Crawlies

Neat Looking Cactus

An Enchanting Hike Awaits

The Gorgeousness Begins

Arizona Moonscape

More Arizona Moonscape

Superstition Wilderness Sign

Footnote about poisonous snakes: Not having spent much time in the desert, I was concerned about potentially running into a rattlesnake and inquired with the Park Rangers. They stated that at that time of year (November) that I had nothing to worry about with snakes nor scorpions. That they aren't really out at this time of year and even if they are they won't bother you. Not sure this is enough to forget about them but it did make me much more relaxed for the day. And indeed I did not see any critters.

Once you're in the canyon, the rock bed is so cool. It's great for hiking on but just looks like you're on the Moon or something!! And with the gorgeous cactus plants everywhere the scenery is just fantastic. After the lower portion of the canyon you cross a small ridge... then the upper canyon shows itself! It gets steeper!!

The First Look Up The Canyon

A Closer Look Up The Canyon

Rocky Bed On The Trail

More Fun Rocks In Siphon Draw

Looking Back Down Heading Up Canyon

There are many ways up the canyon, and in retrospect, if you stay to the left side, you end up with a slightly easier route. Of course I ended up going to the right! The rock climbing really fun, but at one point it was quite steep and I wondered if I could make it.

Lucky for me, a group of seasoned climbers were also coming up the right side of the canyon. I inquired to them if I was off route and they assured me to just keep moving up! Towards the top of the canyon, there was a class 3 / 4 exposed spot that gave me pause. I asked the climbers if I could wait and watch them do the section. They were awesome and showed me the way!

See The Steepness Of Upper Canyon

Great Steep Climbing

Steep Trail With Flatiron Wall

More Bomber Rock Scrambling

Blue Agave Looking Cactus

More Cool Looking Cactus

Beatiful Hoodoos Above Canyon

Looking Down From Near Canyon Top

From The Top Of The Canyon

Once at the top of the canyon, the walk over onto the top of the Flatiron is easy and the views are phenonimal.

The Hoodoos And Superstition Peak

Superstition Peak And Western Peaks

The Edge Of The Flatiron

View From Top Of Flatiron South

View From Top Of Flatiron West

After relaxing on top for a while, the journey back down was fun but requires concentration on the steep terrain.

Cactus Guarding The Canyon

Beautiful Side Of Canyon

Looking Back To The Flatiron

Awesome Trail Going Down

The Tooth On The Way Out

Finishing A Beautiful Day

This is a beautiful hike I would recommend for anyone comfortable with rock scrambling. It is challenging enough with baby technical spots but still just flat out beautiful. One thing to be careful of though is that I did this hike in November when the daytime weather was in the 80s. Rangers I talked to said they do have heat stroke deaths there in the Summer when the temps can get into the 120s... so be careful about that!!

For fantastic views of The Flatiron, check out this amazing drone footage YouTube video from Brad Denton

Hope this has been enjoyable and / or helpful to anyone reading it!!


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