the dyrt
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Blackwater, ARIZONA
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Great winter camping

Campsite 36

Spent the night close to home as my dog had never been camping and I wanted to see if he liked it (he does!).

Booked online about two weeks prior for a Monday night stay and most of the campground was available. When I arrived about 75-80% was full, so good idea to book ahead.

Some of the sites are super close together, especially on the newer loops (sites 75-104 and 106-134). They'd be ok with a trailer, but I'd feel cramped in with my tent. The main part of the campground where I was is a bit more spread out, with vegetation between most of the sites.

My site had a big pad for the tent that was raked, a picnic table, a fire ring/grill, easy access to the hiking trails, and a great view of the mountains.

Beware during the winter as the wind can come up during the night and morning hours, so stake your tent down well. It got up to maybe 15 mph, so not super strong, but typical for the edges of the valley.

Staff was friendly, and the bathroom was clean. I didn't use the shower.

One specific note about my site 36: don't book it if you'll be taking a 5th wheel or really any trailer. The access road is narrow and the parking spot is at a 90° angle so it'd be very difficult to back into. Better to pick one of the pull thru spots. If you have a campervan or are tent camping then it's a great spot.

I'm glad I came here. Can't wait to come back! This would be an epic place during a full moon, or really anytime it's clear to see the stars. Too bad it was cloudy my entire stay.

Ranger Review: Magna Trail boot at Peralta Canyon Campground

The Peralta Canyon Campground is located in the Superstition Mountains and includes a 5.1 miles out and back hike to Fremont Saddle on the Peralta Trail. From Fremont Saddle you get an amazing view of Weaver's Needle (see photos) and the surrounding valley. The hike up to Fremont Saddle was nearly all up hill and of moderate difficulty. You are allowed to set up camp at various points away from the trail, but if you are willing to wait to get to the top before setting up, it is definitely worth it. There is way more space to make camp and get comfortable. Also the views are much more stunning and then sleeping right off the trail.

It is important to note that there are no water sources, but definitely always will be a heat source… (there is a dried up riverbed which may flow during the rainy season?). The trailhead was very easy to find with our GPS and there is a large parking lot at the beginning with plenty of spaces. Because of the dry climate, you are not allowed to make open fires when camping in this area. There is an alternative route back down the mountain called the Cave Trail (which we did not take) which apparently is very neat, but should be done with people who know the area because that trail is not well marked or obvious.

The landscape and whole area was very beautiful (especially to someone not from the area like me) and I would definitely recommend others check out Peralta!

Product Review

As as Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time — on this trip I tested the Magna Trail Hiking Boot from Vivobarefoot

I was not been happy with the prior pair of hiking boots that I own and I was excited to try something new with the Magna Trail boot. If you have not hiked in shoes that try to emulate walking barefoot (which I hadn't), these definitely will take some time to get used to. At first I felt like I was feeling every rock I stepped on in the heel of my foot. It wasn't painful, but was something I was hyperfocusing on. However, after about an hour of hiking in them, I quickly forgot about that and the bumpy ground and rocks no longer bothered me at all. I also imagine this being even less of an issue if I were hiking in a flatter, less rocky environment like the forest.

One thing I particularly enjoyed about the shoe was how lightweight and breathable they are. The boots didn't weigh me down at all while still offering most of the support of a heavy, sturdy hiking boot. They also allowed my feet to breathe and not get super sweaty. There is a neoprene sleeve that tightens around your ankle which served me two purposes: 1) it provided extra support to my ankle and 2) it kept out annoying rocks and dust from sneaking into my shoes. While I felt sturdy enough, if you are someone who struggles with balance, these may not be perfect for you.

Lastly, a major advantage of all Vivo shoes is how they fold up and can be packed when space is tight. Each of their models bends and and can be folded without harming the shoe at all. I found this very useful on this past trip. See the pictures to see what I mean! Also important to note how stylish and attractive each of the models of shoes Vivo Barefoot offers!

Pros to Magna Trail:

-Weight. Super lightweight and breathable shoe that still offers enough support when hiking

-Size. The ability to fold up and pack in tight spaces is a huge advantage compared most other hiking boots which usually take up a quarter of your bag.

-Comfort. While there is a learning curve, once you get used to the shoe, the feeling of walking barefoot feels more natural

Aesthetics. They sexy af for a hiking shoe.

Cons of the Magna Trail-:

-Comfort. If you not used to walking barefoot or do the majority of your walks in a rocky environment this MAY be an issue. '

-Support. If you are someone who struggles with balance and usually uses a high ankle, heavier boot, these may not be for you.

Overall, I really like the Magna Trail shoes and am excited to hike more in the future with them. They are light, comfortable and stylish to boot! (Get it?!?!) Would definitely recommend!

Dispersed Boondock Desert Camping

Turn off Hwy 74 between Apache Junction and Florence, Turn East on Cottonwood Canyon Rd. and there is dispersed camping with ZERO amenities starting in about 2 thru 5 miles on both sides of the road.

This is a very popular off road spot for Motocross motorcycles, Jeeps, ATV's, and Side by Sides so be prepared for some dust and some noise from vehicles. There are lots of trails to ride.

This is Arizona State Trust Land so a permit is required but can be purchased and downloaded from their website at a cost of $21.00 and it is valid for 1 year for the family pass.

The location was clean and well cared for buy the people that camp there, and there are rock rings for fires but you will need to bring your own wood to burn as there is little in the desert and nowhere close to purchase any.

We stayed with a group in November and the weather and the sunrise and the sunsets were absolutely amazing to behold. We will definitely be back both for the wide open spaces and the great places to ride.

Boat access only

This camping area is on Saguaro Lake and only offers boat-in camping. You'll need a Tonto National forest permit with watercraft sticker. It's beautiful here. The lake itself can be crowded but I think it's worth a chance, especially considering most are coming for day use. Nearby you can do Salt Water River Tubing or visit the (now second) tallest fountain in the world at Fountain Hills. Once you get off the highway, the drive down is beautiful. The water always looks so blue and seeing wild horses is almost a guarantee!

Nice shoreline get-a-way

I spent 4 days here in October of 2018. It is a nice and quite place with dispersed camping right on Apache lake. There are multiple camping spots with fire-pits in the shade or you can pull right down near the water and walk out your front door right on a gravely beach and into the water.

While I was here I did encounter other campers both in tents and in RV's, the road in is about 10 miles of washboard dirt road from the Roosevelt Dam side but it is still passable in a motor home or any other high clearance vehicle. Some people just come for the day and still others seem to stay a few nights, but over all there is lots of room and no-one has to camp close to one another if they don't want to.

There is also a non-paved boat ramp marked out on the beach and being that the beach was more gravel than sand I never saw anyone get stuck or even spin a tire while either launching a boat or pulling one out.

There are also 3 port-a-potties located on a trailer and a dumpster there to throw away your trash, but unfortunately people always seem to leave some trash laying around. for that reason and that only I rate it a 4 out of 5.

Nice place to stat

We stayed there years ago in our RV as a young family of 4 w our dog and cat! We were told to take our dog to a boarding facility bc he’s a pit bull! And this was back in the day when most sites were 55+ and this was the only one we could get into and we were visiting people in Glendale! It was quite the drive!

Rustic and Charming: Epitome of AZ

Great modern facilities including showers, lots of hiking trails leading into the Superstitions from the campground, old mining town right next door which also has great hiking and is worth the visit.

Weekend Camp Spot

Overnight camping permitted on weekends only. lots of picnic areas and camping right next to the Salt River. Fires permitted in grills/rings except in dry season. This spot is typically not as crowded as Phon D Sutton, downstream. Tonto Pass required. Majority of area is shaded throughout the day!

Great Picnic spot right outside the city

First, I’m pretty sure this spot does not allow overnight camping. Coon’s Bluff, about five minutes up the road, does allow overnight camping, but only on weekends.

You will need a Tonto Recreation Pass. They can be purchased around the valley at most convenience/grocery stores/wal marts for $8. if you do not purchase this and display it on your rear view, you are subject to $100 ticket. just buy one (or a couple to keep handy in vehicle)

Phon D is a great day spot, yet can get extremely packed on weekends. During warm/hot days, entire families will pack in and bbq next. This means lots of people and lots of trash, which is only reason why I’m giving it 4 stars. Join the cool kids club and bring an extra trash bag or two, and help us pick up everyone’s mess!

Spot details:

This spot is right on the lower salt river. The water temperature stays pretty unchanged year round, but is amazing for summer play time. There are numerous picnic tables, as well as multiple Ramada’s. These picnic tables are spread out throughout this region, so if there are crowds, head upstream and keep checking for an empty table!

River has multiple swim spots, as well as an area to jump off some rocks (not cliff jumping, these rocks are a couple feet high at best, so good for young ones that can swim)

This area is also prime for seeing some of the ‘Native’ horses that reside in the region. So, if you’d like to enjoy a peaceful day at the river, swim, bbq, and maybe see some wild horses, this is a spot to check out!

there are a couple trails from people meandering. One follows upstream and shoots you out just before Coons Bluff. I personally like to bring my raft/tube up this trail, set off in the water (stay left) and jump back on shore just pass the rock jump area/main swim hole.

Close to the city, deep in the wilderness

Reservations are necessary, as many people grab these spots, and often for long stays (14 day maximums). Due to extreme heat, I recommend visiting in the fall. Winter, spring, and summer can tend to very uncomfortable.

Loved the variety of hikes here, anything from easy to medium-difficult. The individual sites are pretty small and hard to put a tent anywhere but the paved drives into each nook, much of the ground is covered in small plants and cacti. There's a picnic table/bench thing at each spot, plus a fire pit grill (which is the only place you can burn). Bathrooms and showers are on site and worked great during our stay. Bring plenty of water to hydrate with!

Desert sunsets

I really enjoyed this campground. Clean and well maintained. Friendly staff and beautiful scenery. Far enough from the highway that it’s not noisy and close enough to get back on your route.

First to Review
Clean and Close

We spent two Fridays in a row here as we wanted to camp and try our new trailer. From home it was a 20 minute drive yet it felt like we were secluded. Very clean with electric and water at each site. Planning a New Years camping week at the end of the year but will likely be there again before that.

So much fun

This was a wonderful place to camp with family and water toys!

Ranger Review: ICEMULE at Box Bar

Campground Review

What a great find! We had no idea what to expect when we rolled down a long and lonely road from Phoenix out to Box Bar. But other people sure knew about it! There were lots of party people there, playing music, floating in the river, and enjoying some BBQ.

Box Bar is not fancy, but it is FREE! There are no reservations and no set camp areas, but there are plenty of flat and shaded spots perfect for a tent. There is a large dirt parking area that includes 3 port-o-potties. If you were going to camp here, the potties are quite far from the camp spots, so keep that in mind.

The best part -- the gorgeous river! The Rio Verde runs right through here and is the main attraction. At Box Bar there is a small dam that holds the water in just enough for a calm small lake to appear. There is also quicker waters that can be kayaked or floated on. Many kids were putting in and going around the bend, getting back out, and doing it over and over again! The water is cool and refreshing in the Arizona sun.

When we went, it was a Saturday. So I’ll be anxious to go back on a weekday or Friday to see if it is as crowded other days. It wasn’t OVER crowded, but the loud music can get old :)

Overall, a truly great find. Only 30 minutes from Phoenix too!

Product Review

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. At Box Bar, I got to use the IceMule Pro Large Cooler.

Before heading out, we packed up sodas, juice boxes, apples, and a tupperware of cookies into the IceMule and poured ice all over the top. The temperature that day was over 100 degrees, but when we got to the campsite and opened the top, the ice was still there and the drinks and food were freezing cold. Never had such a refreshing soda! I’m used to having to drink a warm soda or water while adventuing, so this was quite the treat.

Besides keeping the refreshments ice cold, the backpack was also super comfortable to wear. The straps are super padded, as well as the bag where is rests against the back. I am a super weak person and it was easy and fun to wear.

I totally recommend this cooler to anyone wanting to reward a long hike, boat, or camp with freezing cold treats.

For more info, visit: https://icemulecoolers.com/

Very nice

Very clean. some sites have an outdoor kitchen. close to the road but we didn’t notice noise. A decent size dog run and a small rec center that I didn’t have a chance to see.

Camp on a spectacular lake with mountain views

Beautiful drive to the camp grounds and plenty of spots. Small sites with not much privacy, but if you luck out there are some corner sites with privacy. Many sites are on the water and all of them have ramadas

Worst camp spot I have ever visited

Kudos to the wonderfully friendly guard at check-in. However, Canyon Lake Campground was easily the worst stay I have ever encountered at a camp site and I was quickly reminded why I do not stay at shared campgrounds very often. But the temptation of sleeping next to a lake and the gentle lapping of waves on the shore lured us in. There was no gentle lapping, and because our site was full of trash and because the trash bins themselves for the grounds were overflowing, there was a swarm of bees hovering around the trash can area. And what I later realized was likely a sugar high from their regular soda consumption from the cans strewn around, the jacked up bees hovered around our morning breakfast, coffee, and dinner and buzzed us regularly. One truck down the row of tightly crammed tent sites blared loud music over his speaker (yes just one, the other side was already blown out) for most of the sunset, and the site across from us allowed their chihuahua to bark obsessively at every passerby for quite some time. The group directly next to us slept split between a small tent, the truck bed, and inside of their truck. Hardly the "camping" experience most people generally consider. I highly doubt anyone in that camp ground was out to "experience nature" quite the same way that we were.

The more manicured RV sites were on a grass lawn and all led right up to the water, so I imagine their experience, aside from the shared bees and trash cans, could be quite different than ours.

We couldn't run away fast enough in the morning.

Ranger Review: IceMule Cooler at Box Bar

Ranger Review: ICEMULE at Box Bar Recreation Area

Campground Review

What a great find! We had no idea what to expect when we rolled down a long and lonely road from Phoenix out to Box Bar. But other people sure knew about it! There were lots of party people there, playing music, floating in the river, and enjoying some BBQ.

Box Bar is not fancy, but it is FREE! There are no reservations and no set camp areas, but there are plenty of flat and shaded spots perfect for a tent. There is a large dirt parking area that includes 3 port-o-potties. If you were going to camp here, the potties are quite far from the camp spots, so keep that in mind.

The best part -- the gorgeous river! The Rio Verde runs right through here and is the main attraction. At Box Bar there is a small dam that holds the water in just enough for a calm small lake to appear. There is also quicker waters that can be kayaked or floated on. Many kids were putting in and going around the bend, getting back out, and doing it over and over again! The water is cool and refreshing in the Arizona sun.

When we went, it was a Saturday. So I’ll be anxious to go back on a weekday or Friday to see if it is as crowded other days. It wasn’t OVER crowded, but the loud music can get old :)

Overall, a truly great find. Only 30 minutes from Phoenix too!

Product Review

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. At Box Bar, I got to use the IceMule Pro Large Cooler.

Before heading out, we packed up sodas, juice boxes, apples, and a tupperware of cookies into the IceMule and poured ice all over the top. The temperature that day was over 100 degrees, but when we got to the campsite and opened the top, the ice was still there and the drinks and food were freezing cold. Never had such a refreshing soda! I’m used to having to drink a warm soda or water while adventuing, so this was quite the treat.

Besides keeping the refreshments ice cold, the backpack was also super comfortable to wear. The straps are super padded, as well as the bag where is rests against the back. I am a super weak person and it was easy and fun to wear.

I totally recommend this cooler to anyone wanting to reward a long hike, boat, or camp with freezing cold treats.

For more info, visit: https://icemulecoolers.com/

For my video of the campground and IceMule: https://youtu.be/y0Miubrib-k

didn’t even stay the night

We arrived at 6:30 and the office was closed but our info was hanging on the door. Site was so small after 3 attempts to back our camper in we left. Pool was tiny and kids were only allowed in it from 9am-1pm. Didn’t see the bathrooms.

awesome views!

very clean and well maintained park. sites are level and plenty of distance from each other.

Modern and clean

This spot has excellent showers and amenities and its beautiful

However it's expensive and if you don't make a reservation you might wind up in a parking lot at fullprice like i did

Very Hot

This isn’t a surprise for anyone who knows Phoenix weather, however when camping at night in Phoenix with no AC, the night was honestly quite miserable. however, boating and tubing on the lake was a blast and it made up for the heat experienced at night!

My new favorite spot, close to Phoenix.

There are 28 RV spots and 18 tent sites. There are restrooms and showers, although on a holiday weekend, they can get gross. The view from site C, D, 1-14 is the closest to the water and in my opinion, the nicest sites. There is a beautiful hike just across the road. The views from the top of the mountain are amazing. The water and the views are breathtaking. We had several RV's side by side which helps as the sites are close to one another so if you have noisy neighbors, I could see that being an issue. We had a wonder trip and will be returning in October.

Apache Lake, lower Burnt Corral

Apache Lake is a beautiful desert canyon lake. Getting there is a little difficult via a dirt road known as the Apache Trail. Nice improved maintained sites, most are shoreline and with fire rings, picnic tables. There are some open beach camping spaces as well. Expect a dirt and rock floor, mature desert trees and low scrub. Within the campground is a small boat ramp with dock and a parking lot for your trailer if you bring your watercraft There is a self serve pay station and a camp host. Dumpsters, vault toilets and a few freshwater stations.

Great little place

This is a nice little gem. Clean and well maintained. We have camped there a few times and stayed right on the water. Fun for boating and kayaking. Most of the year you can enjoy fires at night. There is a restaurant on site that’s having renovations right now. Will be heading back for a 4-day weekend in October!

Wild Horses!

Nice spot close to PHX and right on the Salt River. There are many developed sites with fire rings. Do not expect solitude or quiet, especially on weekends and school breaks. However, a glimpse of the local wild horses is very possible, assuming they haven't all been rounded up.

Gorgeous Mountain Views

I absolutely loved the setup for this campground. Each space offers enough room and you get a wonderful view of Lost Dutchman surroundings. There's full on bathrooms, shower, and campfires.

Desert Camping

We came here for our wedding anniversary in November since it wouldn’t be too cold. We enjoyed the peace and quiet, but not much else to say. The sites were pretty small, but we have a pop up so not bad. It was very busy that weekend. It was only 5 minutes from Superior, which was nice for gas, food, water, etc. There was a few vault toilets throuout the grounds. Each site had a fire ring and tables. It was clean for the most part, but there was some sketchy people there and a couple sites reported theft. There was recently some vandalism as well. It’s only about an hour from Phoenix, but we probably won’t go back

Right on the water!

We got a site right on the water. It was amazing! Kind of a beachy water front. We able to kayak right from our site! The campground is kind of small and fill up fast. I believe there is a two car per site limit.

There is the restaurant right there also! This is a great place to camp but it cost a bit more than most campgrounds.

Beautiful water front view!

You must get a camping pass at the campground. You can not use a Tonto pass. There are toilet bathrooms only with toilet paper (hopefully, one ran out in the evening and but was filled by morning) There are NOT sinks in the bathrooms and the toilets do not flush (like a multi person outhouse)

Our campsite was big and right off the water! We kayak and this was a nice place to do so however there were a ton of boats, some loud speed boats.