I have delayed in writing this up but for two specific reasons I want to do so. The first is that, after two tough tries, I was "escorted" to the Flatiron AND on up to the very top of the western Superstition ridge. It is at 5024 feet and is about a quarter of a mile beyond the Flatiron "junction". The Flatiron is listed at 4861 feet so. not only is the actual top a quarter of a mile away but also 163 feet higher and over half of that distance is no trail but climbing through hoodoos. So this is really Flatiron plus 5024.
The second reason is that I have been very happy to see a few writeups on the Flatiron that state how very difficult it is. I know there are lots of hikers who literally run up and down the Siphon Draw to the Flatiron and back but then there are the rest of us.
I do not want to discourage anyone from doing the Flatiron. It is one of my accomplishments where I surprised myself. If you take it slow and have plenty of time and make sure the weather is reasonably cool, you will have the time of your life. The first couple miles to the "draw" is a significant haul up hill and, to the top of the draw, takes me a bit over 2 hours. I have to rest then for awhile.
Once at the top of the actual Siphon Draw you look at the final ascent up the drainage to the Flatiron level and, to guys like me, it looks impossible! It is only a bit less than a mile but there is trail for only about 100 yards and then it is boulder climbing hand over foot to the final 10 foot "cliff". The good thing is that, if you take it slow (pay no mind to those wild ones running past you up and down), this can be done one step at a time up the drainage. Even the final 10 feet (actually 8.5 feet) has a few footholds where you can pull your self up.
OK, now that we know it is possible, it must be said that this is a very difficult, challenging hike--more mountain climbing than hiking. However, once you reach the Flatiron and walk out the short trail to the flat area, the views are breathtaking and from then on whenever you drive out the Apache trail or are in view of the Superstitions you will just shake your head in amazement that you were up there. As Joe says, look back on your way down and be astounded at your accomplishment.
The Lost Dutchman Park has changed the trailhead location for the Siphon Draw that adds a half mile. Then add a quarter mile from the Flatiron level on up to the top and the total overall distance round trip is just about 7 miles. When we got to the Flatiron level( just after that final 8.5 feet of scramble) we turned left and proceeded up a faint trail (actually part of the ridgeline route) and then cut off left through the hoodoos to the very top. This last part is also very difficult. However, once on the very top you look 360 degrees--DOWN on Weaver's Needle and everything else!!!
I tried to take enough photos to show lots of the route and some of the hoodoo hopping to the very top. After we claimed the land for our own, we went back down, out to the Flatiron, sat a ate lunch and rested before the climb down. The only advice I would have for the trip back is to be slow and careful. Make sure you have good boots for traction and watch carefully. By the way, I use hiking poles BUT, collapse them and put them in your pack for the final climb up the drainage.
So, the Flatiron is, maybe the outstanding hike in the Phoenix area, harder than Camelback or Piestewa and much more difficult than most every other trail in the Superstitions. It can be done but don't be fooled by seasoned hikers ot the hotshots who seem to do this in their sleep. I simply wanted to agree with several who have said this is a very hard, strenuous hike. It is worth every minute. Maybe try it a couple times to the actual Siphon Draw, then set your day and go the full route. Many just go to the Flatiron but, once you are up there, try to go the extra way to the top. You won't believe where you are!