Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Flatiron or Bust?

So we're all settled in at beautiful Lost Dutchman State Park. Nestled up against the Superstition Wilderness, the campground provides wonderful views of the West end of the Superstition Mountains.

The Superstition Mountains as seen from Lost Dutchman State Park.

Our campsite doesn't actually face the mountains, but they sure make a great backdrop for photos!

Sunset glow on the Superstition Mountains behind our RV.

We decided to give the toughest hike in the park a shot. It's a six mile round trip to the Flatiron, a rock formation that juts out from a steep mountainside. The trail is very steep and gloves are recommended because you have to do a lot of rock scrambling.

We start our hike early (8:15am) with the sun still behind part of the mountains on our approach.
We'll be heading up the center, right where the sun is shafting through the mountains.
The Flatiron is the triangular point in the sunny middle of the mountains.

Rock spires rise above us as the trail gains elevation.

Colorful, fascinating rock walls surround us.

In the distance beyond Hans you can see smooth rock worn down by water;
We're beginning to understand why the first part of the trail is called Siphon Draw.
Flatiron beckons us in the distance.

As we head up into the siphon we had excellent, though narrow, views back into the valley below us.

Continuing on we come to the Siphon and beginning walking right up the slick rock.

There's a tiny bit of water seeping out of the ground due to recent rains.

Yes, it's really that steep!
It's pretty much straight up!

The slick rock gives way to chunky rock, some loose, the gloves were a good idea.

Another look back, you can see another hiker coming up the "trail".

At this point we came to a sort of plateau and took stock of the situation. Looking ahead we could see the "trail" dropped away then began climbing dramatically to the Flatiron. Knowing what we already had to descend, we decided that knee preservation was more important than bagging this particular summit.

The trail continues, down about 100 feet, then up and up and up the ravine in front of us.
The Flatiron looms overhead, taunting us with its nearness, yet oh so far and treacherous.

At our turn around point there are cool hoodoo formations on the cliff tops above.

It was a long, slow, pick-our-way-down the mountain. I guess the Flatiron was a bust but we had a great experience over all! We hiked this on a Wednesday and there were lots of people on the trail. The weekends must be crazy busy!

Here's a couple of shots from our evening walk around the campground:


  1. Wow! Wonderful pictures!! Those rocks are incredible and the shot with the water running down the middle is breathtaking. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great job!! What an amazing attempt. I can see why you decided it best not to try to go any further. But that siphon area looked real cool!

    The mountain sure is gorgeous lite up at night. Love that final photo!

  3. We always hate to give up on a hike, but sometimes common sense rules!

  4. Great pics, How I miss the beautiful superstitions. Flat Iron is one kick ass hike.
    Siphon draw alone is a good work out. kudos!

  5. WOW, and what a hike. You did very good and you had some awesome views to take in too. All photos are great.
    We have not been there, and our list of places to hike and see in AZ is getting longer.

  6. I love your enthusiasm and ambition for tackling a daunting hike. Your photos really capture the different moods of the hike and the scenery. Light in the desert--more than any other place--makes a dramatic difference in the vistas. You guys are awesome.

  7. Wow -- how beautiful -- and challenging! This reminds me of a long and tough hike we did in Canyonlands in '06 (when we were quite a bit younger!) There was quite a bit of rock scrambling and picking our way up up up. Definitely tougher than anything I'd done before. When we finally got to the "top", we sat on the rocks and caught our breath. But sometimes it's wise to turn around sooner, as you did -- part of being an experienced hiker is knowing when to keep on, and when it's just not worth it. Especially where knees are involved!

  8. Thaks for sharing... We will be there on the 16th. Can't wait!