Category Archives: National Park Adventures

The Big Outside creator and former Backpacker magazine Northwest Editor Michael Lanza’s stories and images from many hiking, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, and skiing adventures in U.S. national parks.

July 20, 2018 A John Muir Trail view overlooking the Cathedral Range in Yosemite National Park.

Ask Me: The Best Backpacking Gear for the John Muir Trail

In Ask Me, Backpacking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Hello Michael,

I read your article about ultra-backpacking and how you did the John Muir Trail in seven days. I am planning on doing it, but would like to know, for an ultralight backpacker, what do you suggest for a backpack, tent, sleeping bag, etc.? Any feedback or thoughts that you have would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

Joei
Covina, CA Continue reading →

July 16, 2018 A hiker descending off the Fenetre d’Arpette on the Tour du Mont Blanc in Switzerland.

Photo Gallery: Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   5 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Look at any list of the world’s greatest hiking trails, and the Tour du Mont Blanc almost invariably occupies a spot at or near the top of the list. There are many good reasons for that. But first and foremost comes the sheer majesty of this roughly 105-mile (170k) walking path around the “Monarch of the Alps.” Passing through three nations—France, Italy, and Switzerland—and over several mountain passes reaching nearly 9,000 feet, it delivers almost constant views of glaciers, pointy peaks and “augilles,” and when it’s not engulfed in clouds, the snowy dome of Mont Blanc.

In July 2017, I took a wonderful, nine-day trek on the Tour du Mont Blanc with my family and eight other friends and relatives—including my 80-year-old mom—and we were blown away by the scenery and the cultural and gastronomical experience. Scroll through my photos below for a window into the awesome character of this trail. Continue reading →

July 15, 2018 A wilderness campsite at Precipice Lake in Sequoia National Park.

How to Get One of America’s Best Backcountry Campsites

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By Michael Lanza

Precipice Lake sits in a granite bowl at 10,400 feet along the High Sierra Trail in Sequoia National Park, about a half-mile before 10,700-foot Kaweah Gap. Below the north face of 12,040-foot Eagle Scout Peak, with the nearest tree at least a couple of trail miles below it, the lake’s glassy, green and blue waters reflect a white and golden cliff with black water streaks that embraces the lakeshore. A ribbon-like waterfall, originating in a remnant glacier above the lake, pours down the cliff. Walking up to Precipice Lake reflexively triggers the part of our frontal lobe that’s responsible for the word: “Wow.” Continue reading →

July 10, 2018 Beaver dam in the Fishhook Creek Valley, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

12 Simple Landscape Photography Tips For Better Outdoor Photos

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   9 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Do you wonder how some people come back from national parks and other outdoor trips with fantastic photos? Would you like to take the kind of pictures that make people ooh and aah? It may not be as complicated as you think. The following tips on outdoor and landscape photography, which I’ve learned from studying photography and over three decades of shooting the finest scenery in America and the world, will help you take home better photos whether you’re a beginner or an experienced photographer. Continue reading →

July 9, 2018 Hiking Half Dome's cable route, Yosemite National Park.

Extreme Hiking: America’s Best Hard Dayhikes

In Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

By Michael Lanza

Imagine this: You’re heading out on a long, beautiful hike deep in the backcountry, but instead of a full backpack, you carry a light daypack. You’ve avoided hassles with getting a backcountry permit. There’s no camp to set up and pack up, because you’re not backpacking, you’re dayhiking. Yes, I love backpacking—living in the wilderness, getting into that mindset of not knowing or caring what day it is or what’s going on in civilization. And I do it a lot. But sometimes, I prefer to knock off a weekend-length—or longer—hike in one big day. Continue reading →

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