Tag Archives: backpacking Glacier National Park

January 30, 2017 Backpacking the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail, Glacier National Park.

My Top 10 Favorite Backpacking Trips

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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 writing for this blog. Continue reading →

August 21, 2016 Grand Teton National Park.

Photo Gallery: 10 Amazing National Park Adventures (And How To Pull Them Off)

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By Michael Lanza

Yellowstone. Yosemite. Grand Canyon. Glacier. Zion. Grand Teton. These names are iconic to people who love exploring America’s national parks. And beyond those flagship parks are dozens more units of the National Park Service (53 more, to be specific) creating infinite opportunities to hike, backpack, kayak, canoe, climb a mountain, fish, and cross-country ski. But where do you begin, and what should you or your family do?

As we celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service, which was created on Aug. 25, 1916—and which The Big Outside will spotlight with special stories all this week—America’s passion for its parks has only grown. A record 307.2 million visitors toured a national park, seashore, or historic site in 2015, on the heels of a record 292.8 million visitors in 2014. Will you visit at least one park this year? It’s not too late to pull off a trip in 2016, and it’s not too early to start thinking about which one to put on the calendar for 2017. Continue reading →

August 16, 2016 Hiking the Gunsight Pass Trail, Glacier National Park.

Video: Backpacking Glacier’s Gunsight Pass Trail

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By Michael Lanza

On a cool August morning under clear Rocky Mountains skies, we hiked steadily uphill toward Gunsight Pass in Glacier National Park. Cliffs rose steeply up to a small glacier on our left, and dropped off precipitously on our right a thousand feet down to the clear, emerald waters of Gunsight Lake. Shortly before reaching the 6,900-foot pass, we ran into the sort of wild obstruction that occurs with some regularity in this park: a mountain goat in the trail. Continue reading →

March 14, 2016

Photo Gallery: Backpacking Glacier National Park

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By Michael Lanza

If you have ever backpacked in Glacier National Park, you know you want to return. If you haven’t yet, then why not? One of America’s flagship national parks, it’s a must-see destination for backpackers because of the eye-popping scenery, remoteness, and rare variety of wildlife—as my photo gallery below from a 90-mile, trip of a lifetime in northern Glacier shows. And the time to apply for a backcountry permit is now for the best chances of getting your desired itinerary: The park starts accepting and processing permit reservations on March 15, and this is a popular park with backpackers. Continue reading →

September 3, 2015 Highline Trail, Glacier National Park.

Ask Me: Where Should We Backpack to Find Solitude in Glacier National Park?

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Dear Michael,

Thank you for such a comprehensive site. It is a joy to read and inspires so many travel dreams! I was pouring over all your entries on Glacier but I still have a remaining question. A friend and I just decided to go to Glacier in mid-September and would like to do a backpacking trip for two, or perhaps three nights. We would appreciate something beautiful, somewhat challenging, but most of all, solitude. It seems we are quite late to get a reservation on top trails and it seems like a good opportunity to take a much less traveled trail for a few nights. I am just having a hard time finding one. Do you have any suggestions? Continue reading →

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