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.

February 11, 2016 Arches National Park, Utah.

Ask Me: What Should We Do on a Trip to Colorado, Yellowstone, and the Southwest?

In Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

Hi Michael,

I’ve been a fan of your blog for a while now, and I really enjoy it. I’ve got three boys that range from 16 to six, so finding things to do that all three can enjoy is a bit of a challenge. My wife and I are in the planning stages of a two-week trip out West. We’re looking at starting right before Memorial Day and then running though the 15th of June. We’re thinking of flying out to Denver and using that as a start/stop point for trips out to Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone, etc. The only concern that I have is that it’s a little early in the year and there’s going to be snow still around, limiting some of our hiking options. Another thought I’d had was to head to Mesa Verde and see that park. Any suggestions about weather or options I’m missing? Continue reading →

February 10, 2016 Nate, me, Cove Lake, Big Boulder Lakes, White Cloud Mountains, Idaho.

Seven People, One Mountain, and Hundreds of Kids Getting Outdoors

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

By Michael Lanza

I first tied my son, Nate, into a climbing rope when he was four or five years old. As I stood next to him at the base of an easy rock climb in Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve, belaying him on a top-rope, he gazed up at the wall of granite rising more than 100 feet above him and started scrabbling upward. He got maybe six feet off the ground—I could still reach up and touch him—then stopped and asked me, “Is this as high as Mount Everest, Dad?” I said, “Yup, I’m pretty sure it is.” Satisfied with his accomplishment, he told me, “Okay, I’ll come down now.” And I lowered him back to the ground. Continue reading →

February 9, 2016 Campsite, Colorado River at Hance Rapids, Grand Canyon.

Ask Me: Can We Use a Non-Freestanding Tent in the Grand Canyon?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Gear Reviews, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Hi Michael,

I’ve been reading The Big Outside for a few months now and have really enjoyed it. My brother and I are taking a trip to the Grand Canyon this year and decided to follow the itinerary you laid out in this post: thebigoutside.com/a-matter-of-perspective-a-father-daughter-hike-in-the-grand-canyon. Your tips on getting permits and planning for a trip to the Grand Canyon have proven invaluable, particularly after our last trip there (in October 2013) was essentially canceled due to the government shutdown at the time. Needless to say, we are really looking forward to going! I do have one worry, however. We are both using non-freestanding tents—I’m using a Sierra Designs Flashlight 1; my brother is using a Tarptent Rainbow—and I’m unsure of how difficult pitching will be in the canyon. Continue reading →

February 8, 2016 Angels Landing, Zion National Park

One Incomparable Place: Hiking and Backpacking in Zion National Park

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By Michael Lanza

Even in the Southwest, a region where the extraordinary becomes ordinary, Zion National Park stands out. Other places have natural arches, spires, and ancient cliff dwellings, but no place really matches Zion’s grandeur: cliffs up to 2,000 feet tall stretching for miles, the rock’s purity of white and deep burgundy, and patterns of striations rippling across a span of stone that dwarfs Man’s greatest buildings and monuments. Perhaps that’s why it was Utah’s first national park, designated in the same year, 1919, as Grand Canyon and Acadia. Continue reading →

February 2, 2016 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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