Category Archives: Backpacking

Stories and images from the best backpacking trips in America and around the world, with trip-planning advice based on my personal, on-the-ground knowledge from having done the trip.

April 16, 2014 Hamilton Lakes, High Sierra Trail, Sequoia National Park.

Photo Gallery: 12 Nicest Backcountry Campsites I’ve Hiked Past

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By Michael Lanza

It is one of those unfortunate inevitabilities of life, like death and taxes: Occasionally on backpacking trips you will hike past one of the most sublime patches of wilderness real estate you have ever laid eyes on, a spot so idyllic you can already see your tent pitched there and you standing outside it, warm mug in your hands, watching a glorious sunset. Continue reading →

April 14, 2014 Gran4-134 North Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon

Cranking Out Big Days: Ramp Up Your Hikes and Trail Runs

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By Michael Lanza

I don’t remember the first time I hiked more than 20 miles in a day. But living and hiking in New England at the time, where one mile of rocky, up-and-down trail feels as physically punishing as two miles in other parts of the country, I undoubtedly got to that distance through incrementally longer dayhikes. I only wish I could remember the sense of pleasure with myself that I must have felt that first time.

But I can list precisely the number of times I’ve hiked more than 30 miles in a day. Continue reading →

April 9, 2014 Death Canyon Shelf, Teton Crest Trail.

Photo Gallery: Backpacking Grand Teton National Park

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By Michael Lanza

After at least 17 trips into the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park, I still can’t get enough of these sharply serrated peaks and deep, cliff-flanked canyons, the alpine lakes and icy creeks, campsites with jaw-dropping views, or the explosion of wildflowers in summer. I count two camping areas in the Tetons among my list of top 25 favorite backcountry campsites of all time; but really, other spots where I’ve pitched a tent in this park would make almost anyone’s list. I’ve hiked all or parts of the Teton Crest Trail—step for step, one of America’s most fabulous backpacking trips—multiple times, including with my kids. Continue reading →

April 3, 2014 Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park

Tent Flap With A View: 25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites

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By Michael Lanza

An unforgettable campsite can define a backcountry trip. Sometimes that perfect spot where you spend a night forges the memory that remains the most vivid long after you’ve gone home. A photo of that camp can send recollections of the entire adventure rushing back to you.

I’ve been fortunate to have pitched a tent in many great backcountry campsites over more than two decades of backpacking and trekking all over the U.S. and the world. I’ve boiled the list of my favorite spots down to 25. Continue reading →

April 2, 2014 Above Crack-in-the-Wall, Coyote Gulch

Photo Gallery: Hiking and Backpacking Utah’s Wild Escalante

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By Michael Lanza

Explore slot canyons so narrow you have to take off your daypack and turn sideways to squeeze through. Dayhike to a waterfall that pours 126 feet over a multi-colored cliff into a perfect swimming hole. Backpack one of southern Utah’s most achingly gorgeous and family-friendly canyons. That only encapsulates this weeklong adventure in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and the photo gallery below offers a peek behind the curtain of this less-busy corner of the Southwest’s canyonlands. Continue reading →

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