backpacking Bechler Canyon

Larch trees glowing with fall color, reflected in Rainbow Lake in the North Cascades National Park Complex.

10 Awesome Fall Backpacking Trips

By Michael Lanza

The imminent end of summer always feels a little melancholy. After all, it marks the close of the prime season for getting into the mountains. But it also signals the beginning of a time of year when many mountain ranges become less crowded just as they’re hitting a sweet zone in terms of temperatures, the lack of bugs, and fall foliage color. Autumn also stands out as an ideal season for many Southwest hikes, with moderate temperatures and even some stunning color.

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Iris Falls on the Bechler River, Yellowstone National Park.

Photo Gallery: Backpacking Yellowstone’s Bechler Canyon

By Michael Lanza

I wade slowly into the natural pool known as Mr. Bubble, deep in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park, feeling the swirling blend of hot water from the natural hot springs pouring into one corner of the pool, and the cold creek water entering from another corner. I lower myself to a sitting position, chest-deep, and crab crawl to find a spot with a perfect, hot-tub water temperature—and plant myself there for a long time.

And I’m thinking: This is quite a sweet treat on a wilderness backpacking trip. I could get used to this.

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Iris Falls on the Bechler River, Yellowstone National Park.

In Hot (and Cold) Water: Backpacking Yellowstone’s Bechler Canyon

By Michael Lanza I step off the grassy riverbank into the slow-moving Bechler River, in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park, and the shock of the cold, calf-deep water makes me gasp unconsciously. After a few careful steps forward—with the mucky, silted river bottom threatening to either make me slip or suck a sandal off my foot—the river rises above …

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