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.

July 31, 2014

Wild Heart of the Glacier Peak Wilderness: Backpacking the Spider Gap-Buck Creek Pass Loop

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By Michael Lanza

I step one foot from the dry rock onto the snow and find it frozen solid on this chilly early morning in late July. Ahead of me, a line of boot tracks, undoubtedly created yesterday afternoon, after sunshine and warm temperatures had softened the snow, leads up to Spider Gap. Below me, this broad, hooked finger of white ice undulates downhill like a frozen water slide—one that runs for hundreds of feet between high walls of stone and ends not in a big, deep pool, but on rocks.

This isn’t a water slide with any commercial potential. Continue reading →

July 30, 2014 Banner Peak above Thousand Island Lake on the John Muir Trail in the Ansel Adams Wilderness of California's High Sierra.

Ask Me: What Clothing Do You Recommend for August in the High Sierra?

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Hi Michael,

I have been enjoying your adventure posts immensely; keep up the great work!

I lead hikes for the local chapter of the Sierra Club in Tucson, and in mid-August we’ll be doing a 7-day backpacking adventure in the High Sierra. We’ll be accessing the John Muir Trail, with elevations ranging from 9,000 to 12,000 feet. How cold can it get at this time of year and what clothes/protection would you recommend? Would a light windbreaker over a fleece with gloves and hat be sufficient? Or would you recommend a down jacket, etc.? Continue reading →

July 28, 2014 Abyss Pool, West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park.

Ask Me: Which Multi-Day Wilderness Trip Should We Take in Yellowstone?

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Hey Michael,

I am planning a grand adventure this summer that will include Yellowstone National Park. My buddy and I are hoping to spend three to four nights backpacking. Yellowstone is massive, however, so we are having a hard time trying to decide which part of the park we should explore. Do you have any suggestions? Do you have any favorite hikes to take in Yellowstone? Continue reading →

July 10, 2014 Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado.

Photo Gallery: 25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites

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By Michael Lanza

Everyone has favorite campsites from unforgettable backcountry trips. 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 my list of my favorite campsites down to 25. Continue reading →

July 8, 2014 Gunsight Pass Trail, Glacier National Park.

Ask Me: How to Grab a Hard-to-Get Permit For Backpacking Glacier’s Gunsight Pass Trail

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Michael,

Hope you are well. I was inspired by your Gunsight Lake trip with the family in Glacier National Park and was planning on backpacking there in August with a friend. While I have confirmed air travel, hotel, two-night Sperry Chalet and workshop reservations, I just found out that my advance mail-in reservation for Gunsight Lake and Lake Ellen Wilson campgrounds have been denied.

I arrive on Day 1 to Kalispell at 2 p.m. local time, so have a bit of time to see if I can snag one of the potentially open walk-in spots. But having never done this before, I am not sure if that is a realistic option. Any advice to offer? Continue reading →

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