Category Archives: Hiking

Stories and pictures from my many dayhiking adventures, from family- and beginner-friendly trails to serious ultra-hiking.

August 29, 2016 Baron Lake, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Photo Gallery: Mountain Lakes of Idaho’s Sawtooths

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By Michael Lanza

I’m stepping out on a limb here, but I think there are very few mountain ranges in America with as many drop-dead, gorgeous high mountain lakes as Idaho’s Sawtooths. In fact, the only range that beats out the Sawtooths in that department may be the High Sierra (and not coincidentally, the two share other similarities, including geology). Over nearly 20 years of wandering around Idaho’s best-known hills, I’ve seen many of those watery jewels, and I’ve put together this gallery of photos from many of them. Continue reading →

August 28, 2016 Jason Kauffman at Lamarck Col, John Muir Wilderness, High Sierra, CA.

Ask Me: 7 Great, Uncrowded Places to Hike

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Hi Michael,

I enjoy your photos and stories tremendously. My wife and I travel the last two weeks of August every summer, and, unfortunately, so do a lot of other people. We like long dayhikes, viewing wildlife and, most of all, quietly enjoying amazing natural surroundings. We often find the national parks way too crowded. It’s pretty easy to lose most of the crowds by hitting the trail, but as soon as you’re done hiking you are often faced with crowds, lines, and traffic.

Last year we spent our summer vacation in the Sawtooth Mountains and loved it. So many great hikes in a ridiculously beautiful, but not crowded area (by the way, Goat Lake was our favorite hike of the trip). Can you recommend any areas similar to Stanley, Idaho, and the Sawtooth Mountains—a quiet area with all the natural beauty of a national park? I know you speak fondly of the Wind River Range. Is there a centrally located small town that would make a good base for a vacation in the area? Anywhere else you can recommend?

Thanks, man.

Miles
Brooklyn, NY Continue reading →

August 25, 2016 Hiking in the Wonderland of Rocks, Joshua Tree National Park.

Photo Gallery: California’s National Parks

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By Michael Lanza

Examine the wealth of natural places protected within our 59 national parks, and you’ll quickly see that no state has more than California’s nine (more even than Alaska’s eight). And arguably, no state has a greater diversity of parks than the Golden State, from desert to snowy mountains, giant sequoias and redwoods to rocky islands, the highest peak in the Lower 48 to the lowest and hottest patch of scorched earth. The list includes some of our most iconic and beloved parks and some of the least-known, least-crowded, and most mysterious: Channel Islands. Death Valley. Joshua Tree. Kings Canyon. Lassen Volcanic. Pinnacles. Redwood. Sequoia. Yosemite.

Doesn’t that list make you want to start planning a trip right now? Continue reading →

August 23, 2016 Taylor Creek Trail, Zion National Park.

Photo Gallery: Exploring Utah’s 5 National Parks

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By Michael Lanza

All of America’s 59 national parks possess special qualities and scenery, without a doubt. But southern Utah’s concentration of unique and awe-inspiring landscapes sets its five parks apart from the rest—and they’re each quite different from one another. Arches has more than 2,000 natural stone arches, as well as hundreds of soaring pinnacles, giant fins, and balanced rocks. Bryce Canyon holds the world’s greatest number of hoodoos, or bizarrely shaped pinnacles created by erosion.

Canyonlands is a vast wonderland of multi-colored cliffs, deep canyons, tall spires, and two major rivers. Capitol Reef’s Waterpocket Fold, a nearly 100-mile-long, jumbled ridge of solid rock, conceals sandstone domes, natural bridges, beautiful canyons, and bighorn sheep. And Zion, Utah’s first and one of America’s flagship national parks, defies easy description from the 2,000-foot cliffs of Zion Canyon to a backcountry filled with geologic anomalies. Continue reading →

August 22, 2016 Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park.

Photo Gallery: Celebrating the National Park Service Centennial

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

When the National Park Service turns 100 on Aug. 25, it will mark not just the diamond anniversary of what writer and historian Wallace Stegner famously called “the best idea we ever had”—it marks the evolution and growth of that idea 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 →

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