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.

March 4, 2019 Backpackers on the Continental Divide Trail/Piegan Pass Trail in Glacier National Park.

Wildness All Around You: Backpacking the CDT Through Glacier

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

By Michael Lanza

The air temperature feels not much above freezing, pinching our faces as we hit the trail just after 8 a.m. on our second day of backpacking in Glacier National Park. The still, glassy water of Elizabeth Lake captures a razor-sharp, upside-down reflection of the jagged mountains flanking it; only the upper slopes of the peaks above Elizabeth’s western shore catch the early sunlight on this September morning. We pause occasionally on the strip of sandy beach along the lakeshore just to gawk at our surroundings.

Then we hear it. Continue reading →

March 3, 2019 A black bear in Olympic National Park.

Ask Me: Should I Hike or Backpack Solo in Bear Country?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   14 Comments

Michael,

Here’s a question I’ve struggled with. Because of the timing of my trips, I often end up hiking and backpacking solo. I enjoy that (and enjoy groups). However, as a result, I’ve had a number of bear and moose encounters that have left me a little uncomfortable, and with a feeling of powerlessness in those situations. I’ve read about bear encounters and technically know what to do (making noise, etc.), but I’ve sometimes exhausted all those tricks and found myself still staring at a bear in my path. What do you recommend I do—especially about hiking solo? Continue reading →

February 25, 2019 A hiker in The Subway, Zion National Park.

The 12 Best Hikes in Utah’s National Parks

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By Michael Lanza

From natural arches, hoodoos, and hanging gardens to balanced rocks and towering mesas, slot canyons and vast chasms, the desert Southwest holds in its dry, searing, lonely open spaces some of America’s most fascinating and inspiring geology. The writer “Cactus Ed” Abbey no doubt had this region in mind when he said there “are some places so beautiful they can make a grown man break down and weep.” Much of it sits protected within southern Utah’s five national parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef.

The good news? Many of the best sights can be reached on dayhikes of anywhere from a couple hours to a full day. Continue reading →

February 24, 2019 Hikers on the Alta Via 2 in Parco Naturale Puez-Odle, Dolomite Mountains, Italy.

Hike the World’s Most Beautiful Trail: The Alta Via 2 in the Dolomites

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By Michael Lanza

Hiking toward a mountain pass named Furcela dia Roa, on the first day of my family’s weeklong, hut-to-hut trek on the Alta Via 2 in northern Italy’s Dolomite Mountains, we stopped in an open meadow of grass and wildflowers overlooking a deep, verdant valley in Puez-Odle Natural Park. Across the valley loomed a wall of cliffs topped by jagged spires, like a castle a thousand feet tall. I looked at our map and back up at the stone wall before us, puzzled. After a moment, I realized: We have to get over that wall.

Continue reading →

February 18, 2019 Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

Ask Me: The Ultimate Family Tour of Yellowstone

In Ask Me, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   6 Comments

Hi Michael-

My husband and I live in Missoula with our two boys, ages three and five. We are spending three nights in Yellowstone, and it will be our kids’ first visit. Are there any sites or activities that were unexpectedly or just especially fun?

Thanks for your help and for the inspiration to get outside with the kids even when the thought of packing the car is feeling daunting.

Take care,
Laurie
Missoula Continue reading →

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