High camp at 12,000 feet below California's Mount Whitney.
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25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites

My newly updated list of the best places to spend a night in the wilderness features new sites, including this gem below Mount Whitney. See them all.

25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites
Partition Arch, Arches National Park.
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Photo Gallery: Every National Park I’ve Visited

How many national parks have you visited? What will be your next? Get inspired with this photo gallery from every park I’ve visited.

Photo Gallery: Every National Park I’ve Visited
Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park.
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10 Amazing National Park Adventures

This incredible backpacking trip in the most remote corner of Yosemite is one of my 10 Amazing National Park Adventures. See them all now.

10 Amazing National Park Adventures

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April 20, 2017 Tundra in autumn, Denali National Park, Alaska.

Photographing All 59 National Parks: 5 Top Tips From QT Luong

In Backpacking, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

The number of people who can say they’ve visited all 59 of America’s national parks comprise a fairly small club. Only one person has made large-format photographs in all of them. In the 400 vividly sharp images in his beautiful and inspiring, coffee-table book Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey Through America’s National Parks, photographer QT Luong distills the results of more than 20 years and 300 trips hiking, paddling, diving, skiing, snowshoeing, and climbing in every park, every type of environment, every season, and at all times of day and night.

Now, in an interview with The Big Outside, Luong talks about this project and offers his top five tips for shooting outdoors, for photographers from amateurs to pros. Continue reading →

Gear Review: The 5 Best Backpacking Tents

April 19, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
The Exped Mira II Hyperlite tent in Idaho's White Cloud Mountains.

The Exped Mira II Hyperlite tent in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains.

By Michael Lanza

The best backpacking tents on the market today only superficially resemble the tents most of us pitched in the backcountry just five or 10 years ago. Designers have thrown out ingrained notions of what a backpacking tent is, thinking outside the box to make shelters that are more livable, lighter, stronger, and include features like (of all things) built-in lights. Tents continue evolving and improving because the goal of making gear lighter long ago crossed a threshold from “the new thing” to how everyone thinks. That attitude has transformed the world of backcountry gear, especially tents.

You’ll see that trend in each of the five singularly outstanding tents reviewed below. Continue reading →

April 18, 2017

Photo Gallery: Hiking Across the Grand Canyon

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

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—as this photo gallery illustrates better than any words. Want to take this hike? Read on to learn how. Continue reading →

April 17, 2017 Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park.

Photo Gallery: Every National Park I’ve Visited

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

By Michael Lanza

How many national parks have you visited? I’ve been to close to half of the 59, and although that includes numerous return trips to some major parks, I still have more work to do. Then again, you could hardly call seeing our national parks “work,” right? What writer and historian Wallace Stegner famously called “the best idea we ever had” has grown from a handful of parks created in the early days to a system in many ways without parallel, that protects 52 million acres of mountain ranges, canyons, rivers, deserts, prairies, caves, islands, bays, fjords, badlands, natural arches, and seashores in 59 parks. Without that protection, these places that draw visitors from around the world would otherwise almost certainly have been exploited and destroyed. Continue reading →

April 16, 2017 View from Lookout Point, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park.

Great Trip: The First National Park, Yellowstone

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Skiing   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

On Sept. 20, 1869, Charles W. Cook, the leader of an expedition exploring the Yellowstone area, came upon the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River for the first time. He wrote afterward in his journal: “I was riding ahead, the two pack animals following… I remembered seeing what appeared to be an opening in the forest ahead, which I presumed to be a park, or open country. While my attention was attracted by the pack animals, which had stopped to eat grass, my saddle horse suddenly stopped. I turned and looked forward from the brink of the great canyon, at a point just across from what is now called Inspiration Point. I sat there in amazement, while my companions came up, and after that, it seemed to me that it was five minutes before anyone spoke.” Continue reading →

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