Tag Archives: Chesler Park

February 25, 2019 A hiker in The Subway, Zion National Park.

The 12 Best Hikes in Utah’s National Parks

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By Michael Lanza

From natural arches, hoodoos, and hanging gardens to balanced rocks and towering mesas, slot canyons and vast chasms, the desert Southwest holds in its dry, searing, lonely open spaces some of America’s most fascinating and inspiring geology. The writer “Cactus Ed” Abbey no doubt had this region in mind when he said there “are some places so beautiful they can make a grown man break down and weep.” Much of it sits protected within southern Utah’s five national parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef.

The good news? Many of the best sights can be reached on dayhikes of anywhere from a couple hours to a full day. Continue reading →

November 19, 2018 Day two backpacking The Narrows in Zion National Park.

The 5 Southwest Backpacking Trips You Should Do First

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By Michael Lanza

You want to explore the best backpacking in America’s desert Southwest, but you’re not sure where to begin, or how some of these trips you’ve read about compare for scenery and difficulty. You’ve heard about the need to carry huge loads of water, and environmental challenges like dangerous heat, rugged terrain, flash floods and even (gulp) quicksand. Or maybe you’ve taken one or two backpacking trips there and now you’re hungry for another one and seeking ideas for where to go next.

Well, I gotcha covered. The five trips described in this story comprise what might be called a Southwest Backpacking Starter Package. They are all beginner- and family-friendly in terms of trail or route quality, access, and navigability, and some have good water availability. But most importantly, regardless of their relative ease logistically, they all deliver the goods on the kind of adventure and scenery you go to the Southwest hoping to find. Continue reading →

October 22, 2018 A backpacker along the Colorado River on the Grand Canyon's Thunder River-Deer Creek Loop.

The 10 Best Backpacking Trips in the Southwest

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By Michael Lanza

Everyone remembers his or her first visit to the desert Southwest. The bizarre, vividly colored geology of southern Utah and Arizona ignites wildfires of the imagination that burn permanent impressions. I recall staring at rock formations sculpted in ways I’d never observed before and thinking, “How can this be?” And you’ll find very worthy dayhikes and roadside eye candy in classic parks like Grand Canyon, Zion, and Canyonlands. But leaving civilization for days to probe more deeply into those parks—and other canyon-country gems you may not know much about—opens invisible doors to experiences that amplify the feelings inspired by these mystical landscapes.

After a quarter-century of chasing the best backpacking trips in southern Utah and the Grand Canyon area, I’ve put together this list of what I submit are the 10 best. Continue reading →

The Must-Do Dayhikes in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

October 21, 2018  |  In Ask Me, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments
Skyline Arch, Arches National Park.

Skyline Arch in Arches National Park.

Hi Michael,

My wife and I are heading to Moab at the end of April for a week of hiking in Canyonlands and Arches. We’re excited about the trip; it’s our first to that area. We are dayhikers, but we’re not afraid of mileage. (The Highline Trail from Logan Pass down to Swiftcurrent Pass in Glacier National Park was one the most enjoyable days we’ve had in the national park system.)

I’ve been weighing our many options for hikes and I have a question: What are the must-do dayhikes in Arches and Canyonlands? Continue reading →

March 15, 2018 Hiking the Chesler Park Trail, Needles District, Canyonlands National Park.

7 Great Southwest Hiking Trips You Can Take Without Planning Ahead

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By Michael Lanza

The Grand Canyon. The Narrows in Zion National Park. Paria Canyon. The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. These are among the best backpacking trips in the Southwest—arguably in the country. But you have to plan those trips and apply for a backcountry permit months in advance. If you haven’t done that already, you’re likely out of luck for ticking off one of them this spring.

But there are gorgeous hiking and backpacking trips you can still take in the Southwest this spring, even if you’re only getting around to planning a trip right now. From Utah’s five national parks to lesser-known spots in between, like the Escalante and San Rafael Swell, here are seven of the best. Continue reading →

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