Category Archives: National Park Adventures

Stories and images from my many hiking, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, skiing, and family adventures in national parks in the U.S. and around the world.

May 21, 2017 Tonto East Trail, Grand Canyon

Ask Me: Where Should Our Family Backpack in the Grand Canyon?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

Dear Michael,

My wife and I take our kids to Ketchum, Idaho, every summer and became fans of your site by finding your great recommendations and tips for the White Cloud Mountains. We are now planning a trip with our kids to the Grand Canyon. Our kids are 13 and 14 and are accustomed to multi-day backcountry hikes in the White Clouds and Sawtooths, with 2000+-foot elevation gains. We were seriously considering your suggested four-day trip east to west from Grandview Point to the South Kaibab Trail, but I just noticed that you have also recommended that to someone else in your Ask Me section in response to a request for a “big dayhike.” We don’t want to kill ourselves with an unreasonable pace, but I don’t want to allocate four days for a trip that my kids could reasonably do in two or three. Do you have any advice for what might be the best way to do this, or whether there is an alternate route you would suggest? Continue reading →

5 Great Adventures You Can Still Pull Off in 2017

May 15, 2017  |  In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   12 Comments
Ramona Falls, along the Timberline Trail around Oregon's Mount Hood.

Ramona Falls, along the Timberline Trail around Oregon’s Mount Hood.

By Michael Lanza

So you didn’t plan far enough in advance to reserve a permit for backpacking this summer in Yosemite, Grand Teton, Glacier, or another popular national park, eh? So, now what? Where will you take a big outdoor adventure in 2017? Here are five backpacking trips that even slackers still have time to plan and execute this year. Three of them are in top-tier national parks, and the other two are multi-day hikes with national park-caliber mountain scenery. Continue reading →

May 8, 2017 Day two backpacking the Narrows, Zion National Park.

Luck of the Draw, Part 2: Backpacking Zion’s Narrows

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

By Michael Lanza

We step into the ankle-deep North Fork of the Virgin River, in the backcountry of Zion National Park, and water at refrigerator temperature immediately fills our boots. Until sometime tomorrow afternoon, we’ll walk in this river almost constantly, crossing it dozens of times—with the 50° F water, at its deepest, coming up nearly to our waists. As we splash downstream, the canyon walls of golden, crimson, and cream-colored sandstone steadily creep inward and stretch higher, soon eclipsing the sun. We’ll see very little direct sunlight as the sheer walls of Zion’s Narrows eventually tower a thousand feet overhead and, at times, close in to the width of a hobbit’s living room. Continue reading →

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May 7, 2017 Backpacking the Rockwall Trail in Canada's Kootenay National Park.

Photo Gallery: The Rockwall Trail in the Canadian Rockies

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

A few hours into our hike’s first day, we came around a bend in the trail to a sight that stopped us cold: a pair of skyscraping stone monoliths rising thousands of feet above the treetops. Silhouetted by the sun arcing toward the west, the peaks resembled a pair of El Capitans standing shoulder to shoulder. A little while later, one of the tallest waterfalls in the Rocky Mountains came into view: Helmet Falls, plunging 1,154 feet (352m) over a cliff.

After that, the scenery really got good. Continue reading →

April 30, 2017 Rainbow at Vernal Fall, Yosemite National Park.

Photo Gallery: The 10 Best Family Outdoor Adventures

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

By Michael Lanza

Looking for an unforgettable adventure to take your family on? How about hiking a volcano, canoeing through one of the planet’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries, or rafting for six days down a classic wilderness whitewater river? How about backpacking a wild coastline or deep into the glaciated mountains of Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness, or hiking to Yosemite’s world-famous waterfalls (lead photo, above)? How about diving into a place that awes people of any age—the Grand Canyon?

Continue reading →

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Grand Canyon Hiker