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Thru-hike the Su­per­sti­tions via a sel­dom-vis­ited canyon; gape at the cos­mos at a new Dark Sky Park in Wis­con­sin; and tick off the wildest sec­tion of the Florida Trail when you bee­line across an Air Force base.


1) Take the Boul­der Canyon Trail 3.3 miles south to where it doglegs west, away from La Barge Canyon. (Note: There’s no sign here, but it’s near 33.5071, -111.4007.)

2) It’s sim­ple: Stay in La Barge Canyon. Fol­low the bot­tom roughly 3.2 miles south­east, boul­der­hop­ping, scram­bling, and wad­ing your way up­canyon un­til you meet the Cavalry Trail (near 33.4794, -111.3760). It’s easy to miss; map and com­pass (and nav skills) re­quired, GPS en­cour­aged.

3) Fol­low the Cavalry Trail 1.7 miles south to a T-junc­tion.

4) Veer east onto the Dutchman Trail and pro­ceed to an un­signed (but ob­vi­ous) in­ter­sec­tion for Charlebois Spring at mile 9.5.

5) Head .2 mile north to reach the tree-framed camp.

6) Re­trace your steps to the junc­tion and con­tinue 3.4 miles on the Dutchman Trail to a Y-junc­tion.

7) Split west onto the Bluff Springs Trail, tak­ing it 3.4 miles to the Per­alta trail­head.



This oa­sis is a long­time fa­vorite of Ari­zona back­pack­ers. Fed by a deep and pow­er­ful spring, Charlebois is the only wa­ter source for miles in any di­rec­tion—mak­ing it a stopover point for most overnighters. Luck­ily, it’s a looker, with ri­par­ian trees shel­ter­ing level camp­sites. If you ar­rive early enough, snag one of the spots near the wa­ter. Oth­er­wise fill up your bot­tles and pick one of the sites along the Dutchman Trail.


Ari­zona isn’t known for its fall color, but hikes like this will make you think it should be. Time it right and La Barge Canyon’s cot­ton­woods and sycamores should greet you with a golden ceil­ing of leaves. Peak color varies, so check bit.do/fo­liagepre­dic­tion-map to know for sure.


It’s good prac­tice in Ari­zona— es­pe­cially if you’re ven­tur­ing off­trail—to pack ei­ther a fine-tooth comb or rub­ber ce­ment. Use the for­mer to gen­tly scrape spines out. With the lat­ter, smear a glob on the spines, let it dry, then peel it off.

DO IT SHUT­TLE CAR 33.3972, -111.3478; 9 miles north­east of Gold Canyon on Per­alta Rd. TRAIL­HEAD 33.5341, -111.4228; an hour-long drive north of the shut­tle car on AZ 88/N Apache Trail SEA­SON Novem­ber to March PER­MIT None CUS­TOM MAP bit.do/BPmapLaBargeCanyon ($15) CON­TACT www.fs.usda.gov/tonto

Dis­tance 16.7 miles Time 2 days Dif­fi­culty

The views start early on the Boul­der Canyon Trail.

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