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 27, 2015 Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park

Tent Flap With A View: 25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, International Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   19 Comments

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—it does for me. I’ve been very 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 these 25. Continue reading →

April 24, 2015 Scrambling the Catwalk, Bailey Range, Olympic National Park.

Ask Me: What Boots Do You Suggest For Wet, Off-Trail Hiking?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   6 Comments

Hi Michael,

I’ve been reading your site for quite a while and appreciate your perspective. I’ve simultaneously been on an unsuccessful quest for the perfect backcountry shoes and finally thought to ask you for advice. I work as a backcountry botanist in wet, mountainous areas including Hawaii and the National Parks of Washington state (mostly North Cascades). This means that I spend much of my time both on and off-trail in rough and varied terrain. Generally, I don’t actually climb rock faces. While on trail, I usually also carry a heavy (50 lbs.+) backpack. Obviously, these demands seem to suggest a heavy, leather boot, period. But, over the past five years, those heavy-duty shoes just haven’t worked for me. Continue reading →

April 23, 2015 Hannegan Pass Trail, North Cascades National Park.

Photo Gallery: Hiking and Backpacking North Cascades National Park

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By Michael Lanza

On my first trip to North Cascades National Park, I was sure I’d found heaven. The hard-earned views of a sea of jagged spires and snow- and ice-covered peaks stretching as far as you could see instantly cemented the place as one of my favorite mountain ranges and parks. I’ve returned many times, backpacking, climbing, ski-mountaineering, and with my kids (the photo above shows my daughter, Alex, then seven, hiking to Hannegan Pass). But not many hikers and backpackers have visited or know much about the North Cascades. So to celebrate National Parks Week at The Big Outside, I offer this gallery of photos to persuade you to put this park high on your list. Continue reading →

April 22, 2015 South Kaibab Trail.

Photo Gallery: Hiking Across the Grand Canyon

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By Michael Lanza

Whether you backpack it or hike it in one very long day, trekking across the Grand Canyon from the South Rim to the North Rim is one of our National Park System’s most scenic and aspirational adventures, in one of the planet’s most magnificent and unfathomable landscapes. For the ultra-fit and experienced, hiking across and back in a day—known as a rim-to-rim-to-rim or “r2r2r,” and comprising at least 44 miles and 11,000 vertical feet—could be the greatest single day of hiking of your life (unless, of course, you do it again). Continue reading →

April 21, 2015 Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park.

Ask Me: What Are Your Top Picks For Long Backpacking Trips?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

Hi Michael,

I usually take a solo trip the first week of my summer vacation. (I’m an elementary-school teacher, and I’ve done a ton of multi-day backpacking and lots of long-distance trails. It can be tricky as it’s the second week of June and there is usually too much snow to attempt certain trails. I’m looking for a loop, out and back, or shuttle that allows me about 20 miles a day for about five days. I looked long and hard at the Mah Dah Hey Trail in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, but the 22-hour drive each way is a bit daunting. I’ve been looking at trying to find a closer alternative. Continue reading →

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