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.

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?

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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 →

April 20, 2015 Hiking above Paradise, Mount Rainier National Park.

Photo Gallery: Celebrating National Parks Week

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By Michael Lanza

This is National Parks Week, a good time to contemplate the writer and historian Wallace Stegner’s famous quote: “National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Are you planning to visit a national park this week or this year? It’s time to get busy making that happen. Here’s a gallery of photos from parks I’ve visited (including Mount Rainier, photo above) to offer a little inspiration. Continue reading →

April 19, 2015 Hiking Angels Landing, Zion National Park.

One Photo, One Story: A Family Hike Up Angels Landing in Zion National Park

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By Michael Lanza

Just a few weeks ago, en route to a family backpacking trip down Paria Canyon on the Utah-Arizona border, we had a few hours to kill in Zion National Park—a great place to kill a few hours. So we took a late-afternoon, family stroll on one of the most beloved and thrilling dayhikes in the National Park System, Angels Landing. Besides having beautiful weather, gorgeous light for the incomparable views of Zion Canyon, and few other hikers at that time of day, the outing marked a fun, little family anniversary: nine years since the first time we hiked Angels with our son, when he was five. Continue reading →

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