It had been awhile since Flatiron called our names. I think the last time we embarked on this trail, it was probably around 2010 and we backpacked up it with a small group and camped up top overnight. Seems like forever ago, so this trail was pretty much new all over again.
But last week, my husband asked if I wanted to skip our long training run and instead spend the morning hiking up to Flatiron. Since this hike is quite the leg burner, we figured we’d still be getting our cardio in despite skipping the run. So, off we went in the early morning hours on a Friday and began the trek up the Siphon Draw Trail, which takes you to Flatiron.
I had forgotten how rocky and technical the Flatiron hike is, to be honest. I remembered certain parts of it–like the slick waterfall section and I remembered a little bit of technical bouldering being required. HAHA. I was quickly reminded that there is a lot of technical bouldering required. But, it was awesome!
You can see from the screenshot on my Garmin vivoactive that we went off trail for a bit. This was intentional because the way we went honestly looked easier to us. I don’t recommend doing this unless you’re confident in your footing and it’s a trail where you can’t get lost. Don’t want you going off in the wrong direction or falling!
I should note that this hike is rated as moderately strenuous and the description on the Lost Dutchman State Park’s website states this:
“Siphon Draw Trail: 4 miles round trip, a very scenic hike, this trail winds up into a canyon known as Siphon Draw. It is possible to hike up the Flatiron (5.8 miles roundtrip), although it is not a designated, maintained trail all the way. It’s advised that only experienced hikers in good shape attempt to hike to the top, as the climb is steep and difficult to follow. Allow at least five hours to the Flatiron and back.”
It started getting a little more crowded the closer we got to the top. People coming down and lots of people taking breaks to rest or eat in addition to others just calculating their next move. Glad we didn’t go on a weekend day!
We make our way to the top and find a spot to sit down, relax, and eat the snacks we brought with us. It ended up being windy at the top. I had to pull out the jacket I brought with me and throw it on until we started going back down.
When you get to the end of the hike up all of the rocks you have to climb over, you can go left or right. To get to Flatiron, you go right and then hike a little bit more on a flat path. However, if you’re up for it, you can also explore a little bit to the right before you head back down. This is what we did (this is why my screenshot has what appears to be an anchor-like line at the end of the hike instead of a ‘J.’
I was really glad we decided to explore that way for a few minutes because there is a memorial up there that I hadn’t realized was there. If you’re from Arizona, you may recall hearing about a small plane that crashed into Shiprock in 2011 killing all who were on board, which included three small children, their father, and two other men. I knew of the story at the time and of the controversy that followed the year after, but I never realized how close it occurred to Flatiron. Below are photos I took of the memorial. I’m not certain, but it appears that some of the toys have been left by people. I don’t know if any of them were with the children in the crash. It also appears that a recovered piece of the plane is part of the memorial. This was such a touching thing to visit, honestly. I’m sure it doesn’t make it less painful for the children’s mother, but I hope it helps.
After getting our fill of relaxing with views, snacks, photos of Flatiron and its surrounding areas, and the memorial, we headed back down Siphon Draw Trail and towards our car. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a good hiking story without something funny happening. As we were making our way back down, I went to hop over a rock down to the next area. I whacked my right knee on a rock as I attempted to go over it. My husband comes back and helps me hobble over to a big boulder slightly off to the side that we can both sit on.
As we are sitting on the boulder waiting for the pain in my knee to subside, along come two women, also heading down the trail. The first woman attempts to step onto the boulder we are sitting on to hike past us and slips and falls right into my husband. It was honestly hilarious (though I’m sure she might have been embarrassed instead). When she fell, she seriously fell straight into a seated position on the boulder next to my husband and simultaneously grabbed his back to catch her fall. Luckily she was okay, but if you hadn’t witnessed what happened, it looked like they were getting ready to pose for a photo with the way it all played out. 😀
After the comic relief, we proceeded to continue down Siphon Draw and made our way back to our car and proceeded to our next adventure: figuring out where to go scarf down lunch! (Our decision was Arizona Wilderness in case you’re wondering.)
Located in the Lost Dutchman State Park, there are numerous trails which lead from the park into the Superstition Wilderness and the surrounding Tonto National Forest. Click here for a map to plan your adventure up to Flatiron and here to see a list of events that are happening at Lost Dutchman State Park–there is always something fun happening (karaoke, guided hikes, wine tastings, and more)!
You can also camp (either tent or RV) at the Lost Dutchman State Park, and we did see a handful of campers on our day trip. Advanced reservations are required.
Have you done this hike? If not, would you backpack it and spend the night or make a day trip like we did this time around? Let me know in the comments below!
I should also note that there is a $7 per car day use fee to enter the park and get to the trailhead. Bring cash. As luck would have it, we forgot to check this before leaving home but had exactly $7 in cash oddly enough. 🙂