Tag Archives: Death Canyon Shelf
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 mandatory. 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 10 are in national parks or wilderness areas.
In the final analysis, though, the only criterion that matters is simple: that it’s a great trip. And that character shows itself over and over in my picks for the 10 best backpacking trips in the country, selected from the many I’ve taken over more than a quarter-century (and counting) of carrying a backpack, both as a longtime field editor for Backpacker magazine and creator of this blog. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
On the second night of my first backpacking trip in Grand Teton National Park, I awoke to the sound of heavy clomping outside my tent. We were camped on Death Canyon Shelf, where the Teton Crest Trail traverses a broad, boulder- and wildflower-strewn bench at 9,500 feet, flanked by towering cliffs and the deep trench of Death Canyon. At the time, it was probably the most spectacular place I’d ever pitched a tent, and it’s still one of my most scenic backcountry campsites ever.
I unzipped my tent door to investigate—and saw a huge bull elk standing just outside my nylon walls. As I’ve come to learn over almost 20 trips to the Tetons since that first one a quarter-century ago, that elk symbolized just one of several compelling reasons why every backpacker should move the Teton Crest Trail to the top of their to-do list. And the date to apply for a backcountry permit is coming up very soon. Continue reading →
I love your blog, very inspiring. I am taking a family trip out to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks with my family this summer (about 10 days in the parks). I understand it is the most crowded time of year, but as a teacher and coach and with a wife in education administration, our time off is around the summer busy times. I have two girls age 8 and 10 and we will not be going as BIG as you normally do. We will be staying in various hotels/cabins in and near the parks, but we do intend on trying to get in many dayhikes and see both the popular spots and some off-the-beaten-path spots.
While in Grand Teton, I am hoping to get one day to do a solo, big dayhike. I am looking for something in the 8- to 12-hour range. I have done the Presidential Traverse in the White Mountains twice, so something similar or maybe a bit less than that. Any suggestions? While in Grand Teton, we will be staying at Colter Bay. Continue reading →
[Michael Lanza note: The following are my responses to inquiries from readers with specific questions about backpacking the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park, including how to do it, the best campsites, and what to bring. Scroll down to scan for bold type identifying places along the trail. See also my story American Classic: Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail and my e-guide The Complete Guide to Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail.]
Thank you for making something so useful as The Big Outside. The website is not only a great resource for useful information but also does such a great job of communicating your passion for the outdoors. In that spirit, I am taking my son to hike the Teton Crest Trail in early July this summer and I had a couple questions. Continue reading →
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 →