Trips

A backpacker on the Tonto Trail on the Grand Canyon's Royal Arch Loop.

How to Get a Permit to Backpack in the Grand Canyon

By Michael Lanza

First-time backpackers in the Grand Canyon quickly absorb two lessons about this one-of-a-kind place. Foremost, the canyon’s infinite vistas and deceptive scale, the beauty of desert oases and wildflower blooms, the peacefulness and quietude of some of the best wilderness campsites you will ever enjoy—all of these qualities will hook you forever.

And you learn how difficult it can be to get a permit for backpacking there.

Read on

Michael Lanza of The Big Outside backpacking in the Wind River Range.

Get Custom Backpacking Trip Planning from an Expert

By Michael Lanza

You’re trying to plan a backpacking trip to a classic national park like Yosemite, Grand Teton, Glacier, Zion, Grand Canyon, or some other park or wilderness area—but you’re not quite sure how to do it. Or the permit process and planning feel overwhelming. Or you want to ensure it’s the best trip possible. Or you just don’t have time to do all that planning and would rather have an expert do it for you.

Well, you have just landed on your solution.

Read on

A backpacker hiking up Matterhorn Canyon in Yosemite National Park.

Backpacking Yosemite: What You Need to Know

The first major Western national park I backpacked in was Yosemite. I wanted to begin exploring America’s big, iconic wilderness parks—and like a lot of backpackers, I thought: Where else would I start but Yosemite? The name alone conjures mental images of walking for days through wild backcountry sprinkled with shimmering alpine lakes, granite walls, and high passes and summits overlooking a sea of jagged peaks (which, it turns out, is accurate).

Today, after many return trips throughout Yosemite, I’ve learned that one can spend a lifetime wandering the more than 700,000 acres of wilderness in America’s third national park and not get tired of it.

Read on

A hiker on the Tour du Mont Blanc in Italy.

15 Adventures on Earth That Will Change Your Life

By Michael Lanza

Can travel “change your life?” How many experiences have such an enormous impact? I can name several that shifted my perspective on adventure or expanded how I view the world and other people. Exploring the surreal landscapes of Iceland and Patagonia. Walking among Earth’s highest mountains in Nepal, through remote villages where people live much as their ancestors did for centuries. Immersing myself in the mountain culture on hut treks in the Alps like the Tour du Mont Blanc (photo above). And seeing unforgettable places like Norway’s Jotunheimen National ParkItaly’s Dolomites, and Alaska’s Glacier Bay through the unclouded eyes of my kids.

Read on

Hikers overlooking Iceland's second-tallest waterfall,, Glymur, at the head of the fjord Hvalfjörður.

9 Great Hikes and Walks Along Iceland’s Ring Road

By Michael Lanza

Driving Iceland’s Highway 1, or Ring Road, in the country’s southeast on the kind of sunny day that’s almost as rare here as the sensation of boredom, we reached the seacoast—and the landscape and seascape suddenly seemed to exceed the capacity of our vision and minds to take it all in. The two-lane highway snaked along this island nation’s ragged edge, weaving in and out of one fjord after another, each as impossible to comprehend in its magnificence as it was to pronounce. The ocean crashed up against starkly barren yet wildly colorful mountains as we crossed bridges over intricately braided rivers, gazing up valleys where multiple, cracked glaciers tumbled nearly to sea level.

Read on