Tag Archives: Death Canyon Shelf

January 29, 2018 Backpacking the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail, Glacier National Park.

America’s Top 10 Best Backpacking Trips

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   13 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 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.

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 hauling a pack on trails all over the country, as a longtime field editor for Backpacker magazine and creator of this blog. Continue reading →

January 7, 2018 Campsite at Precipice Lake, Sequoia National Park.

Photo Gallery: 25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites

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By Michael Lanza

Everyone has favorite campsites from unforgettable backcountry trips. I’ve been fortunate to have pitched a tent in many great campsites over nearly three decades of backpacking and trekking all over the U.S. and the world. This photo gallery spotlights several camps from my list of 25 all-time favorite campsites, which I update regularly. Among them are jaw-dropping spots like Death Canyon Shelf along the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park, The Narrows in Zion National Park, Camp Schurman on Mount Rainier, Johns Hopkins Inlet in Alaska’s Glacier Bay, a couple of unbelievable spots in the Grand Canyon, and Precipice Lake in Sequoia National Park (photo above). Continue reading →

January 3, 2018 Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park.

5 Reasons You Must Backpack the Teton Crest Trail

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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. Continue reading →

August 20, 2017 Campsite on Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton National Park.

Ask Me: How Do We Make a Big Backpacking Trip (on the Teton Crest Trail) As Enjoyable As Possible?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

Michael,

We are hiking the Teton Crest Trail for the first time this summer. You made mention in your story about the TCT that the first day was a hard one and that the toughest part of the trip was the Paintbrush Divide. What made the first day the hardest and why is Paintbrush the toughest? We are trying to make sure we plan this trip “correctly.” Three years ago, we flew to Colorado and hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park and had a terrible experience. My two sons and I thought we knew what we were doing. Going from hiking in the Great Smokies to hiking in the Rockies is like day and night. We flew in one afternoon and started hiking the very next morning with full, heavy packs. The weather was hot and we had no time to acclimate. Our hike began at about 5,500 feet and was uphill most of the way, and we camped at 10,200 feet. The night was miserable—we could not sleep at all. We learned valuable lessons that trip. I am 60 and my sons are both around 30, and it was the worse trip because of our lack of knowledge and preparation. Continue reading →

July 24, 2017 Hiking to Garnet Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.

Ask Me: 8 Great Big Dayhikes in the Tetons

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Hi Michael,

I love your blog, very inspiring. I am taking a family trip out to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks with my family at the end of June/early July (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 8-12 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 →

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