For many Valley hikers, climbing Flatiron is an essential adventure. Getting to the top of the landform that juts out 2,500 feet above Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction is challenging – it does not give up its bragging rights easily. The climb is rugged, vertical and difficult to follow. Many give up. Everyone could use a bit of coaching.
So it’s wise to take some from a guy who has hiked it more than 65 times. “Flatiron is about endurance more than anything else,” says Patrick Bulger, a Gilbert freight driver who climbs it monthly.
Bulger advises approaching the trek – which begins on the moderate Siphon Draw Trail before morphing into a difficult scramble on slick rock – with an understanding of its nature. “You could do Camelback Mountain [the highest point in Phoenix] up and down two times and it still does not equal one trip up and down Flatiron in distance and elevation.”
Even with this knowledge, some hikers need rescuing. “The Superstition Mountains are very rocky,” Bulger says. “Good shoes with nonslip soles help greatly… Not enough water on this hike can turn into a life or death situation.”
Conflicting online reports muddle the risk level and time requirement. Bulger’s advice? “Plan on at least six hours for first-timers and bring a minimum of three liters of water along with some salty snacks. This hike requires great stamina. This is not a good place to be prideful.”
If You Go
Flatiron via Siphon Draw
LENGTH: 6 miles round trip
RATING: very difficult
ELEVATION: 2,080-4,592 feet