Category Archives: Hiking
Stories and pictures from my many dayhiking adventures, from family- and beginner-friendly trails to serious ultra-hiking.
By Michael Lanza
In a light mist drizzling from the fog embracing the mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina, I followed a well-worn trail downhill through a mixed deciduous forest just beginning to show its fall colors. A mile and a half down that path, I stood on rocks in the stream below Crabtree Falls, which plunges a nearly vertical 70 feet over numerous, shallow ledges. The photogenic waterfall seemed an auspicious start to a week of exploring one of America’s hiking meccas, the mountains of western North Carolina.
My trip culminated in backpacking a 34.3-mile loop in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (the lead photo, above, was taken along the Appalachian Trail in the park). In between, I dayhiked the rigorous, 12-mile Black Mountain Crest Trail, over 13 named 6,000-footers, to the summit of the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, 6,684-foot Mount Mitchell; hiked to numerous beautiful waterfalls from the Blue Ridge Parkway to Gorges State Park and the tallest in the East, 811-foot Whitewater Falls; explored mystical corners of the Southern Appalachians like Moore Cove; and hiked to glorious views of the Pisgah National Forest’s lush mountains at Looking Glass Rock and 6,214-foot Black Balsam Knob on the Art Loeb Trail. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
Whenever someone asks me, “What’s your favorite trip?”, I can never come up with just one 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, including hiking and backpacking from the Grand Canyon and Glacier national parks to the John Muir Trail and Patagonia (lead photo, above). Continue reading →
First, let me say that I enjoy your trip reports, gear reviews and especially the photographs. I also love kids and your adventures with them are a joy to read. Your website inspires me to want to get out West and experience the wilderness. With that in mind, I have the opportunity to attend a wedding just outside the South Entrance to Yosemite National Park the weekend of Veterans Day. I have never been to Yosemite and I would hate to miss an opportunity to see the sights. I would like to stay a few days after the wedding to hike and possibly backpack. Do you have any suggestions for dayhikes and perhaps someplace to camp? Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
Explore slot canyons so narrow you have to take off your daypack and turn sideways to squeeze through. Dayhike to a waterfall that pours 126 feet over a multi-colored cliff into a perfect swimming hole. Backpack one of southern Utah’s most achingly gorgeous and family-friendly canyons. And that merely scrapes the surface of this weeklong adventure in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The photo gallery below offers a peek behind the curtain of this less-busy corner of the Southwest’s canyonlands.
I found your blog through your “5 Perfect (Big) Days in Glacier National Park” post–fantastic-sounding hikes. If you have some time, I was looking for advice for an upcoming trip. I am traveling to Great Falls, Montana, soon for work, and I’ll have one day to explore Glacier National Park. Of course one day is not enough, but these are my circumstances. Anyway, my main question: What would you recommend for an eager hiker with one day to spend in paradise? Are there trails with a high wow-factor you can recommend that are likely to be open, even if the high country is snowed in? Continue reading →