Next Weekend: Go for the Gold


Hike a Sky Island
Rising above Arizona's baking deserts are pockets of mountain habitat known as sky islands. With as many eco-zones as a road trip from Mexico to Canada, "they're near to being the cream of creation," said ecologist Aldo Leopold. Exhibit A: the Rincons in Saguaro National Park ($5 for a permit;, where a hike up Douglas Spring Trail, at the east end of Speedway in Tucson, commences at 2,800 feet amid postcard saguaros and ends in ponderosa pines and cool breezes. From Manning Camp it's a short walk to the 8,666-foot summit of Mica Mountain.

Find Parkitecture
Brand-new Devil's Thumb Ranch ($285;, beside the Continental Divide near Winter Park, sits on 5,000 acres of primo private backcountry. The 16 cabins and "parkitecture"-style lodge (big logs, local stone) have eco-features like geothermally heated rooms and a dinner menu strong on local organic fare. Nearby Ranch Creek, which winds through pines and aspens, is music to a fly-fisherman's ears: six miles of private water serviced by an in-house fly shop.

Travel for Fish & Chips
Teton Ridge Ranch is vetting candidates for its Fish & Chips Getaway man-cation ($495 a night, three-night minimum; Fly-fisherman? Check. The ranch has two stocked ponds on its 4,000 private acres. Poker player? Check. When the stars come out, everyone retires to the lodge's great room for a night of Texas hold 'em. Next day you can head out for some mountain biking or clay shooting. The ranch provides all the gear, plus a suite that looks onto the craggy Tetons.

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