Tag Archives: America’s best backpacking trips

August 27, 2018 Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park.

Backpacking 150 Miles Through Wildest Yosemite

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By Michael Lanza

In early evening on a bluebird September day, deep in northern Yosemite National Park, my friend Todd Arndt and I—with legs a little weary—reached our fourth pass on a 23-mile day, the second day of a four-day, 87-mile hike. Only a quad-melting, 1,500-foot descent stood between us and soothing our feet in the cool sand and cold water at Benson Lake (possibly the most unbelievable mountain lake I’ve ever seen).

We hiked past quiet tarns where a few backpackers were camped. And it struck me that they were the first people Todd and I had seen all day. That’s not an observation one expects to make in Yosemite. But we were exploring the “other Yosemite”—not the overcrowded park, but its most remote backcountry, on one of the best multi-day hikes I’ve ever taken. Continue reading →

June 18, 2018 Young boy hiking down the North Fork of Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.

The Best Beginner Backpacking Trip in Grand Teton National Park

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By Michael Lanza

As we backpacked up Paintbrush Canyon on the first day of a three-day family hike on the nearly 20-mile loop of Paintbrush and Cascade canyons in Grand Teton National Park, I kept a close eye on our kids. Our son, Nate, then eight years old, had taken a few backpacking trips with me already; I figured he’d do fine, but still, he was young. Our daughter, Alex, then six, was on just her second backpacking trip. I knew that making it fun for them would be an important first step toward nurturing a love for future wilderness trips in them. Continue reading →

June 3, 2018 A backpacker in Matterhorn Canyon, Yosemite National Park.

The 5 Best Backpacking Trips in Yosemite

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By Michael Lanza

When I was a young, very green backpacker looking to expand my horizons on my first big backpacking trip in a major national park, my focus fell quickly on Yosemite. That fact certainly places me in the company of innumerable backpackers, of all ages and experience levels, who train their sights on this pearl of the High Sierra every year—for very good reasons. Simply put, few places possess Yosemite’s breadth and variety of scenery and inspire the same powerful sense of adventure. There’s only one Yosemite.

I’ve returned to backpack and climb in Yosemite numerous times since that first, unforgettable trip. And here’s what I’ve learned: Its backcountry harbors such an abundance of soaring granite peaks, jagged skylines, rushing creeks, waterfalls, and shimmering alpine lakes—plus, over 700,000 acres of designated wilderness and 750 miles of trails—that you can take many, many trips in America’s third national park without running out of five-star scenery. It unquestionably belongs on any list of the best national park backpacking trips. Continue reading →

May 21, 2018 Scrambling to the summit of Mount Heyburn.

Photo Gallery: Hiking and Backpacking Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

When can you claim to know a mountain range well? Maybe it’s once you have spent enough time—certainly measured in years, and probably decades—that you have explored beyond the most accessible and popular spots to the obscure, unknown corners. Perhaps it’s when you have hiked most of its trails. Just possibly, it’s when you unfold a map and it takes several minutes to tick off for someone all the places you have visited. That’s a good start, anyway.

I’ve been exploring Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains for 20 years—backpacking and dayhiking, climbing peaks, backcountry skiing—and have fallen in love with these rugged, crenulated peaks. I think you’ll see why in this photo gallery. Continue reading →

April 22, 2018

The 10 Best National Park Backpacking Trips

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By Michael Lanza

Olympic, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Glacier, Zion, Grand Teton, Mount Rainier, Canyonlands, Sequoia, Great Smoky Mountains. To backpackers, these names read like a list of America’s greatest cathedrals in nature—and no surprise, because these parks hold some of the most scenic, adventurous, and coveted backpacking trips in the country. Hike any of them and it will earn a spot on your personal top-10 list. Knock off all 10 trips on this list and you will experience some of the finest landscapes not only in the nation, but on the planet.

Ready to be blown away? Scroll through this list and find your next unforgettable trip. Continue reading →

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