Tag Archives: John Muir Trail

July 19, 2015 Wanda Lake, in the Evolution Basin on the John Muir Trail.

Planning to Thru-Hike the John Muir Trail? Do It Right on This 10-Day, Ultralight Plan

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By Michael Lanza

Are you planning to thru-hike the John Muir Trail? “America’s Most Beautiful Trail” should be on every serious backpacker’s tick list. After thru-hiking it in a week (read my story about that and see more photos and a video from the JMT), I became convinced that—while a week was very hard—the traditional itinerary of spreading the roughly 221-mile trip out over three weeks or more has a serious flaw: Because of limited food-resupply options, you’ll carry a monster pack that may not only make you sore and uncomfortable, it could cause injuries or other problems that cut short your trip.

Over the years, I’ve evolved from being one of those traditional, heavy-pack backpackers to traveling as light as absolutely possible, and the John Muir Trail is perfect for an ultralight strategy because of its generally dry, late-summer weather, well-constructed footpath, and moderate grades. Continue reading →

July 2, 2015 The Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah.

10 Tips For Getting a Hard-to-Get National Park Backcountry Permit

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By Michael Lanza

The first time I backpacked in Yosemite National Park, more than 20 years ago, I applied months in advance for a permit to start at the park’s most popular trailhead, Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley—and I got it. I had no idea at the time how lucky I was. I’ve since been shot down trying to get permits for popular hikes in parks like Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Glacier. But I’ve also learned a few tricks for landing coveted backcountry permits in those flagship parks—which all receive far more requests for permit reservations than they can accommodate. Continue reading →

June 15, 2015 Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile.

Photo Gallery: My Top 10 Adventures… Ever

In Backpacking, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

By Michael Lanza

I often get asked, “What’s your favorite trip?” And I can never come up with an answer. I’ve had the good fortune to have taken many amazing adventures over the years. But I have assembled a list of my 10 all-time favorites (so far). Check out this photo gallery of selected images from several of those trips, then dive into my story listing all 10 (plus a bonus list of trips that nearly made that top 10), with links to the stories about each one for more photos and tips on planning them yourself. Continue reading →

May 28, 2015 John Muir Trail, Ansel Adams Wilderness, California.

Ask Me: How Early in the Season Can I Hike the John Muir Trail?

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Hi Michael,

I hope you’re doing great. I had a quick question for you regarding the JMT. I’ve read in Backpacker Magazine that you recommend late August/early September as the best time of the year to hike the trail. What’s the earliest in the season one could do the trail? Continue reading →

May 11, 2015 Hamilton Lakes, High Sierra Trail, Sequoia National Park.

Photo Gallery: 15 Nicest Backcountry Campsites I’ve Hiked Past

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By Michael Lanza

It is one of those unfortunate inevitabilities of life, like death and taxes: Occasionally on backpacking trips you will hike past one of the most sublime patches of wilderness real estate you have ever laid eyes on, a spot so idyllic you can already see your tent pitched there and you standing outside it, warm mug in your hands, watching a glorious sunset. But it’s early and your plan entails hiking farther before you stop for the day—not camping there. Or even worse, you are looking for a campsite, but someone else has already occupied this little corner of Heaven. Continue reading →

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