Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim

A family trekking the Alta Via 2 in Parco Naturale Paneveggio Pale di San Martino, in Italy's Dolomite Mountains.

New Year Inspiration: My Top 10 Adventure Trips

By Michael Lanza

I often get asked the question, “What’s your favorite trip?” And I don’t have an answer. To pick just one from all the amazing adventures I’ve had the good fortune to take over the past three decades feels like an impossible task. Instead, I’ve just updated this list of my 10 all-time favorites (so far). It includes some of America’s best backpacking trips, from the Teton Crest Trail and John Muir Trail to Glacier National Park; hiking across the Grand Canyon; trekking in Iceland, Patagonia, Norway, and Italy’s Dolomite Mountains (photo above); and some places that might surprise you.

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A hiker on the Grand Canyon's South Kaibab Trail.

April Fools: Dayhiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

By Michael Lanza

At 5:30 in the morning in early April, the bone-chilling wind cascading off the Grand Canyon’s South Rim at 7,200 feet slices through my few thin layers of clothing. Four of us are following our headlamp beams in the dark down the South Kaibab Trail. We’re just minutes into a day that will also end by headlamp light late tonight—but only after we’ve hiked farther than any of us has ever ambulated in a single day.

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A hiker near Skeleton Point on the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon.

Fit to be Tired: Hiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim in a Day

By Michael Lanza

Minutes after we start hiking down the Grand Canyon’s South Kaibab Trail, we descend steeply through a series of short, tight switchbacks where the trail appears to cling tenuously to the face of a cliff. The earth drops away abruptly beyond the trail’s edge—we’re gazing down nearly a vertical mile into the basement of The Big Ditch. Patches of early-morning sunlight waltz with cloud shadows across the infinite complexity of the tortured landscape sprawling before us, the high-contrast light magnifying the perception of endlessness. Not much farther, we pause at a clifftop overlook of possibly the most famous canyon on Earth.

The view is breathtaking. But less than a mile into our hike, it also lays bare the audacity, or maybe the folly, of our plans: to walk from South Rim to North Rim across this awesome chasm—21 miles and almost 11,000 cumulative vertical feet—today. From here, tonight’s destination looks very, very far away.

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Cranking Out Big Days: How To Ramp Up Your Hikes and Trail Runs

By Michael Lanza

I don’t remember the first time I hiked more than 20 miles in a day. But living and hiking in New England at the time, where one mile of rocky, up-and-down trail feels as physically punishing as two miles in other parts of the country, I undoubtedly got to that distance through incrementally longer dayhikes. I only wish I could remember the sense of pleasure with myself that I must have felt that first time.

But I can list precisely the number of times I’ve hiked more than 30 miles in a day.

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