Category Archives: National Park Adventures

Stories and images from my many hiking, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, skiing, and family adventures in national parks in the U.S. and around the world.

September 1, 2014 Campsite, Colorado River at Hance Rapids, Grand Canyon.

Ask Me: What Backpacking Trips Do You Suggest In the Grand Canyon and Southern Utah?

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Hi Michael,

I recently found your blog while planning a trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone, and have devoured it in its entirety over the past few months. While reading I mainly lamented living in the mostly boring Midwest, with poor access to the prime backpacking spots you describe. Well, as luck would have it my partner just got a job in Phoenix, AZ, so we two flatlanders will now be a short drive from the Grand Canyon, and accessible to Canyonlands, Arches, and much more. My question for you: what backpacking trips would you most recommend as first priorities for two reasonably fit, decently equipped people new to the Phoenix area? Continue reading →

August 27, 2014 High Sierra Trail above Middle Fork Kaweah River, Sequoia N.P.

Heavy Lifting: Backpacking Sequoia National Park

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By Michael Lanza

I stare at the backpack on the ground in front of me. At 85 liters, with every milliliter of it stuffed with about 60 pounds of gear and food, it looks like something that should be lowered by a crane into a container ship rather than attached to a person’s back. If it had legs, teeth, and an appetite for meat, I wouldn’t stand a chance. Continue reading →

August 25, 2014 Hannegan Pass Trail, North Cascades National Park.

Ask Me: Where Should We Backpack With Kids in North Cascades National Park?

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Michael,

I just stumbled upon The Big Outside! Wow! Amazing! Thank you for it! I LOVE it!

We have two girls, ages 11 and 9. Our first “major” backpacking trip last year was to Olympic National Park. Covered 30 miles in 8 days. Obstruction Point to Moose Lake, Third Beach to Toleak, and Graves Creek to O’Neil. What a trip! Each girl carried about 10 pounds and my husband and I each about 40 pounds. This trip took three to four months of planning. We fell in love with the Pacific Northwest.

Unfortunately, I dropped the ball this year in planning another fantastic westward-bound trip. I am scrambling to put something together. I am looking at North Cascades, primarily because they do not accept online reservations—first come, first served. Continue reading →

August 15, 2014 Iceberg Lake/Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail, Glacier National Park.

Ask Me: What Hikes Do You Suggest For Three Days in Glacier National Park?

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Michael,

Thank you for providing a wonderful blog filled with amazing photos and inspiring trips. I enjoy your family adventures section, as I love taking my kids with me to enjoy the outdoors. I live in Utah so the options are endless.

I am heading to Glacier National Park with my husband for our 20th anniversary and am wondering what your hike suggestions would be. 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 →

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