the dyrt
Ethan K.
Birmingham, AL
Joined July 2016
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!

Absolutely loved! Great lake and campsite

This was beautiful campground with an even nicer lake. You are able to do a hike around the lake. They have both cabins for rent and camping spots on platforms which are great, especially when it rains. You can also rent canoes and take them out on the lake for an afternoon activity. Highly recommend if you are in the area!

Very primitive, but enjoyed the seclusion

I would say that Steam Mill campground was much quieter and more secluded then the rest of the camping options in Stokes State Forest. They had a fairly nice and well maintained bathroom facility. Each of the camping spots were big and outfitted with picnic benches and fire rings for cooking. The biggest negative was that the waters spouts were near the entrance so if you are staying deeper into the campground, I would consider this. Of the camping options in Stokes State Forest, Lake Oqcuittunk and Steamill were each a bit closer to High Point which offers more hiking options which was nice.

Amazing lake! But on the pricier side...

Sebago has a huge lake and great beach area. It was perfect for lounging and swimming in during a hot summer day. We were able to rent a cabin which was equipped with an outside grill and picnic area. It is great if you are going with a group/family and people want to sleep inside a cabin as oppose to a tent outside. It was definitely more on the pricier end for just a weekend camping getaway, however, because of the cabins and nicer amenities.

Camping for Active Military and Veterans only

Unfortunately for me, Round Pond is camping reserved for active and retired military personnel only. We drove through and the whole space is rather large. There are several signs everywhere making it clear that it is only for military. The same is true for Lake Frederick another nearby campsite. Similar to Lake Frederick campsite, Round Pond had a beautiful lake that would be very ideal for a hot summer day. 2 Stars only because I was not able to camp here but the grounds looked nice!

Only for Active Military and Veterans

Unfortunately for me, Lake Frederick is camping reserved for active and retired military personnel only. We drove through and the whole space is rather large. There are several signs everywhere making it clear that it is only for military. The same is true for Round Pond Recreation Area, another nearby campsite. The lake is quite beautiful and I wish I had the chance to camp here. 2 Stars only because I was not able to camp here but the grounds looked nice!

Large Group Reservations Only

We were NOT able to camp at Henry Kauffman. While this is listed as a campsite on the Dyrt map, it is important to note that this site is only for large group reservations though organizations such as YMCA and JCC. While it seems like a great place to send kids in the summer, do not expect to set up a tent. I showed up and the gate was closed. Definitely recommend checking out the website first… https://www.camphkc.org/

Primitive, hike in only

Harriman State Park offers primitive camping only. You biggest downside is that you have to hike in about a mile or two to get to the various sites. The advantage of this is that you are already on the trail and you will be far enough from car/street noises. There are several camping options once you begin hiking in. Make sure to bring enough supplies to last for your trip as it is a bit of a hassle to have to hike back out to your car.

Spread out. Raised platforms a big plus

The biggest positive about Beaver Pond is how spread out it was. You definitely feel like you have your own space and are not camping on top of your neighbor. Many of the camping options were on platforms which is especially nice if it recently rained or if you are expecting rain during your stay. I also particularly enjoyed the communal sink which made it very convenient and easy to wash dishes and fill up water.

RV and Cabin Rental Only...and a miniature horse!

It is important to note that there is only RV and cabin rentals offered at Pleasant Acre. The grounds are up on top of a mountain and is quite beautiful and quiet. This is a great place to get away and bring your family and dogs. They offer several planned activities for kids and they have nice facilities like a great swimming pool and ping pong. Important to not miss: the amazingly beautiful miniature horse that wonders around its huge pin located in the middle of the campground.

Loved, but be ok with a little seclusion

This was one of my favorite campgrounds in this area if you don’t mind a little seclusion. To get to each campsite, you have to drive up a big hill that circles around the entire grounds (and eventually the lake). The campsites peel off as you drive around. Each site is fairly secluded from the next so it offers lots of privacy. If you want to be closer to other people. there are options to camp closer to the lake. There is also a large covered patio down near the lake.The campground is big and quiet which I liked. There is a great lookout point that you can walk to and they also have a memorial that is worth checking out if you stay here.

Nice camping, but disappointing lake

The caping set up was nice and I enjoyed the proximity to available hikes in the area. The ‘lake’ however, was kind of a disappointment. It was much smaller then I expected and a rather underwhelming. Of the camping options in Stokes State Forest, Lake Oqcuittunk and Steamill were each a bit closer to High Point which offers more hiking options. Each campsite was set up with a picnic table and a fire ring. One big positive was the covered picnic area which was a nice place to bring food and eat and hang out during the day to get out of the sun.

Away from main road, quiet and secluded

I really enjoyed camping at Shotwell. To get there, you have to drive about 2 miles down a road away from the welcome center. This is nice because it is quiet from traffic from cars. Each campsite is fairly big and far enough away from each other so you feel like you have your own space. Some of the sites had a platform to set up your tent on which is nice, especially if you are going after it recently rained. Our site had a picnic table and fire ring. There was a communal bathroom which was fairly well maintained and a large dumpster near the front of the site to drop off your trash. They did have a cabin-like option but I did not stay in it and do not know much about renting those.

Amazing! Loved!

WOW! What a place to camp! Swartswood State Park is a very large complex that is extremely well maintained with nice facilities. The campsites are slightly separated from the lake (maybe 8 min walk to lake) but that also means you aren’t bothered by day guests. The lake is beautiful! Great for swimming and fishing. There are several trail hikes that you can do from the campsite. The longest is 3 miles but you can connect between each trail to make a longer hike. There are picnic spots right on the lake if you want to spend the afternoon at the lake. They also have a concession stand that serves hot food down by the lake. They have a water fill station near the campsites that is shared between all the campers.

Crowded and Unfriendly

Was not a fan of camping in Harmony Ridge. Our campsite felt like it was on top of the people next to us and we didnt feel like we had our own space. They did have general store in the welcome center that offered ice, food and drinks, but we did not have the friendliest encounter with the store staff. There is a small lake/pond that is nice to fish on, but didn't seem clean enough for swimming. They had a pool which was probably the nicest thing about the site. It had plenty of umbrella seating area and a large mushroom shower thing. I would recommend camping somewhere else in the area as there are several other close options.

Big and Spread Out

Like many of the sites in this area, Great Divide had a large pool which was used by many of the campers. Even though we had a rainy day, we still enjoyed our time at Great Divide. The campgrounds were very big and spread out and the campsites have their own space so you can enjoy quiet at night. Each site had a water spout and electric plug in. The common area, along with the pool, had a small soccer field and volleyball court. They also had scheduled activities for kids. The one downside about this site was that you are not allowed to keep your car at your site. You have to drop your supplies off and drive it back to the parking lot which was slightly annoying. They also had covered wagons which I believe you can sleep in, but I did not pursue this option… (see pics!)

Great for kids and families

Panther lake was a pretty good campground with lots of spots to camp at. Our campsite had a picnic bench and a fire ring. They offer both RV and primitive camping. The grounds were fairly large and each campsite gets their own space with decent privacy. The lake and pool were a big plus, especially for hot days. While I did not take advantage, you are allowed to rent boats and take them out on the lake. The welcome center has a store where you can buy essentials you may have forgotten and then some (cold drinks, milk, cups, pans, condiments, ice cream, etc.). There is an arcade room (fun for kids but kind of an odd thing to have at a campsite in my opinion) and a covered sitting area also next to the welcome center.

Mostly for RVs

I did not love Fla-Net as a place to go tent camping. The section for tents is rather small and kind of off to the side. Most of the campground was taken up by RV which were all parked really close to one another. It seemed like a decent place to go RV camping, but still not great. The campsite did not have the feel like it was in the woods. When you walk to the top of the hill, you realize the grounds are backed up to a store’s parking lot which had an odd feel to me. They did have a pool and playground which would be nice for kids and the bathroom had a shower in it which is always a plus.

One of the Larger Primitive Sites at Cheaha

Besides the campsite right at McDill lookout, this area was my favorite. To me, it felt the most spacious and it definitely had enough room for a couple of tents and some hammocks. The spot is located about 20-30 min away from the trail head/parking lot. It has a very well built rock fire pit which would work great for large groups that wanted to cook or just sit around a fire. The site is located right off the path and is about a halfway point between the parking lot and McDill’s lookout. If you stay here, you should definitely make the hike out to McDill’s lookout as it is quite beautiful and truly a site to see!

Small Primitive Site at Cheaha

Cave Creek is a nice, but small campsite at Cheaha Park. A big advantage to this site is its proximity to the parking lot. It can be found right off the trail and is large enough for only a couple of tents. If you like privacy, however, this is a great spot because its not large enough for multiple groups. This spot is very primitive but does have a rock fire pit and a large tree that can be used as a bench. If you stay here, you should definitely make the hike out to McDill’s lookout as it is quite beautiful and truly a site to see!