Phoenix has some amazing places for urban hiking, and it’s a great time of year to be outside!
I wanted to start 2020 out with an adventure. I was kicking around a number of things, but I also wanted to be able to spend a good part of the day hanging out with my wife, Staying around Phoenix was obviously the way to go. I had tried to hike Siphon Draw-Flatiron a few years ago, I got off trail above the draw and ended up on the ridge below the Flatiron, saw a snake 3 feet away and called it a day. New Year’s Day seemed like a great day to tick this one off the list!
I made a quick stop for coffee and then headed out for Lost Dutchman State Park about 7:30. I got there early enough that there were lots of parking spots (not the case when I was leaving).
Besides the general fun of hiking, I wanted to test out my new Garmin InReach Satellite Communicator. So far I really like it, but I still need to learn exactly how it works. Pretty sure I’d be happier learning everything close to home with some cell service, than in the middle of nowhere when you need to use it!
Threw on the hydration pack, started some tunes and away I went.
The trail climbs slowly for the first mile or so as you leave the state park and enter the Superstition Wilderness area. The first section is well developed trail that get s a lot of traffic. This is a pretty cool state park, the Superstitions are awesome and this park has great access, views and what looks like pretty cool campsites.
It gets really cool at about the 1.5 mile mark as you get to Siphon Draw. It’s like a huge rock half-pipe for a bit the leads to the big rock filled gully you’ll be scrambling up through for a while.
There are a few times you’re faced with a small scramble up an 8-10 ft section, but there are lots of footholds and solid rock to grab. If you take your time and check things out you can find a pretty easy way up, I saw a few people negotiating the toughest sections with full packs.
Once your’re past the toughest rock section the work is done and it’s just a quick stroll to the top of the Flatiron. It’s a really cool view of the whole valley, sweeping views of urban sprawl and also the Superstition Wilderness and Four Peaks. While it is a relatively challenging hike, it’s a very popular trail, when i was at the top of the Flatiron there were easily 15 other people up there as well.
I wanted to make it just a morning hike so I headed back down, but the are a few cool summits you could bag once you’ve gained that high ridge.
This is not a hike where you end up blitzing your way down. There’s a lot of scrambling down rocks and loose dirt sections. There was a decent amount of moisture, and I have a overriding desire to do the Rock and Roll 1/2 Mary coming up so I was careful coming down, there were lots of chance to slip but it’s overall not bad
Coming down through Siphon Draw is just a s cool as going up, if you don’t feel like scrambling all the way to the top of the Flatiron, just hike to the draw, you won’t be disappointed.
Cruised on back the last little bit to the truck and headed home. if you head out here on a weekend or holiday, get there early! When I left at a little before 1pm the parking lots were packed and there was a 10 car line to get into the park.
I forgot to stop the Garmin Forerunner until I was driving on the highway. Props to both the Garmin and Strava folks for the trim activity function. I feel like we’ve all driven off with the tracker still on, or maybe it’s just me…
Overall it was a great hike and fun way t,o start the new year. From an InReach testing view point, I started the tracking, sent a preset message I was starting – but not the correct one for continued tracking. I also didn’t correctly send a rely message to a text from my dad. Fortunately I think I figured out both issues,
I want to be an expert with this thing before I really take it into the backcountry.
Sounds like I’ll need to go on some more hikes, terrible…
Happy New Year!
What cool things do you have planned for the new year?
Got in a short Saturday ride. Arizona weather is awesome right now, no reason to not enjoy the outdoors. I love the area we live in, great riding in a cool place, you always see lots of other active people!
Check out my ride on Strava!
While the heat of the summer can be tough to deal with, this time of year makes it worthwhile!
I’ve been trying to get back on the running train lately.
It’s been a few years since I was really running a good amount and I miss it. It can be a great morning workout, much quicker than a bike ride, and a great way to clear the head before a busy day.
I’ve felt pretty good on my past few runs considering how little I’ve run this year. I’ve dealt with some injuries in the past that have put the kibosh on the running, but I bought a new pair of running shoes that have been fantastic so far.
If I keep feeling good, with no pain, I’m going to sign up for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon here in Phoenix. Nothing like signing up for a race to get you motivated!
We’ll see how this works out!