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.

July 16, 2014 Jotunheimen National Park, Norway.

Photo Gallery: Trekking Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park

In Family Adventures, Hut Treks, International Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

We hiked hut-to-hut for a week through a rugged, Arctic-looking landscape vibrantly colorful with shrubs, mosses, and wildflowers, where cliffs and mountains look like they were chopped from the earth with an axe. Jotunheimen National Park—the name translates as “Home of the Giants”—contains the highest European mountains north of the Alps, starkly barren peaks rising to more than 8,000 feet. Thick, crack-riddled glaciers pour off them like pancake batter that needs more water. Braided rivers meander down mostly treeless valleys, and reindeer roam wild. Continue reading →

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

Photo Gallery: 25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites

In Backpacking, Climbing, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Leave a comment

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 →

July 1, 2014 The Teton Crest Trail n Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton N.P.

Ask Me: Can You Suggest a Backpacking Trip in the Tetons That Won’t Be Hard to Get a Permit For?

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Michael,

I enjoy your website—lots of good stuff on there. I’m planning on doing the Teton Crest Trail from the tram [at Jackson Hole Resort on Rendezvous Mountain] to Cascade Canyon. I had this trip planned last year for the first week in September and we had to cancel. We were going to camp at Marion lake, Death Canyon Shelf, and South Fork Cascade Canyon. So this year all of the permits are gone. I know I could possibly get this permit first-come [up to one day in advance at the park]. For a backup plan, I was thinking of camping outside the park. Maybe the first night just north of Marion Lake and one or two night in Alaska Basin. What are your thoughts on this, and have you ever camped outside the park on the Teton Crest Trail? Continue reading →

June 15, 2014 Ouzel Lake, Wild Basin, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Ask Me: What Are the Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park and Near Breckenridge, CO?

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Michael,

Thank you for continuing to both inform and inspire through The Big Outside. Your efforts are always appreciated.

As I mentioned to you a couple years ago, my wife, daughter and I have been making an annual trip to Rocky Mountain National Park in late August. We love everything about it, but after climbing Longs Peak a couple times, I would like to see some more of the Rockies. As our schedules/work circumstances have recently changed, I have an opportunity to head to Colorado this June by myself. Although I plan to spend a couple days in Estes Park (it is important to me to go back and support the community that has meant so much to me and my family after the devastating flood last September), I would love some suggestions on getting the most out of the other 4-5 days. Continue reading →

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