Day Trip from Phoenix: Superstition Ridge
If you've already hiked Piestewa Peak and the crowds at Camelback are just too much of a deterrent for you: drive* about 50 minutes outside of the city to the Superstition Mountains and take the Siphon Ridge Trail up to Flatiron peak. It's an all day activity. So be prepared for a good workout!
[*DO NOT UBER here, service is spotty, and it'll be almost impossible to get a ride. Only do this if you schedule the car in advance ($50-60)]
The hike is a total 5.5 miles out and back with a 2800 elevation gain. It ends up taking around 6 hours, especially if you stop at the top, enjoy the view, and take in some calories to help get you back down the mountain. This trail is not nearly as packed as the other city mountains (I'd go so far to say10% of the people). The few people there actually make your life a little easier, because the trail is not well marked and they can help guide you.
For the first 1.5 miles, the terrain starts out slow and easy with a low incline, before getting to the tough part. For the next ~45 minutes, the rocks are long and slippery, so you have to make sure that you have a good footing before continuing to ascend. Once you get to the big stacked boulders, you'll have to use your hands at parts, and pull yourself up a couple of times. It's not for the inexperienced or anyone not wanting a workout on their vacation.
All & all, the view from the top makes the whole thing so worth it! The peak is nice and wide (it is called Flat Iron for a reason), so take your time. You won't feel rushed if other people come because there is more than enough room for everyone! On the way down go SUPER slow. Feel free to scoot down on your butt when you feel unsteady, you will not be alone in doing this. It takes a long time to get down, so make sure to save yourself more than enough water.
If you do this hike, you will need:
- more than enough water. I honestly suggest a camelback.. the 1 liter per person rule does not apply in the Arizona desert
- hiking boots.. The rocks are loose and the boulders are very slippery at parts, so it can be actually pretty miserable going down in sneakers.
- long pants and/or high socks. There are some prickly bushes and you'll want to protect your legs
- snacks / lunch! I suggest Rx bars and fruit, or something that won't get spoiled in the sun.
- a keen eye. The trails are marked with white dots that are kind of small.
Overall, if you're properly prepared it's an awesome hike and so much fun.