Tag Archives: Happy Isles Trailhead

June 3, 2018 A backpacker in Matterhorn Canyon, Yosemite National Park.

The 5 Best Backpacking Trips in Yosemite

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

When I was a young, very green backpacker looking to expand my horizons on my first big backpacking trip in a major national park, my focus fell quickly on Yosemite. That fact certainly places me in the company of innumerable backpackers, of all ages and experience levels, who train their sights on this pearl of the High Sierra every year—for very good reasons. Simply put, few places possess Yosemite’s breadth and variety of scenery and inspire the same powerful sense of adventure. There’s only one Yosemite.

I’ve returned to backpack and climb in Yosemite numerous times since that first, unforgettable trip. And here’s what I’ve learned: Its backcountry harbors such an abundance of soaring granite peaks, jagged skylines, rushing creeks, waterfalls, and shimmering alpine lakes—plus, over 700,000 acres of designated wilderness and 750 miles of trails—that you can take many, many trips in America’s third national park without running out of five-star scenery. It unquestionably belongs on any list of the best national park backpacking trips. Continue reading →

Ask Me: Expert Tips For Hiking Yosemite’s Half Dome

February 28, 2018  |  In Ask Me, Backpacking, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment
Mark Fenton atop Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

Mark Fenton atop Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

Hi Michael!

You gave me amazing advice a while back about hiking and backpacking with my toddler. We hiked the Mist Trail in Yosemite to the top of Vernal Fall and it was the best hike we have done so far. Now my husband and I have decided to make Half Dome our next challenge. As soon as I saw Half Dome, I knew I wanted to be on top of that rock. I want to ask you about tips for a long trip (we plan on making it a three-day backpacking trip), gear, training, and just how to do it right. Continue reading →

February 26, 2018 A hiker on the Gunsight Pass Trail in Glacier National Park.

5 Perfect National Park Backpacking Trips for Beginners

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By Michael Lanza

So you’re a notice backpacker, or you have kids you want to take on a relatively easy backpacking trip—and you want to sample the best scenery, trails, and backcountry campsites that experienced backpackers get to enjoy in our flagship national parks. No worries. These five trips in Grand Teton, Yosemite, Zion, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain are ideal for beginners and families, with easy to moderately difficult days and simple logistics, while delivering the spectacular vistas that each of these parks is famous for. Continue reading →

February 11, 2018 Summit of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park.

Ask Me: Where to Backpack First Time in Yosemite

In Ask Me, Backpacking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   16 Comments

Hi Michael,

Going to Yosemite this year, 4-day trek. The Valley and hopefully Half Dome. Never been. Any suggestions?

Jody
Cibolo, TX
[Originally sent as a message to facebook.com/TheBigOutside]

Hi Jody,

Yup, here’s what I’d do on a first-time trip to Yosemite if you want to hit the classic highlights like The Valley and Half Dome. This is close to what I did on my first backpacking trip in Yosemite, long time ago, but modified because I know better now.
Continue reading →