Tag Archives: Arizona

July 2, 2017 Backpacking the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail, Glacier National Park.

My Top 10 Favorite Backpacking Trips

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   6 Comments

By Michael Lanza

What makes a great backpacking trip? I’ve thought about that more than a mentally stable person probably should, having done many of America’s (and the world’s) most beautiful and beloved multi-day hikes over the years. Certainly top-shelf scenery is a mandatory qualification. An element of adventurousness enhances a hike, in my eyes. As I assembled this top 10 list, longer trips seemed to dominate it—there’s something special about a big walk in the wilderness—but two- and three-day hikes also made my list. Another factor that truly matters is a wilderness experience: All of my top 10 are in national parks or federal wilderness areas.

Some things, though, don’t require explanation; the validation comes in just doing it. So I give you here my admittedly personal and subjective list of the 10 best backpacking trips I’ve taken over more than a quarter-century (and counting) of humping a pack on trails all over the country, as a longtime field editor for Backpacker magazine and creator of this blog. Continue reading →

June 26, 2017 Granite Park, John Muir Wilderness, California.

Big Wilderness, No Crowds: Top 5 Backpacking Trips For Scenery and Solitude

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By Michael Lanza

We all want our wilderness backpacking trips to have two sometimes conflicting qualities: mind-blowing scenery, but also few other people around. A high degree of solitude somehow makes the backcountry feel more wild—makes the views more breathtaking. However unrealistic the notion may be, we like to believe we have some stunning corner of nature to ourselves. But in the real world, if you head out into popular mountains in July or August, you’ll probably have company—maybe more than you prefer.

Not on these five trips, though. From California’s High Sierra to the Cascades, and Idaho’s beloved Sawtooths to the peerless majesty of the Grand Canyon, here are five multi-day hikes where you’re guaranteed to enjoy a degree of solitude—at least on long stretches of the trip—that’s equal to the scenery. Continue reading →

May 29, 2017 Hiking over Clouds Rest, Yosemite National Park.

My 25 Most Scenic Days of Hiking Ever

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   6 Comments

By Michael Lanza

You’ve had days like this. Maybe it was a dayhike, or a single, exceptional day on a backpacking trip or hut trek—one so gorgeous and inspirational that it forges a lasting memory as one of the best experiences you’ve ever had in the backcountry. From iconic national parks like Yosemite, Zion, Grand Canyon, and Glacier to some of the world’s great treks, like the Alta Via 2 in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains, New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park, and Iceland’s Laugavegur Trail, here’s a list of the 25 hands-down prettiest days I’ve ever spent walking dirt and rock footpaths. I think many of these places would make your top list, too. Continue reading →

May 21, 2017 Tonto East Trail, Grand Canyon

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

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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 →

April 23, 2017 Hamilton Lakes, High Sierra Trail, Sequoia National Park.

Photo Gallery: 15 Nicest Backcountry Campsites I’ve Hiked Past

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By Michael Lanza

It is one of those unfortunate inevitabilities of life, like death and taxes: Occasionally on backpacking trips you will hike past one of the most sublime patches of wilderness real estate you have ever laid eyes on, a spot so idyllic you can already see your tent pitched there and you standing outside it, warm mug in your hands, watching a glorious sunset. But it’s early and your plan entails hiking farther before you stop for the day—not camping there. Or you don’t have a permit for that site. Or even worse, you are looking for a campsite, but someone else has already occupied this little corner of Heaven. Continue reading →

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Grand Canyon Hiker